Today, Viz Media released the latest book in the Studio Ghibli Library series. Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind: Watercolor Impressions is 208 pages of sketches, rough ideas, and finished illustrations from Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece. And nearly everything is in glorious watercolor.
This was a terrific surprise for me. The book was originally published in Japan in 1997 (?), and has been one of those Ghibli-themed books I told myself to grab. Unfortunately, other priorities always intruded, as life often does. Now we'll all be able to read Miyazaki's own thoughts in English, gaining insight into the evolution and development of Nausicaa the manga, and then the Nausicaa film which gave birth to Studio Ghibli.
Watercolor Impressions is magnificent. The book is in the same large size as all the "Art of..." books, and is similarly priced. The illustrations are wonderful, and I'm sure you'll spot many of them. You'll also see many snippets and fragments of ideas that Miyazaki held onto throughout the years; ideas that formed during earlier productions, like that Superman robot that appeared in the Farewell, Beloved Lupin episode. As the ideas for Nausicaa began during the production of Sherlock Hound at Telecom (Miyazaki worked on his comic project at home, keeping the two jobs seperate), you can see that steady stream of consciousness from Future Boy Conan (and stretching back, as always, to Horus, Prince of the Sun). Many ideas and motifs that weren't used for Nausicaa would surface years later for Castle in the Sky and Princess Mononoke.
There are so many comic works from Miyazaki that have never been shown here in the West, so it's always a joy to see a new collection of his artwork, especially from his signature graphic novel. It's the perfect companion piece to the film and comic. Foolish me. I was hoping to save up enough money to get Super Mario Galaxy next week. Those plans are now in tatters.
(Alright, it seems Blogger is being a pain at this computer, so I can't upload any photo of the book. I suspect this is an issue with Internet Explorer - my own computer uses Firefox, naturally.)
Update: Okay, I was wrong about the book's original date. I don't know, to be honest, but it appears to have been published after Mononoke was released. The book makes mention of the film, and photos of Miyazaki show him with the goatee. That would have been around '97 or so.