Prince Shuna leaves his tiny village in search of the golden seeds that might bring better food to his people. He travels far, encountering slaving and saving two girls from it before reaching the land of the god-men and the terrible secret of the grain *and* the slave-trade.
I never knew that Miyazaki did any mangas--before I read this, his name was synonymous with anime movies such as Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. I was interested to read this, because I read that it was done before many of his other works. I began to read Shuna no Tabi with the hopes that it would be as wonderful as Miyazaki's later works.
I was not disappointed! The art is done in the beautiful, typical Miyazaki style--even fully colored! The art was stunning. I can't imagine how much time he must have put into each panel. The character
development is sufficient for a short story of this length, but I wish we had gotten to know the backgrounds of Thea and her sister. You end up loving them, even though you don't know them well. And from the beginning, you are rooting for Shuna on his journey.
This manga is very different from others that I have read in that the story is mostly told through the art and some narration. There is very little dialogue. Still, the story flows smoothly and it is easy to understand. The lack of dialogue adds to the fairytale-like feel of it.
You will notice that many elements of this manga show up later in his other works. I think Shuna was used as the basis of Ashitaka's (Princess Mononoke) character; the two look almost exactly the same and both ride a reindeer-type creature.
Miyazaki-sensei, what else should I write? This manga is based on old tibetanian tale. It's tipical Miyazaki's work - a beautifull fairytale (this english word is not as good as polish Baśń or german Kunstmärchen) - story about the most importants values and power of friendship.
The Miyazaki-fans could find here some similarities to Nausicaa.
It's definetly not a work for those who don't like Miyazaki.
Finaly Miyazaki wrote in Post Script: "My only dream was tomakethis animation, but in modern Japan a simple story like this would not pass, at all" I think not only in Japan...
Now, you now what
you should expect in this short, yet beautiful comix
Well, to begin with, the main motive I decided to make this review is because I personally think the other reviews provided exaggerated scores, it’s a very good manga but it’s not a masterpiece and not much remarkable either, however I know that be a masterpiece was not the objective, it was only made to be a beautiful and uncomplicated story and that I can say it was a accomplished objective. Also I am not a experienced manga reader but I’ve seen most of Miyazaki works so I think I am in condition to do this review, explained that let’s get to it.
Shuna no tabi is a small and beautiful manga, it is one of the most unknown works of Miyazaki and it was done during the beginning of his career.
The story is like a folktale and actually is inspired in one (a Tibetan tale). The protagonist (Shuna, as the title of the manga may imply, is his name) is a prince of a small and poor country. He discovers about magical seeds that may perhaps exist in a distant land in the west, these seeds could save his homeland so Shuna decides to go in a journey to find them. In this adventure he passes for different and diverse places, deals with dangers, makes friendships, found a great and cruel city, and also explore a fantastic place, therefore it is an interesting and well paced adventure story, and a simple one, although it has some darker and deeper moments
This was made by Miyazaki so as expected the art and atmosphere are both great, the setting of this imaginative world is surprisingly good considering the small extension of the story, actually the creation of magical worlds is the better part of most Miyazaki works and this one is no exception. Shuna no tabi is an unusual manga, sometimes looks more like an illustrated book given that the storytelling is done mainly by narration and images with few dialogues, and also the manga is even fully colored what is untypical.
Shuna no tabi is a typical Miyazaki work and it’s possible to recognize elements of his future films in this manga, mainly princess mononoke and nausicaä, so I highly recommend it to Miyazaki fans, however even for people who don’t are his fans this may be worth of reading, after all it’s interesting, beautiful and short.
(Parts of this text contain stuff already mentioned in other reviews here but I decided to maintain all the information I consider important)