Month: July 2013

My Favourite Superhuman Protagonists

“But this is a period in which everyone wants to read about ‘heroes’ who are consummately normal people. If they’re not, the readers don’t believe in them. I don’t like this. That’s how things are these days, but frankly speaking, I dislike it. Making heroes who are just like you or everyone else around you. I wanted to create a character who was not like that.” – Hayao Miyazaki, Interview I remember laughing aloud while reading this particular tidbit; the blunt candor of a master not afraid to speak his mind is always refreshing. Have we really grown to appreciate average joes over saints? I can see how ordinary characters can be more relatable and how great heroes and heroines can be reduced to bland and remote archetypes. But I see that as an issue of characterization, not of character. Most of my favourite protagonists start and finish their journeys as extraordinary people, yet they are no less flawed, complex, or fascinating than any “consummate normal”. In this entry, I’d like to take a look at …

Nausicaa on the hill

Nausicaä Vol. 5: Daikaisho

Part of The Greatest Ekostory Ever Told: The Nausicaä Project A wounded Miralupa is transported back to the Dorok capital of Shuwa, where a team of surgeons works to repair his decrepit and deteriorating body. Recuperating inside an immersion tank, he warns his older brother Namulith of the threat the blue-clad one poses to their Empire. Namulith dismisses his concerns and seizes on Miralupa’s moment of weakness, pouring poison into the tank. After a century of playing second fiddle to Miralupa with his psychic abilities, Namulith finally has the chance to emerge from the shadows. He checks on the God Warrior brought from Pejitei before mustering a force of heedras, immortal cactus-like behemoths that helped his father conquer the Dorok Lands, to head off to the front lines.

It’s Not (Always) About the Lorax, by Michelle Nijhuis

“Are there other ways to tell environmental stories? With Christopher Booker’s Seven Basic Plots as a field guide, I’ve been searching for examples of environmental journalism with other-than-tragic narratives — archetypal frameworks that still fit the facts, but startle the reader out of his or her mournful stupor.” (Michelle Nijhuis) Taking a slight breather at the halfway point of the Nausicaa Project, I wanted to share an intriguing article titled It’s Not (Always) About the Lorax by Michelle Nijhuis. She notes too often environmental stories gravitate towards tragedy because it’s the most direct method for expressing the loss or diminishment of nature. But while this approach is honest and powerful, it can leave readers feeling depressed, powerless, and paralyzed. Nijhuis loosely uses Booker’s Seven Basic Plots to highlight a series of well-written narratives that use other approaches to convey environmental understanding. My favourite story listed has to be Alan Rabinowitz’s incredible Wild Eyes, if only because I’ve actually camped in the Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve in Belize. The piece got me thinking about the Ekostories I’ve explored. What …

Nausicaä Vol. 4: Catastrophe

Overjoyed, the Dorok soldiers outside Sapata throw down their weapons to reunite with freed family members. For a brief moment, there is relief and joy. But there remains a war to be fought. The Dorok commander Charuka suspects the release of the prisoners as part of a Torumekian plot, but the Sapatan elder informs him that it was the blue clad one who commanded the release. Desiring to learn more about Nausicaä, Charuka listens to the story of a woman with two infants. The woman explains that she was approached to care for them; having lost her own children in the war, she agreed. Before leaving Sapata, Nausicaä offers her a pair of earrings in gratitude.