Plus a way for learners of Japanese to brush up their language skills while admiring the art of Studio Ghibli’s newest anime.

Hayao Miyazaki is celebrated as one of the best animators in the history of the medium, but it’s easy to forget that he’s an incredibly talented illustrator as well. For example, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, the first anime film for the team that would go on to form Studio Ghibli, began as a Miyazaki-drawn manga that debuted a full two years before the movie came out in 1984.

As Studio Ghibli’s stature has grown, though, there hasn’t been much room in Miyazaki’s famously busy schedule to draw a serialized manga. But there is a sort of a Miyazaki manga equivalent in the form of the director’s annotated storyboards for Ghibli’s anime. Called e konte in industry parlance, anime annotated storyboards are filled with notes on not just dialogue, but sound effects, camera work, and instructions and advice on how to properly portray the emotions the characters are feeling in each scene.

To further illustrate how detailed the illustrations are, for The Boy and the Heron, Ghibli’s newest anime, Miyazaki’s drew 603 pages of storyboards for the movie, which took the place of any traditional text script during production, and now they’re all being collected in book form.

▼ The cover for the storyboard collection

Studio Ghibli Complete Annotated Storyboard Collection: The Boy and the Heron is actually 642 pages in total, and comes in an A5-size (14.8 by 21-centimeter [5.8 by 8.3-inch] case. Publisher Takuma Shoten isn’t showing off any preview images of the storyboards themselves just yet, but they have allowed an advance peek at the contents of another new book, The Art of The Boy and the Heron.

In contrast to the storyboard collection, the 336-page The Art of book is filled with character design sheets, work-in-progress background illustrations, and other pre-production artwork.

▼ Nobody does background quite like Studio Ghibli.

Also on the way is a The Boy and the Heron Film Comic. Anime film comics aren’t as common nowadays as they used to be back in the early 1990s, but the concept remains the same: a comic book-style retelling of the movie using stills as its frames. This is actually being split into two volumes, the first with 312 pages and the second with 256.

And finally, there’s a The Boy and the Heron Tokuma Anime Picture Book. While the film comic reads just like a comic book, the picture book is a 172-page children’s novel that uses frames from the movie as accompanying illustrations. The publisher says its for readers “elementary school-age and up,” which means it’s probably also a reasonable challenge if you’re studying Japanese as a second language and looking for reading material more narratively compelling than the grammar point-focused sample conversations in your textbook.

The storyboard collection, The Art of book, and first volume of the film comic all go on sale November 1, priced at 4,840, 4,620, and 2,420 yen (US$32, US$31, and US$16) respectively, followed by the picture book and second film comic volume (1,980 and 2,090 yen) on December 15, with all available through Amazon (storyboards here, The Art of here, film comic volume one here, picture book here, and film comic volume two not yet listed). And if you need any extra convincing to check out the storyboards, just remember that Evangelion creator, and Nausica animator, Hideaki Anno says that Miyazaki storyboards are even better than Miyazaki anime.

Source, images: PR Times
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