New Miyazaki Book: Princess Mononoke: The First Story
Newly published from Viz Media is Hayao Miyazaki's famous storyboard book, "Princess Mononoke: The First Story." This story consists of watercolor image boards created by Miyazaki in 1980 for an unrealized film project. The artwork was first published in his 1983 artbook, "Hayao Miyazaki Image Boards," and ten years later as a standalone volume.
I've written about the history behind the 1980 Mononoke Hime, going into greater detail, so I won't recount that tale yet again here. I also published the entire story, with fan translations, on Ghibli Blog back in 2008, eventually finding its way across the internet and generating great interest in Hayao Miyazaki's "lost" anime.
I have edited my 2008 Mononoke post to remove all but a small sample of pages. And now I strongly urge all Miyazaki fans to purchase this new book. The quality of the paintings is superb, and the presentation is the same high calibur we expect from Viz. This is an excellent storybook, one that will make wonderful gifts for friends and family this holiday season.
Hayao Miyazaki's manga comics remain largely unknown to Western audiences. I do hope this latest release will begin to turn that around. There should be a whole series of "Hayao Miyazaki Comics" in our libraries and bookstores.
P.S. The 1980 Princess Mononoke share nothing in common with Miyazaki's 1997 blockbuster anime film, apart from the heroine, who reappears in the movie as Ashitaka's love interest. Mononoke, the giant cat, obviously resembes a close cousin to Papa Panda and Totoro. And some of the scene designs would resurface as the bath house in Spirited Away.