Direction: Right to Left
By: Hayao Miyazaki
Publisher: Viz Media
Type: Series, Complete, Manga, Deluxe Edition
Genre: Shounen, Action, Adventure, Post Apocalyptic
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is an epic fantasy tale written and illustrated by legendary Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki, creator of My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle. A modern masterpiece, the entire series is now available in this deluxe box set containing two hardcover volumes with interior colour pages and a bonus poster.
What can i say, i personally think this is the best release to ever come from Viz, and given how quickly it sells out i think a lot of people agree with me. I’ll get into the Viz side later on, lets look at the actual manga first.
Personally, I’m not a fan of Studio Ghibli, i find it usually to be to childish. The mix of content, the adult themes etc. being mixed with kids just doesn’t appeal to me. However every once in a while they release something that blows me away. Nausicaä is exactly that, a series that quite frankly blew me away.
The art of the series is typical Miyazaki, in that it’s a bit wispy. It reminds me a lot of the art style that shojo uses, yet it isn’t that. One of the elements that contribute to the art style was that this series was done way back in 1982, and ran sporadically till 1994. I’ve found a lot of manga-ka from that generation to have a similar sort of art style.
I have to admit i didn’t like that art when i first started to read, but Miyazaki does a great job with story, so much so that my dislike of the art melted by the story and how much i got into it.
The character designs are pretty good, i loved Nausicaä and how she developed over the course of the series. Her passion comes through clearly, and what’s more while she does have a naivety it’s not a frustrating one. What’s more over the course of the series we get to see her personality tempered by what she see’s and while she does change, the changes are subtle and done perfectly well.
The same is true for the characters around her, Asbel and Kushana are great examples of this. When we’re first introduced to them thy both blinded by their own path and their hatred. Yet over the course of the series we get to see them grow, change, and even become influence by Nausicaä . For Kushana the change is slower, and one she rejects for a while, but ultimately i love the way she turns out.
While we don’t really get introduced to many ‘people’ the ones we do get introduced to are rather weird. It’s easy to spot the evil people straight away because they’re all short and have hideous faces. this was true for all of the characters that played a ‘negative’ role, i don’t really like the term evil since it’s hard to apply it here.
In fact there’s only one character in the series where the term could be applied, but even then it just doesn’t really cover him very well.
Story wise it flows really well. I found it easy to follow the characters and understand what was going on. Which in a story as fast paced as this one is essential. In fact i only have one complaint about the story, and that’s the way it ended. I felt the ending was a bit fast, and the way it was all wrapped up felt a bit to rushed. I would have liked to see a side story collection of the aftermath, especially since the paragraph or two of text we get hints at some great stories. Such as what happens to Asbel, why Kushana refused to take the thrown, and more importantly why Nausicaä never returns home. Considering the entire story seems to take place over a matter of weeks if not a month or two, there were still a lot of unanswered questions over the ending.
What is an undeniable fact however is that i loved this series, i loved the characters, and i was devastated when it ended. so much so that i promptly started to read it again. From the time i got this (a week ago) I’ve now read it 4 times, which for me is very unusual, i tend to read a title once or at most twice. I believe this is the first time I’ve read something four times in a row.
Now, onto how Viz handled this. As i said at the beginning of this post i think that this series is the best that Viz have ever published, and i stand by that. The quality of this release is off the charts.
The hardback covers are good and thick, with an excellent set of designs on them. The colour panels on each of front covers are amazing, with a nice vibrant look and feel to them. The paper is really high quality, i can’t see it falling apart any time soon. The print quality of version I’ve got for the most part was great as well, though there were a few faded pages where it was almost as if the printer was running out of ink. While the pages are still legible, they’re faded and don’t have the quality feel that the rest of the pages have.
Viz did a pretty good job with the translations, while they don’t leave honorifics and titles in, the quality was still pretty high and i have to admit i didn’t really find anything to bitch about in this release. Quite the opposite, i was really happy to see they left the SFX untouched and added a glossary of sorts at the end of the book.
The double sided poster is delicious, though part of me wishes they’d used two posters since i want both of them on my wall!! My only real complain is with the posters though, the huge assed Viz logo’s and text spoil the posters pretty good. Would have been nice to have a simple Viz logo on it’s own.
Viz also included a collection of full colour maps and miscellaneous bits at the beginning of each volume. Frankly these look amazing and as vibrant as the cover designs
Also bear in mind that this edition is not easy to read, the individual volumes weigh a tonne. You can’t hold it in hand and sit back and read it. It is possible, but be prepared for a bit of arm ache from holding it, your best bet is to sit it on a table or something to read it.
So it all boils down to if you should buy this series? Frankly, absolutely!! Even if your not a fan of the series or Studio Ghibli we should encourage Viz to publish more of these super high quality deluxe editions. Personally I’d love to see Basara get this treatment.
That said even if you have a slight interest in the series this is a version to get, because at the moment it’s actually costing less than buying the seven volumes individually in paperback. this tied with all the extras you get make it well worth the investment. Frankly it’s well worth the title of the Best Viz Release Ever IMO