I remember reading through the third volume of Nausicaä for the first time and thinking to myself: This is starting to get good. Freed from the constraints of the film format, Miyazaki plunges deep into the chaos of the Dorok/Torumekian War, considerably ratcheting up the scale, stakes, and tension of the story before capping it off with a masterfully crafted battle. The two main female characters seize control of their own destinies: Kushana emerges from the background to exert her considerable presence, while Nausicaä is forced to pit her ideals against real world situations. Let’s get started.
A friend recently introduced me to Brené Brown’s TEDx talk on vulnerability. If you haven’t seen it, check it out – there’s a reason why it went viral. Brown is an excellent speaker, or as she likes to call herself, a researcher/storyteller. There are great nuggets scattered throughout the talk: A story is just data with a soul, that numbing ourselves from the bad also numbs us from the good, that we constantly fear we are not worthy of love, belonging, and connection. What makes her talk especially powerful is that Brown doesn’t simply lecture. She reaches deep inside herself to share something shameful, uncomfortable, and genuine with a group of strangers. She demonstrates being vulnerable. Brown argues that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. Anyone can boast about exploits and accomplishments, but to share one’s shortcomings honestly for the purposes of self-improvement demands true courage. As I wrote in the piece Tao Today: A Sage’s Take on Modern Society, being vulnerable is essential for cultivating empathy in others. Only when we acknowledge …
Hitching a ride on low air currents, Nausicaä and Asbel escape the Sea of Corruption, only to find themselves captured by a Dorok ship of the Mani Tribe. Telepathically determining that they are not Torumekians, the head priest allows them to stay aboard as guests. Ketcha, an aid to the elder, reveals that this is a refugee ship: The Torumekians have ransacked their tribe’s homeland.
The story begins with Nausicaä, princess of the Valley of the Wind. A pilot, scientist, and explorer that can communicate telepathically with other living creatures, Nausicaä finds serenity and beauty within the Sea of Corruption. Humans cannot venture into this vast fungal forest without masks due to a deadly miasma produced by the resident flora. During an excursion, Nausicaä encounters her mentor Yupa returning home from distant lands. He offers her a small creature that he saved from hungry insects of the forest, a fox-squirrel Nausicaä names Teto.