Spirited Away - Cinemanga
And they probably should have went to VIZ and told them not to print the My Neighbor Totoro Cinemanga (which was probably supposed to coincide with the DVD release).
You probably know the drill with Cinemangas, but just in case...
Cinemangas are basically "manga" (or comics) that are nothing more than images from animations (animes) lifted cel by cel and put into comic (manga) format.
The first time VIZ tinkered with this was when they made their set of Dirty Pair and Gundam comics.
I didn't read the Gundam ones, but obviously that was the more popular of the two since there was more Gundam issues than Dirty Pair from what I remember. Oh, the Dirty Pair issues were pulled from the 1985 original TV Series (I know because I have all five issues).
The next example I can think of of this process takes us away from the United States, and lands us in Poland where a polish company drew on the Sailor Moon TV Series to create a Sailor Moon "comic" series. However since the paper used by the polish publisher was substandard in comparison to the paper used in cinemangas today the final product was abit low class and inferior to what you see these days.
Still for fans of the Sailor Moon series it was pure gold to get something like this, so I guess it was enjoyed even if it was not up to higher standards.
Back to the US we come to today, and the several companies that are presently tinkering in the Cinemanga style of manga. We have VIZ, of course. We then have TOKYOPOP (who seems to draw from American cinema, animation and... evil evil evil... Disney for cinemangas), and Dark Horse who just recently began to dabble into their own cinemangas.
The focus of this review, however, is VIZs work to do Miyazaki cinemangas, specifically the work on Spirited Away, the Academy Award winning Miyazaki movie.
You know the story. Moving trip to a new home turns into a spiritual realm public relations nightmare when a wayward family ends up on "the other side" and makes pigs of themselves by eating the diner food of the spirits... except for a young girl named Chihiro who ends up working as child labor in the bath house of a seemingly evil old witch who takes Chihiro's name and sticks her with the name Sen.
You know the rest of the story, but just in case you can relive the entire movie here, in these books.
Split into five books the whole movie is played out visually in fine detail. The transfer of animation to the page is done well, and the stuff used for the books translates the spirit of the movie well into printed format making these the perfect addition to your Miyazaki collection right alongside your DVDs!
Without a negative thing to say, I recommend these... oh, wait, I do have one negative thing.
Having to drop $50 a pop for an entire movie in cinemanga format is abit daunting. Why can't these be in giant Graphic Novel format? I'd pay at least $30 for the thing... but not $50 stretched out over 5 books.
That reasoning probably kept me from buying Castle in the Sky (Laputa) when it came out in this format, though unfortunately I can't say it'll keep me from buying My Neighbor Totoro... because it may be the only way to get ahold of this title for sometime to come.
It took a long time for Disney to roll out the second batch of DVDs, and that only happened because of one unforseen event : mainly the "divorce" of Hillary Duff and Disney.
You don't believe me? Consider this. When I had this contact where I kept track of animation movements I often looked over the list of Disney releases (just to see when the next Miyazaki DVDs would come about) and for the longest time I saw no progress on that front. Checking the list over and over again I continued to be disappointed by the lack of moment -- then suddenly (after the Lizzie McGuire movie came out) she and Disney separated and the series was headed to cancellation. Out of the blue, in a spot where there was no mention of it before (in a previous list of releases) there was an announcement of a second batch of Miayzaki DVDs... as if it came out of nowhere (or was put there after the news of the breakup).
So, in that light, it's obvious that we have Hillary Duff to thank for these DVDs since Disney seemingly threw these together to cover the loss of Lizzie McGuire... can they cancel another show now? Somebody take a hike so Disney puts together a third Miyazaki DVD set... anyone.
Back to the 2nd release. If you've read any release information up to this year you'd have seen the list was Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (starring Patrick Stewart), Porco Rosso (starring Michael Keaton) and My Neighbor Totoro! At no point is The Cat Returns ever mentioned, until the last second when it replaces My Neighbor Totoro and is released in it's place. However nobody took the time to tell VIZ that since they still released My Neighbor Totoro Cinemangas as if anticipating the Disney 2-disc DVD release.
By the way, guess this mean you should get your money ready for, yes, Howl's Moving Castle Cinemangas. It should be out soon after the movie releases in English Dub format in theaters so keep an eye out for it.
Spirited Away the Breakdown
What's Hot? - What's not hot about this? It's the perfect companion to the movie and a must have.
What's Not? - However I wish VIZ would have gathered this together into one nice hardbound book so I can read the whole thing from beginning to end in one sitting. And, yes, I would have paid about $30 or so dollars for this giant book if I could get it. Having to get five volumes to get the whole set is no fun, especially since I never got ahold of Spirited Away V. 5 and still need that to complete my set!
Another not is the fact that not everyone of Miyazaki's works has a proper manga release attached to it. Only Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, as I remember it, has a proper manga series (also available from VIZ). I don't think any of the other titles does... but then again I am probably wrong on that. Anyone knows what other mangas out there are tied to Miyazaki movies? I'd be interested in knowing that.
Moments to Remember? Same as the movie this is chock full of moments that translated well from the big screen to the tiny "manga".
What to Ignore? Well I bet Disney would love it if you just ignore the fact that VIZ put out a Cinemanga of a movie they didn't put out... mainly My Neighbor Totoro. They don't know why VIZ would do such a thing since they didn't release that movie... for some almost unknown reason.
I'm going to take it it might have something to do with 20th Century Fox still having some ties to the movie which keeps Disney from rolling it out on DVD... maybe.
Otherwise I'm just at a lost as to why it was delayed the way it was.
Overall? - This cinemanga (Spirited Away) is going to make a nice addition to your Miyazaki collection. And come to think of it, the Castle in the Sky cinemanga will also make a nice addition... and so will the My Neighbor Totoro cinemangas, especially since this is going to be the only way to enjoy My Neighbor Totoro for the near and forseeable future.
Maybe Disney will put it out in the as of yet even considered third Miyazaki DVD release.
Of course we'll need a 3rd Miyazaki DVD release before we can talk about the contents of said release so I'll just wrap it up for now, and we'll talk again when more information comes in.
Did they do a Kiki's Delivery Service cinemanga? I know there's a reprint of the original classic book that inspired the movie available now... and that's it.
Well, take care now! Bye!
The Love Hina manga is the base from which the highly popular anime of the same name is based. In fact if you've seen the first DVD volume (eps 1-4) then there is little else new that the first volume...
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