Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (風の谷のナウシカ Kaze no Tani no Naushika?) is a post-apocalyptic manga written and illustrated by acclaimed anime director Hayao Miyazaki. It was serialised intermittently from 1982 to 1994 in Japan. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is published by Viz Media. It tells the story of Nausicaä, a princess of small kingdom that is pulled into a war between mighty empires as a looming environmental apocalypse threatens the very survival of humankind. On her journey she seeks to find peaceful coexistence between the nations of men, as well as between man and nature.
The story is set in the future 1000 years after the “Seven Days of Fire”, a cataclysm brought on by the excessive industrialisation that mankind has undergone. It utterly destroyed industrial civilisation approximately a millennium after it began to flourish (probably sometime in the 2700s). Although humanity survived, the land surface of the Earth has become heavily polluted and the seas are poisonous. Most of the world is covered by the “Sea of Corruption”, a toxic forest of fungal plants which is steadily encroaching on the remaining open land. It is protected by large insects, including the huge Ohmu. Humanity clings on to survival in the polluted lands beyond the forest, periodically engaging in bouts of internecine fighting for the scarce resources that remain.
Nausicaä is the princess of the Valley of the Wind, a state on the periphery of what was once known as Eftal, a kingdom destroyed by the Sea of Corruption 300 years before the story begins. The leaders of the Periphery states are now vassals to the Torumekian Emperor and are obliged to send their forces to help when he decides to invade the neighboring Dorok lands. The Torumekians have a strong conventional military, but the Doroks have developed a genetically modified version of a mould from the Sea of Corruption to overwhelm the invaders. But when the Doroks introduce this mould into battle, its multiplication and mutation result in a "daikaisho" which floods across the land and draws the insects into the battle, killing as many Doroks as it does Torumekians. In doing so, the Sea of Corruption spreads across most of the Dorok nation, uprooting or killing vast numbers of civilians and rendering most of the land uninhabitable.
The Ohmu and other forest insects respond to this development and sacrifice themselves to pacify the rampant mould. However, the fact that the fungus can be manipulated and used as a weapon disturbs Nausicaä. Her trips into the forest have already taught her that the Sea of Corruption is actually purifying the polluted land. The Forest People, humans who have learned to live in harmony with the Sea of Corruption, confirm this is the purpose of the Sea of Corruption and show Nausicaä a vision of the restored Earth at the centre of the forest. Making friends of her enemies, Nausicaä travels deeper into Dorok territory to seek those responsible for manipulating the fungus, recruiting a God Warrior found in Pejite to muscle past both the Torumekian and Dorok armies.
Despite the loss of some of her companions, she is eventually able to reach Shuwa, the Holy City of the Doroks, and enters the Crypt, a giant monolithic construct from before the Seven Days of Fire. Nausicaä learns that the last scientists of the industrial era had foreseen the end of their civilisation. They created the mould and the Sea of Corruption to clean the land, altered human genes to cope with the pollution, stored their own personalities inside the Crypt, and waited for the day when they could re-emerge. However, their continual manipulation of the population is at odds with Nausicaä's belief in the natural order and has led to the cycles of violence which have plagued the world for a thousand years. She orders the God-Warrior to destroy its progenitors, giving humanity the opportunity to live or die without the benefit of the old society's technology.
Miyazaki's manga version of Nausicaä was written over a period of 12 years, with breaks taken to work on Studio Ghibli movies. Serialised in Tokuma Shoten's Animage magazine, the first chapter was published in February 1982, and the last chapter in March 1994. The manga has sold more than 10 million copies in Japan alone.
According to the "Birth of Studio Ghibli" featurette, Miyazaki only wrote the manga because Studio Ghibli film producer Toshio Suzuki was unable to get funding for a film that was not based on a manga. However, other sources have it the other way around: Miyazaki started the manga on the condition that it would never be made into a film. He later agreed to do a fifteen-minute OVA, but Animage editors eventually convinced him to make an entire feature-length film.
