1. Erika Matteson
2. The book “Nausicaa of The Valley of the Wind, Vol. 1” story and art by Hayao Miyazaki, is a beloved Japanese story based on a young princess, Nausicaa, who encounters many life threatening hardships and responsibilities during a time of war. As her father king of the Valley of Wind lies upon his death bed, he has to appoint Nausicaa as the chieftain of the valley under the Torumekian Emperor as a gunship pilot. There has never been a women chieftain in history, but being the only child to survive out of the 11 children there was no way to avoid this decision. It begins with a subtle scene of her exploring through the Sea of Corruption which is the poisonous forest engulfing the earth. We see Nausicaa’s gentleness and admiration towards the forest, letting us take a glimpse of who she will soon become. She is loved and cherished by all the people of the kingdom, and dedicates her life to protecting the valley. There are also many important characters that exist in this book such as Mito her uncle a very important supporting character. Also, Lord Yupa the finest swordsman in the periphery, whom is very close to Nausicaa and guides her in the right paths to keep her calm and poised against the awful Torumekian traitors who once were the valleys allies. One traitor, known as being Kushana, a young women commander who participated in breaking the ancient treaties and completely destroying the City of Pejitei. From the Torumekian attack on Pejitei they had to flee and hide in the Sea of Corruption, as they hid the insects came and began to tear the ship apart. Trying to get away the freighter crashed and all the people of Pejitei were killed including the daughter of the chieftain of Pejitei, Rastel, who had one last request. This is where another main character comes in Asbel, Rastel’s brother. Nausicaa and Asbel become very close throughout the story and triumph many battles together. Although Nausicaa’s journey has only begun she has many challenges to come.
3. In this graphic novel, Miyazaki uses more abstract techniques, meaning that the characters aren’t completely realistic but resemble objects, people, and real life situations. The type of media that he uses is black ink on white paper; the drawings vary going from sketchy to almost a polished look. All of the drawings consist of excessive detail, and crosshatching for shading. The ink gives the drawings texture, especially it only being black and white. The contrast between the dark and light is used very nicely within Miyazaki’s styles. Also, the organization of the panels may be a little confusing at first because usually you’d think there should be a simple pattern of reading each panel either up and down or left to right. In this case Miyazaki mixes it up, which I believe makes the reader have to pay more attention to the story line. Otherwise they’ll end up getting confused or lost.
4. Well I believe Miyazaki’s purpose in writing this story was to teach a lesson where in a time of conflict and damnation people can still conquer over the chaos of the world, and make things pure again starting with one person’s will. Overall, one person can make a difference in the world. This message is extremely important to give out to young and old people everywhere, because it is a good moral to share in order to lead people in the right path. Also, in the end of the book there is a short article describing how Miyazaki sparked his interest in creating the story of “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind”. Nausicaa is a Phaeacian princess who helped Odysseus back to health after washing up bloody on shore. She was a princess who enjoyed nature and was known as the “princess that loved insects”. These are some facts of how Miyazaki created his story of Nausicaa.
5. Well I believe there are a lot of strengths within this book. One would be the use of detail in the drawings; they make it very easy to see exactly what’s going on from facial expressions to battle scenes. Each panel plays well with one another making the story line easy to follow and the exaggerations in the drawings make everything a lot more interesting. Personally, another strength I find in the book is the story line. Part of my nationality is Japanese so I’ve grown up with this story since I was a 6 years old so it’s one of my favorite movies to watch. I would definitely consider all ages to watch the movie or read the series of graphic novels. They are exciting, adventurous, and show you how other cultures express their stories in unique ways.
6. Some weaknesses of the book would be how the panels are arranged in the book. Readers might get confused with the story because of how they are arranged in a mixed pattern, rather than just up and down, or left to right. Another, weakness would be that it’s in all black in white. Even though it fits very well for the series of graphic novels people enjoy seeing color in stories as well. There are so many interesting things that people have no idea about within the story, and if you add color they might be more attracted to the detailed drawings and the book in general.
7. This book is generally appropriate for all ages, because not only is it a cartoon but it also requires you to have more knowledge than a normal child would withhold. The book speaks of war and can relate to adults as well as children who adore cartoon characters and etc. I would recommend to all ages.
8. Other books Hayao Miyazaki has written are “The Art of Spirited Away” and “Princess Mononoke”. Both of these stories are great! I’ve grown up with almost all of Miyazaki’s books and movies, so I highly suggest that you look into them!
9. I would rate this book 5 out of 5. Personally I love this book, and would definitely encourage people to read the whole series!