Shuna’s Journey journeys to North America.

What with him being the most celebrated anime director of all time, it’s easy to forget that Hayao Miyazaki is also a manga artist. Sure, he’s spent the majority of the last several decades focused primarily on creating the lion’s share of the incredible animated filmography of Studio Ghibli, but he’s able to bring that same combination of thoughtful imagination and meticulous attention to detail to the still-picture comic format as well.

As a matter of fact, the first English-language translation of one of Miyazaki’s manga has just been announced.

If you’re thinking “Wait a second, I didn’t know there was a manga version of Princess Mononoke, or that Nausicaa spent time riding around on a deer,” worry not, you didn’t miss those details. That’s because despite the similarities to the visual design of those two anime classics, this is actually Shuna’s Journey, which Miyazaki wrote and drew in 1983, one year before the release of Nausica of the Valley of the Wind and 14 years before Princess Mononoke hit theater screens.

▼ Cover of the Japanese collected edition of Shuna’s Journey

A fantasy adventure about a prince on a quest to save his mountainous homeland from the perils of an ongoing famine, Shuna’s Journey is made up of lush watercolor panels, a rarity in the manga industry where the vast majority of artwork is monochrome ink.

The entire tale is told in a single volume, and its English release is being handled not by one of the dedicated overseas manga publishers, but by First Second Books, a New York-based graphic novel specialist.

▼ The hero’s steed in Shuna’s Journey (right) shares its name, Yakkul, with the mount of Princess Mononoke’s Ashitaka (left).

▼ Another comparison between Princess Mononoke (left) and Shuna’s Journey (right)

The English translation for Shuna’s Journey is being done by London-based journalist/translator Alex Dudok de Wit, whose name might be familiar to Ghibli fans. Not only is Dudok de Wit the author of an in-depth analysis of Grave of the Fireflies, his father, Michael Dudok de Wit, is the director of The Red Turtle, the 2016 French/Japanese co-production created with help from Studio Ghibli.

First Second Books’ English edition of Shuna’s Journey is scheduled for North American release on November 1, which just so happens to be the same day as the grand opening of the Ghibli theme park in Japan.

Source, top image: Twitter@JP_GHIBLI
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