An oversized, lavishly illustrated storybook featuring original watercolor art by legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki!
This is the original Princess Mononoke story, created by Hayao Miyazaki
in 1980 while he was first conceptualizing the landmark animated film
that would be released to universal acclaim seventeen years later. As an
initial version of the tale, it offers a new and different perspective
from the final version presented in the film. After a long, exhausting
war, a samurai lost in a forest encounters a giant wildcat--a mononoke.
The beast saves his life, but at the price of his daughter's hand in
marriage... (Summary and image from goodreads.com)
My Review: If you're familiar with the wondrous films of Japanese animation
director Hayao Miyazaki, you'll also be familiar with the title of Princess
Mononoke (which is my personal favorite film of his repertoire, if not
one of my all time favorite films in general). However, this book has
nothing in common with the film of the same name, but is wholly
worthwhile just the same.
Years ago, Miyazaki was working on the idea for a new film, and while
the Princess Mononoke we received is an unrivaled story about raging
gods and humans, this is more of a simple tale, akin to Beauty and the
Beast. For one reason or another, the film never came into play (though
the mononoke character is clearly a forerunner of Miyazaki's Totoro), so I'm grateful it was bound into a storybook.
Like Beauty and the Beast, this story has a monster and the girl who
tames him, though with a different, Japanese twist, including a Samurai
father possessed by a demon. I liked seeing this first pass at a story,
complete with gorgeous art by Miyazaki himself, often no more than a
quick scribble dashed with watercolor, but so vibrantly full of life.
Whether or not you know Miyazaki, this is a fine book for any
collection, with a story of redemption and friendship filled with a heap of
lovely illustrations, telling a fun little tale that anyone will enjoy.
My rating: Four stars
For the sensitive reader: The father, as mentioned before, becomes
possessed by a demon, and this could be a trifle scary for some younger