Something I wrote in the Nausicaa Mailing list, April 16, 2000:
Finished the manga (Nausicaa, of the Valley of the Wind) last week.
I've been meaning to post my reaction to it but I CAN'T. I've just finished a thousand-page manga, a work of thirteen years, and I can't sum it all up in one lousy post.
Oh, I can give a few indications. I think Miyazaki's manga ranks right up there with Philip Dick, with Olaf Stapledon, with some of the very best science fiction there is. Over and beyond what I feel are somewhat overrated SF and fantasy writers, like Frank Herbert, and JRR Tolkien.
Of course, I write this not knowing anything of recent SF and fantasy writers--David Brin, Vernor Vinge, Kim Stanley Robinson. I've only sampled the cyberpunk people, like Sterling, Gibson, Stephenson (none of which have really bowled me over).
As a graphic novel, it's probably no contest (though again I write this in ignorance of practically every other Japanese manga). I do think that Miyazaki leaves writers like Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Frank Miller in the dust. Maybe only Art Spiegelman is in his league, and that's because Spiegelman is working with a basically real milieu--the Nazi concentration camp. Incidentally, I wonder what Spiegelman would think of Miyazaki...
As for On Your Mark, it was very hard for me to watch it. It's only seven minutes long, but knowing it's Miyazaki's farewell to his heroine...good thing I had my daughter on my lap; her eyes were glued to the screen. She couldn't look back and see her father quietly making a sodden mess of himself.
Then she goes and insists that I rewind the tape and we watch it again.
Ah, well. But I did it, and I managed to sit through it again. Somehow.
I'm going through the same withdrawal symptoms I had after watching the films Laputa and Nausicaa. The symptoms are familiar to me now, except they seem to be a lot worse--I'm rereading the whole manga again, and plan to reread it one more time after that.
Frankly, my family hates it when I do this; I get too affectionate and keep demanding hugs and kisses and it's too much of a bother to their busy lives.
There has to be a clinic or program somewhere for people like me...