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Monday, May 4, 2009

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Vol 1. Hayao Miyazaki . Viz Media ( 2008)

Written in 1983 Nausicaa has been published in a nice set of volumes by Viz media in an unflipped format. They are a little bigger than the standard comic collection which is a distinct advantage, the slightly bigger pages give the details of the panels room to be seen and does make reading from right to left easier to manage. This first volume does a very nice job of setting up the story, introducing key cast members and story concepts in very clear and uncluttered fashion. The world is suffering from a ecological disaster created by a war fought a thousand years ago. A great toxic forest, the Sea of Corruption, home to deadly spores, enormous insects and the giant Ohmu is creeping across the globe. Humanity is reduced to various outposts around this forest, one of which is the Valley of the Wind. Sea breezes keep the spores from the valley but not the creeping poisons that are steadily reducing its population. Nausicca is the princess of the valley, she is drawn into a war by treaties signed with the Torumekian Empire.
The politics of the Empire are very nicely sketched in by Hayao Miyazaki as the discovery of an ancient weapon of mass destruction creates present destruction in the battle to control it within a wider war to control more of the diminishing stock of resources available to humanity. At the same time the purpose of the toxic forest is revealed. The ecological concerns are well integrated into the story and are not played up to the detriment of narrative momentum. The art is lovely, it is graceful and flowing, the details are plentiful but not obtrusive, the cast are very expressive and easy to read. The action sequences are done with great force and clarity and the story unfolds at a steady pace. Very enjoyable.

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