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"Nausicaä" has been the lifework of Miyazaki. For 13 years (with some breaks) he wrote monthly installments of this complicated and thought-provoking manga (or "graphic novel") about a princess who struggles to live in the world filled with ecological disasters, war, hatred and anger. By the time he finished he had tackled some of the most difficult themes in literature: the conflicts between Nature and Man, war and peace, hope and despair, and the meaning of life and death. It's truly a great work of art and thought.
Depicting a world so different from ours, he drew intricate and detailed artwork of a strangely beautiful forest and creatures who inhabit it, of strange looking machines such as flying gunships, and of people and their lives which seem to be set in the Medieval Era rather than in the distant future. Yet, the issues which Nausicaä faced during her journey are the very issues we are facing today. The ending of this manga is likely to surprise you and make you think.
"Nausicaä" has been highly acclaimed and is very popular in Japan. In 1994, Miyazaki received the Japan Manga Artists' Association Award. "Nausicaä" sold more than 10 million copies total in Japan alone.
One thousand years after the "Seven Days of Fire", an apocolyptic war which destroyed modern human civilization and the world's ecology, the earth is covered by the "Sea of Corruption", a vast forest of fungi and plants that give off poisonous miasma (gas) and is inhabited by large deadly insects. Life in this world is most difficult for humans, but humans are still fighting over the small portions of inhabitable lands left to them around the edges of the Sea of Corruption. A war is about to break out between the Kingdom of Torumekia and the Dorok Empire, and Nausicaä, the princess of a small country, the Valley of Wind, now has to leave the Valley to join the Torumekian army, which is about to invade the Dorok Empire.
Although she is a skilled warrior, she hates killing, and is torn between the duty as a chieftain of her people and her love for every living creature, including Ohmu, the huge insects who protect the forest. Nausicaä's true desire is to solve the mystery of the Sea of Corruption, and find the "Blue Pure Land", a place where people can live without being threatened by the poison from the Sea of Corruption.
Through her desperate attempt to prevent anyone from being killed, she stumbles onto the secret of the Sea of Corruption. But this is just the beginning of her long, hard journey. In the end, she has to face the true secret of the world in which she lives and make a very difficult decision about the ultimate fate of the entire world.
A synopsis of the manga up to the volume five is available.
Also, see Time, Places and Characters.
See the earliest published mention of Nausicaä.
Visit the Nausicaä Manga Comparison page to see some changes Miyazaki made for the Collected Volumes. Spoiler Warning!
A guide matching Animage issues to the Collected Volumes
All versions are beautifully translated by Studio Proteus, and later by Matt Thorn.
To know more about how "Nausicaä" was translated into English, read this interesting article by Toren Smith (Studio Proteus) at the Comic Box site.
"Nausicaä" has been translated into English, Chinese, Italian, French, and several other languages. For more information and sample pages from these versions, please visit the Nausicaä around the World page.
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The artwork and translations of published material are reproduced here only for the purpose of encouraging interest in, and discussion about, the works of Miyazaki.
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