Title: Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind Story & Art by: Hayao Miyazaki Publisher: VIZ Media MSRP: $9.95
It's been a 1000 years since the Seven Days of Fire, an event that left mankind a shell of its former self. Now the two great nations of Torumekia and Dorok threaten to destroy humanity all over again. Nausicaa, a princess from the Valley of the Wind, stands in the middle of this conflict and fights to uncover the secret behind the Sea of Corruption.
In every medium there are works that stand above all others and are regarded as classics. Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind is one such work, at least in my mind. Of course I would also put Gurren Lagann and Super Dimension Fortress Macross in this category so my tastes can be quite different. Regardless, Gurren Lagann and Macross are two shows that I love. They made me shout "Fuck yeah!" at my TV screen on several occasions thus putting them into the category. And while I didn't shout "Fuck yeah!" at each and every volume of Nausicaa I was left with a sense of fulfillment after finishing each one. Nausicaa proudly stands at my number 2 of favorite manga of the forever. If you're curious number 1 goes to 20th Century Boys, a title I hope to review when it's completed its entire run here in America.
The art in Nausicaa is beautiful which is not surprising considering Miyazaki is the artist. The characters are all drawn in a realistic manner. The creatures of Nausicaa's world are sometimes hideous, particularly the bugs, and other times cute and fuzzy. The aircrafts range from huge battleships to smaller fighters. All of them look like something that could come from our own world, save for the Dorok personal transport ship.
While I do love the art of Nausicaa this wouldn't be an objective review without listing some complaints, which I do have. I did enjoy the action scenes in Nausicaa quite a bit but sometimes it was hard to tell exactly what was happening. There were several occasions where I'd look at a panel and couldn't comprehend what was supposed to be going on. This happened to me at least once per volume. It's not a big deal as it didn't take away from my enjoyment but there it is.
One thing that really surprised me about Nausicaa is just how violent it is. In the first volume alone (also the most violent) Nausicaa duels one of Kushana's men, an airship is destroyed and Nausicaa is forced to fly through the falling bodies, we also get a close up of two children hugging each other as they plummet towards the earth. There are some more violent scenes throughout the series but nothing on the scale of volume 1. There's also one nude scene involving Nausicaa in volume 7 that lasts for 3 panels. So because of the violence, and presumably that one little look at Nasuicaa's breasts, Viz decided to give the series a Teen Rating. I guess it's justified in the violence as the bit where we see the kids falling to their deaths did phase me.
Extras are pretty sparse in Nausicaa. Volume 1 gives us a Miyazaki profile and a look into how/why he created the series. Volume 2 on the very first page gives us a description of all the equipment Nasuicaa wears. Volumes 1-6 include color posters which are as awesome as they sound. They contain an image on each side, one side usually contains a picture of Nasuicaa and the other a map of the world. The maps are often repeated but the pictures containing Nasuicaa, or someone else ,are always new. Besides that every volume includes a sound effect dictionary.
Before I conclude the review I'd like to point out that while Nausicaa does deal with environmentalism Miyazaki does a good job of not being you over the head with it. It's there and you know it's there but he has enough respect not to suggest you're a horrible person if you don't go out and plant a tree every day. Of course I'm not one of those people who look for underlying messages in a story, I simply like the story and don't bother with what the creator may have been trying to get across. This may make me a horrible person, I don't know.
Although it may not sound like it, and I'm sure it didn't, Nasuicaa is an amazing manga. And no matter what you may think of Miyazaki this story deserves to be read. It has great characters (some of which could star in their own series), a great sense of adventure and scale, and an awesome story. Find Nausicaa and buy it. Read it and add it to your collection. If you're not one to collect things pass it on to someone else to read.
Other Crap I Feel Like Mentioning: Read Jason Thompson's review of Nasuicaa here. It's a 1000 times better than mine and actually does the manga justice. Seriously you all should read Nasuicaa even if you have to get it scanlated. And no watching the movie is not the same thing in fact the movie and manga are completely different beyond a few certain plot points. Read my post in the forums to see what's different.
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