I am reading this book and I have to say that this probably the most important animation book out there for me. Even above Illusion of Life.
Unlike most how-to animation books that focus on breaking down about theme and story structure, character's motivation, this is a book that talks about the philosophy of animation and thought process through articles and interviews of Hayao Miyazaki collected over a 17 year period.
Below is a few notes from a review by Mayer Masterson on the book.
"Having said all this, if someone were to ask me what the most important thing is when creating a new animated work, my answer would be that you first have to know what you want to say with it. In other words, you have to have a theme. Surprisingly, perhaps, people sometimes overlook this basic fact of filmmaking and overemphasize technique instead. There are innumerable examples of people making films with a very high level of technique, but only a very fuzzy idea of what they really want to say. And after watching their films, viewers are usually completely befuddled. Yet when people who know what they want to say make films with a low level of technique, we still greatly appreciate the films because there is really something to them."
"I like the expression "lost possibilities." To be born means being compelled to choose an era, a place, and a life. To exist here, now, means to lose the possibility of being countless other potential selves. For example, I might have been the captain of a pirate ship, sailing with a lovely princess by my side. It means giving up this universe, giving up other potential selves. There are selves which are lost possibilities, and selves that could have been, and this is not limited just to us but to the people around us and even to Japan itself.Yet once born,there is no turning back. And I think that's exactly why the fantasy worlds of cartoon movies so strongly represent our hopes and yearnings. They illustrate a world of lost possibilities for us. And in this sense I think that the animation we see today often lacks the vitality of older cartoon movies. Economic constraints in production are often said to be the main reason, but it seems to me that something spiritual is also missing. It would be stupid to turn my back on the times in which we live and act arrogrant about it all, but I always find myself thinking that the old cartoon movies were indeed more interesting and exciting that we have today."
"I think there is is no way we can live and "not cause difficulties for others," as the saying exhorts us. I have come to think that even when we are overflowing with love and goodness, the world of human beings is one in which we cast our shadows onto each other, giving each other troubles as we grow and live.The question then becomes, what it is hope? And the conclusion I'd have to venture is that hope involves working and struggling along with people who are important to you. In fact, I've gotten to the point where I think this is what it means to be alive."
What I tell myself everyday.
To all the people watching, I can never ever thank you enough for the kindness to me, I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask is one thing, and this is.. I'm asking this particularily of young people that watch: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism - for the record it's my least favorite quality, it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen." - Conan 'O'Brien