March 10th, 2012


Gird in Rings of Light, Ohma is Both Arbitrator & Warrior! (29)

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, VII by Hayao Miyazaki.

God Warrior's light!
Blue blood of the Monolith!
No more yesterdays.

I'm tempted to just end my read of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind with just images, since I found them really affecting. I don't know, this volume stirred up something in me as I read it. Partly I think because it became increasingly clear to me that I could interprete the story through the lens of my Oubliette stories. I don't usually make the background cosmology of Oubliette transparent-- rather, I keep it deep in the background, but it always effects the logic of the setting & the narrative. There are forces at play in the stories I tell & the games I run, but I usually leave the cosmic forces off-stage. I let them provide depth, I let the relationships between them create tensions that have cohesion, because they have a secret clarity behind them. Miyazaki, here at the end of Nausicaä brings those issues to a boil. Nausicaä herself is the needle through which they thread, but the struggle between the Crypt of Shuwa & the God Warrior Ohma could easily be cast in an Oubliette game as a conflict between a Titan & a Machina. Which, I know that is meaningless to everyone else...but that is my point! The final volume of this series was meaningful to my personal mythology, my inner pantheon. That is quite a feat. From just a production standpoint-- by the way, just as an aside-- I was really pleased with the compromise that Viz made, replacing the full-colour insert that the previous volumes had with a substantially bulked up page count. That is probably just the publishing nerd in me, but I thought it was a good call that let them stick to the price point of the other volumes. & so, well now it is over. I still have art books to seek out-- yeah, & spoiler alert, I am going to-- but I'm left in the afterglow. Hayao Miyazaki doesn't let things fold into themselves & be forgotten-- the plans laid out at the beginning of the novel deepen & come to fruition, even as he adds new directions to the story...directions themselves that come to a satisfying conclusion. The Torumekian king & Kushana's brothers, for instances, are revealed as villains at the same time that they are revealed as people with plausible motives & realistic internal struggles. Even characters who are largely irrelevant to the thrust of the narrative, like Namulith & Miralupa's father, show themselves to be essential threads in the tapestry. The boy who left the Garden with four heedra & the note "I want to save humanity" is just a nice piece of poetry, a skillful economy of storytelling that adds another dimension to an already multifaceted story.