The Journey of Shuna

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Cover to the book

The Journey of Shuna (シュナの旅 in Japanese) is an all-watercolor manga published under Animage JuJu Bunko (Bunko is in smaller size than ordinary manga tankobons). It is more like a picture book than a manga, since it has only one or two panels per page, and no balloons for dialogues. Published in 1983, Shuna is considered by some as a Nausicaä prototype. Compared to Miyazaki's anime work, the story of Shuna is very dark and intense. But as in his other works, it is filled with characters possessing a strong will to live, and ends with hope.

The visuals are stunning. It is beautifully and delicately colored in watercolor. There are many familiar images which you also find in Miyazaki's later movies, such as giants, ruins overgrown with plants, a boy, a girl, and goats.

The Story

Shuna is a prince of a very poor country. His people have very little that they can grow on their poor land, and are starving. Shuna hears of the Land of the Gods and of the Golden Wheat growing there, and so he journeys there to bring the seeds back to his people.

After a very long and hard journey, he finally reaches the Land of the Gods, and steals some seeds. But he is severely punished for his crime. However he is nursed back to health by a girl whom he once rescued from slavery, and who now lives in a mountain village. She also plants Shuna's seeds and protects them from the elements. Eventually, the crop season comes, and she now has to choose a husband...

Published as:

English translations