2016-12-09

Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind: The Graphic Novel


Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind will always stand as Hayao Miyazaki's magnum opus, a true masterpiece of epic storytelling, thrilling action and brilliant art design. As the holiday season is upon us, this is the perfect time to purchase a copy of this graphic novel.  Fortunately, Viz Media offers two excellent versions: a deluxe box set containing all seven volumes in two large books, bound together in a hardcover case; and the individual seven volumes available separately.

Many years ago, Nausicaa was first released in the United States in a four-book series. That was the version I first purchased, and it's now long out-of-print, making it a prized collector's item. The newer versions, however, are superior in every respect, from page side to quality of translation. Die-hard Miyazaki fans, of course, will want to collect literally everything. They should begin here with these two different presentations.

The only improvement I would offer for any future release of Nausicaa would be to include Miyazaki's original publishing schedule for the monthly serial. It helps a lot to know just where he took his many breaks, usually to work on his feature animated films. These long breaks, ranging anywhere from one to three years, allowed Miyazaki to return with fresh insights and new ideas, resulting in a constant evolution of the story and its characters.

Many Miyazaki fans and Ghibli Freaks have yet to discover the man's many works in manga comics. If you've never read them, you're missing out on a third of his career, just as if you've never discovered the many pre-Ghibli films and television series. If you are among them, you owe it to yourself to have the Nausicaa books in your library. Ask Santa or Hannukah Harry to leave a set under your tree this year.

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