Miyazaki drew the manga in an A4 size, which was "much larger" than other manga. He did not use inking, using pencil instead, and drew very detailed backgrounds. Frederik L Schodt describes the panel layouts as being reminiscent of French comics rather than manga.
Miyazaki loosely based Nausicaä's character on the Greek princess of the same name from the Odyssey, as portrayed in Bernard Evslin's small dictionary of Greek mythology, translated into Japanese by Yataka Kobayashi. He was also inspired by the "Princess who loved insects", a Japanese story based in the Heian period. This story was about a young princess who loved to study insects and other creatures rather than wearing fine clothing and thinking of choosing a husband.
The film of the same name as the manga was released in 1984 and is considered a Studio Ghibli film, although it was released before the studio was established.
The manga is more complicated than the movie; the tale depicted in the movie roughly corresponds to the first two books of the manga, the point the story had reached when film production began. There are significant differences in plot, with more factions, locations and characters appearing in the manga version of the story. There is also much more background detail, and the environmentalist tone is more developed.
The manga includes a lot more philosophical content than the film. Nausicaä explores the concepts of fatalistic nihilism and the Gaia philosophy and struggles with the militarism of major powers. The series contains views of utopia and religion studies as well.
These are ISBNs for the current "Editor's Choice" edition of the English translation from VIZ Media, the first to be printed with the right-to-left order and dark brown (rather than black) ink of the original Japanese tankōbon. This version also retains the original Japanese onomatopoeia, and supplies an index with readings and translations in the back.
- Volume 1, ISBN 1-59116-408-7 (136 pages)
- Volume 2, ISBN 1-59116-350-1 (136 pages)
- Volume 3, ISBN 1-59116-410-9 (156 pages)
- Volume 4, ISBN 1-59116-352-8 (138 pages)
- Volume 5, ISBN 1-59116-412-5 (160 pages)
- Volume 6, ISBN 1-59116-487-7 (168 pages)
- Volume 7, ISBN 1-59116-355-2 (232 pages)
Older, now out of print English editions include a 7 volume "Graphic Novel" series and a 4 volume "Perfect Collection" (both printed in 'flopped' left-to-right format).
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After the release of the film adaptation, sales for the manga dramatically increased, despite the plot differences between the two works.
- Ryan, Scott. "Chapter guide". Nausicaa.net. Team Ghiblink. Retrieved 2008-12-30.
- Miyazaki, Hayao; Isao Takahata (2009). Starting Point 1979-1996. Viz Media. pp. 442–445. ISBN 978-1421505947. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- The Birth of Studio Ghibli (Documentary), Studio Ghibli Collection: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (UK DVD Release), Optimum Releasing Asia, 2005
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- Hayao Miyazaki , Nausicaä de la vallée du vent : Recueil d'aquarelles par Hayao Miyazaki, Glénat "Ghibli / NAUSICAÄ , 9 November 2006, pp. 150 ISBN 2-7234-5180-1 (French)
- Mushi mezuru himegimi in Tsutsumi Chūnagon Monogatari.
- Hayao Miyazaki's essay on Nausicaä, 1995 Viz Graphic Novel, Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind, Perfect Collection volume 1.
- Analyzing Nausicaä - Critical point of Utopia (ナウシカ解読―ユートピアの臨界), 稲葉 振一郎 , 窓社, 1996/02, ISBN 4943983871
- Introduction to religion studies - reading and understanding from "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind" (はじめての宗教学―「風の谷のナウシカ」を読み解く), 正木 晃, 春秋社, 2001/06, ISBN 4393203011
- Ingulsrud, John E.; Allen, Kate (2009). Reading Japan Cool: Patterns of Manga Literacy and Discourse. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 33–34. ISBN 0739127535.
- VIZ Media: The English manga's North American publisher.
- Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- I Understand NAUSICAÄ a Bit More than I Did a Little While Ago: a long interview of Hayao Miyazaki by Ryo Saitani, from the January 1995 issue of the Comic Box fanzine.
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