“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!
“But this is a period in which everyone wants to read about ‘heroes’ who are consummately normal people. If they’re not, the readers don’t believe in them. I don’t like this. That’s how things are these days, but frankly speaking, I dislike it. Making heroes who are just like you or everyone else around you. I wanted to create a character who was not like that.” – Hayao Miyazaki, Interview I remember laughing aloud while reading this particular tidbit; the blunt candor of a master not afraid to speak his mind is always refreshing. Have we really grown to appreciate average joes over saints? I can see how ordinary characters can be more relatable and how great heroes and heroines can be reduced to bland and remote archetypes. But I see that as an issue of characterization, not of character. Most of my favourite protagonists start and finish their journeys as extraordinary people, yet they are no less flawed, complex, or fascinating than any “consummate normal”. In this entry, I’d like to take a look at …
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.
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. ~
Stumbling onto the animated version of Flight of the Hummingbird, by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas. While writing my essay on The Flight of the Hummingbird several months ago, I had asked my partner to read over the piece and give her thoughts. She liked my interpretation that the ultimate outcome depends on the motivations of the hummingbird. She went further to provide another perspective: Is Dukdukdiya really doing all she can?
As visitors to a foreign land and culture, we were swept away by what Nepal had to offer: Sweeping vistas, delicious fresh food, welcoming people, fascinating traditions. But once in a while, we encountered events that compel us to examine the experience presented to us not merely as temporary tourists, but as global citizens. They allowed us the opportunity to set aside our romantic notions of travel and contemplate our personal impacts on the local land and people. These moments occasionally left us feeling conflicted, but we ultimately welcomed them, for exploring the beautiful and the terrible provided a richer and more rounded representation of our time in Nepal. Our journey reminded us about the importance of being open and appreciative towards a different way and pace of life, but it also taught us that we must also exercise critical thinking and honest self-reflection while examining these experiences.
It may seem excessive to devote an entire write-up to a single character, but I believe Aang, the chief protagonist of Avatar: The Last Airbender, warrants such an exploration. In an age of brooding, melodramatic, and angst-filled heroes, Aang provides a refreshing counterexample to what it means to be an emotionally intelligent, internally resilient, and ethically principled individual. His role as the outsider to a war-torn world, coupled with his unique upbringing and temperament, makes his character growth throughout Avatar fascinating to watch.