daniel thomas Categories: books, miyazaki
"Reflections Based on My Conversation With Yoro-San" is a 22-page color manga comic drawn by Hayao Miyazaki as a companion piece to a 2002 book titled, "Mushime to Anime" ("Exploring Insects and Animation). This book was a collaboration between Miyazaki and Takeshi Yoro, a professor at the University of Tokyo, philosopher and insect connoisseur. The book is a transcription of their conversation, where they use the movies Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away as a launchpad for discussing themes of human civilization and the environment.
Miyazaki's comic describes an idealized Utopian city, which appears to be an extension of the Ghibli Museum (which was then newly-built). It's fascinating to think of the museum (which was designed by Miyazaki himself) as a realization of these themes and ideas. He isn't merely interested in selling his feature films or shilling tons of merchandising to his fans. He really wants to have a larger conversation about important topics, and show children a glimpse of a better future.
As always, Miyazaki appears as his pig alter-ego, while Takeshi Yoro appears as a Scottish Terrier. Is this who the recurring dog character is meant to represent? We've also seen him in the Ghibli Museum Sketching Kit, and "The Air Meal." We've also seen the dog character in the 2006 comic, "A Trip to Tynesmouth," which represented the author, Robert Westall. So there's a bit of a mystery there.
For fans of "Ghibli Riffs," there are quick cameos by Yubaba, No-Face and Totoro. Miyazaki always sneaks in little cameos like these, making his manga comics another important outlet for our parlor game. No fan translation yet exists, but it's still worth enjoying Miyazaki's brilliant artwork.
A sampling of pages follow below the link jump. Enjoy!