Hayao Miyazaki is probably best known in the West for his films; My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service are celebrated for their lavish animation and sophisticated treatment of their young heroes. But among his many fans in Japan, his epic manga tale, Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind, which Miyazaki later made into a animated movie, is often cited as his greatest work. Indeed, the Comics Journal once described the first volume as “the best graphic novel ever.” Many critics favorably compare the story to such fantasy classics as C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia or J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.Ég á voða erfitt með að lýsa söguþræðinum, best bara að treysta amazon.
In Nausicaä, as in most of his work, Miyazaki centers his narrative on a strong young woman who struggles to create peace in a world torn by war. Readers of Homer's The Odyssey will recall that Nausicaä is the name of the Phoenician princess who healed Odysseus when he washed up on her shores. Miyazaki took that character as the inspiration for his Princess Nausicaä, but their worlds could not be further apart. Underscoring the book's deep ecological messages, Miyazaki's Nausicaä is a passionate defender of the natural world, and her ability to commune with the creatures of the forest appears almost magical. As a princess, she is testing the waters of leadership as her father languishes on his deathbed. As a citizen of the Valley of Wind, she has mastered reading the shifting wind currents and air pockets as she navigates the skies in her glider.
Readers learn at the beginning of her tale that the Earth has become a hostile place. Environmental crises have made the forest–known as the Sea of Corruption–into a kingdom of spores and giant insects called Ohmu. The remaining humans huddle in the valleys and sheltered cities while holding on to the remnants of technologies long-since rendered mysterious. Now, the Imperial family has begun a massive campaign to extend its hold on the remaining pockets of civilization. However, intrigue between the reigning Princess Kushana and her brothers suddenly place Nausicaä and her people at the center of a civil conflict that could extinguish the last people on earth. With the grandeur of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and the grace of Miyazaki's Totoro, Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind is a classic of fantasy literature and one of the finest works ever in the comics medium. –Patrick O'Kelley