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 upping 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 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. ~
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.
“In a few short centuries, industrial civilization had spread from the western fringes of Eurasia to sprawl across the face of the planet. Plundering the soil of its riches, fouling the air, and remolding life-forms at will, this gargantuan industrial society had already peaked a thousand years after its foundation: Ahead lay abrupt and violent decline. The cities burned, welling up as clouds of poison in the war remembered as the seven days of fire. The complex and sophisticated technological superstructure was lost; almost all the surface of the earth was transformed into a sterile wasteland. Industrial civilization was never rebuilt as mankind lived on through the long twilight years…” – Introduction, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind