Welcome to the conclusion of Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Exiting the hidden garden, Nausicaä realizes that Ohma has gone on by itself to Shuwa. A group of wormhandlers track her down and swears fealty to their new guardian deity. Surrounded by loyal subjects willing to do her bidding, Nausicaä realizes that she is no different than the first Dorok emperor, who centuries before went off to Shuwa to “save humanity.”
Welcome to the last two entries of The Nausicaä Project. All the major themes discussed in past entries return in force in the complex, unexpected, and stunning conclusion at the end of this seventh and final volume: Purity and corruption, nature and humanity, revenge and redemption, meaning and nihilism, life and death. You know, all the light and fluffy stuff. Whew. Let’s get started.
The story resumes in Tolas, the Torumekian capital. Kushana’s father, the Vai Emperor, sits listening to the daily report of failing crops, dying children, and decaying infrastructure. He knows that his kingdom is dying, much like most of the human world. He meets with his two remaining sons returning from the war front and is furious at the enormous casualties incurred during the campaign. Desiring now more than ever to secure the secrets residing in the Crypt of Shuwa, he relegates the two princes to the borderlands and heads off to mount a direct assault on the Dorok capital.
“This girl had the unprecedented power to reach the shore of that abyss. Now she stands alone on that beach that has been deserted by the Ohmu. Whether she returns or not is up to her.” (Selm, Hardcover Edition, Vol. 2, p. 32) Welcome to part six of the Nausicaä saga. I had originally intended to make it a seven-part series, but as I reread the last two volumes, there is simply too much material to condense down. As a result, I’m going to expand out the project into a ten-parter. For newcomers who wish to follow along from the beginning, you can catch up here with The Nausicaä Project. With that out of the way, let’s resume the adventure!
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.
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.
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.