: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Author: Hayao Miyazaki
This is the seven-book series of graphic novels the animated film was based on; however, it’s so much more elaborate, it’s really a different story all together. I liked the books far more than the film, which felt generic in terms of plot. But with the books, you really get to see the elaborate and complicate world Miyazaki has created. In this future world, humanity has so poluted things that nature has taken over with huge forests, giant insects, and poisonous miasma that humans can’t tolerate. Nausicaa is the young female leader of a small, insignificant clan of people, and through an elaborate series of adventures, she uses her talent of being able to communicate with animals and her instinctual love of all living things, to halt a war and stop the destruction of the world. It’s an amazing and wonderful story and is highly recommended. The graphic novels were originally Japanese, so they read backwards, from right to left, which is odd at first, but soon is not an issue. Unfortunately, the black-and-white artwork varies in quality: most of the time it is excellent, but occasionally things are supposed to be in color (like when Nausicaa wears a blue dress) and other places the art is so sketchy and the reality so complicated that it’s confusing figuring out what is going on (like some of the battle scenes, with explosions and chaos). But that’s a niggling negative: overall this is an incredible, creative and fun, and far more worth your time than the movie. My cousin gave me the books at Christmas and I’ve been reading them every since, a few pages a day (about a book a month). Very enjoyable.