Castle in the Sky 1 (Castle in the Sky Series) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2003/7/1
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A legend of the days of the first flying machines, where fantastic adventure takes to the air! Pirates greedy for treasure and secret agents hungry for power are both chasing Sheeta, a young girl who wears a mysterious blue stone around her neck. The stone's power makes Sheeta defy gravity and float down into the life of Pazu, a tough young orphan boy inventor. Soon Pazu and Sheeta are caught up together--way up, into the clouds, where somewhere awaits Laputa, a floating city built by a lost race of people. What ancient secrets link Sheeta's stone to the incredible dangers and mysteries of the Castle In The Sky?
Hayao Miyazaki is the prominent director of many popular animated feature films. He is also the co-founder of Studio Ghibli, the award-winning Japanese animation studio and production company behind worldwide hits such as PRINCESS MONONOKE, HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE and SPIRITED AWAY.
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"Castle in the Sky" ("Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta") is the story of Sheeta, a young girl who wears a mysterious blue crystal around her neck that allows her to defy gravity, and Pazu, a young orphan and apprentice miner who is pretty inventive. They meet when pirates after a treasure and government secret agents hungry for power start chasing Sheeta and Pazu saves her when she falls out of an airship (he catches her when she floats down out of the sky). Muska has been assigned by the Special Agency to obtain the levitation stone while Dola is the captain of the pirate's airship. The stone has been in Sheeta's family forever and there is clearly a secret connection between it and the mythical Laputa, a floating city built by a lost race of people. This is probably my least favorite Miyazaki film, but is still well worth watching, or, in this case reading.
For those who have read what photo-novels of movies are like before, you are not really going to be prepared for what they will find in this graphic novel (it really is more like a comic book). Whether you have seen "Castle in the Sky" or not you will find this an interesting story and there is even a cliffhanger at the end of volume 1 to inspire you to move on to the next part. When you make the mistake of opening to the "front" of the book look over the guide to "Castle in the Sky" sound effects used in the "manga" (comic book) style adaptation of the actual anime (animated movie). The sound effects are usually written in the phonetic characters called "katakana." If the instructions are too complicated do not worry because there are three pages of annotations (three column per page) translating every sound from "whoor whoor whoor" to the final "kaasboom."
Into Pazu's life comes Sheeta, who literally falls out of the sky. Her airship was raided by pirates, and Sheeta escaped with the help of a mysterious stone that allows her to defy gravity.
Pazu helps her to escape from two factions of enemies: The air-pirates, and a mysterious force of government agents who seek to control the power of the stone.
This is a fast-paced story with fun and likeable characters in a stylish and imaginative setting. The artwork consists of cells from the actual film, which don't always do justice to the film's beautiful art, although a lot of the larger panels look great. The dialogue is in English, and the sound effects in Japanese with a translation guide provided at the end of the book. The book is laid out in right-to-left format.
This volume doesn't come to much of a conclusion, so you are going to want to read the remaining three manga volumes or see the film to get the full story. But it is definitely a story that's off to a great start here.