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Cover art for Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Volume 1

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Volume 1

Written by Hayao Miyazaki
Fiction

Hayao Miyazaki, found of Studio Ghibli, is best known for his cute animated kids films like "My Neighbor Totoro," "Ponyo," and "Kiki's Delivery Service." This graphic novel series is something else entirely. Similar in plot to his movie of the same name, but having a much longer and more involved storyline, this series is Miyazaki's masterpiece and delves into the issues of good and evil, hope and despair, fate, human nature, and humankind's relationship with the planet. In a radiation-poisoned postapocalyptic future, Princess Nausicaa, heir to the tiny kingdom in the Valley of the Wind, is drawn into a war between two of the largest remaining nations and has to protect her people without sacrificing her ideals, striking a balance between being a head-of-state, a warrior, and a woman. Even more than in Miyazaki's other works, it can be difficult to figure out who is supposed to be the "bad guy" - everyone is capable of heroism, but can also be forced to make condemnable choices. One of my all-time favorites, but beware of gore and some nudity.

Recommended by Jenna

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