The Art of Castle in the Sky Review

The year 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of Castle in The Sky by Studio Ghibli and Viz Media, the premier company in the fields of publishing, animation distribution and global entertainment licensing is celebrating this anniversary with the release of The Art of Castle in The Sky. The release coincides with the film’s 30th anniversary and joins the series of hardcover art books by Viz Media showcasing Studio Ghibli films.

Castle in The Sky is the first feature film to be produced by Studio Ghibli in 1986 and the legendary director Hayao Miyazaki. This art book is beautifully compiled not only with stunning illustrations, but with character artwork (from conception to official film art), and personal notes by Miyazaki himself that allows fans to dive deeper into his creativity and thought process. The art book has a little for everyone even film production fans, with a section on lighting effects and such.


On each character design page, there are rough sketches and notes about character traits and personality. For example on Pazu’s character page, it details the contents of Pazu’s tool bag. On the side, Miyazaki noted that Pazu isn’t just a cool kid, but someone who would use tools at hand to problem solve. Or on Shiita’s character page, there is a concept art of her dressed as Princess Leia of Star Wars. Fans of the movie who are interesting in learning more about the characters would be amused to find small tidbits and quotes about their favorite characters and scenes throughout this beautiful hardcover artbook.


One section that I really enjoyed was when he talked about the Ornithopter (the helicopter like vehicle in the movie) along with a picture of concept sketch. Miyazaki mentions that “Given this form, I think it might just fly even now. It probably only needs something like the auxiliary wings of the archaeopteryx”. Reading notes like this made me realize just how much thought he puts into every single bit of his creation. If the beautiful art and the interesting notes from Miyazaki is not enough for fans, there is an English script of the movie included at the back of the book as well.

Overall this is a great addition for new and existing fans of Castle in The Sky. I highly recommend this book to those who are fans of Hayao Miyazaki’s works, Studio Ghibli’s works, or even for those who are just looking for a good quality art book with stunning illustrations. The retail price of the art book is reasonable at $34.99 U.S./$39.99 CAN. If I had to nitpick about anything, it would be for the lack of a sleeve for the art book that celebrated the 30th anniversary of the film. Also it would be nice to have a section at the beginning of the book with quotes from other artists, celebrities and directors/producers commenting what Castle in The Sky and/or Hayao Miyazaki means to them. Other than those small details, this art book is worthy of a spot on any collector’s bookshelf. The Art of Castle in the Sky is available now.

The O rating A


- Quotes and insights from Miyazaki himself on his concept sketches and illustrations
- The use of concept art, cell art, and film art to illustrate the evolution of the art
- Sections where technical notes or methods are explained
- Character design and insight of Miyazaki’s creative process of the characters
- Full English movie script


- Could have used a book sleeve with 30th anniversary celebration
- Foreword with other artists, celebrities, and directors/producers saying what the film means to them
- Needs an about section of Hayao Miyazaki with his picture

Last modified on Friday, 04 November 2016 11:49
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