Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Manga Volume 3 Review

風の谷のナウシカ
Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind Volume 3

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SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind Volume 3The Holy One’s young girl aide, Ketcha, mourns the loss of the Holy One and cries herself to sleep as Yupa flies the aircraft they along with Asbel are on. Yupa and Asbel talk and Asbel realizes Yupa is the teacher Nausicaä had spoken of, though Yupa now thinks it is Nausicaä who is teaching him. Asbel tells of how his people found the God Warrior deep underground and that it was just a shell with no organism inside. They continued to excavate the unit, hoping to find an engine or two for salvage but when they found the God Warrior’s control box, they used the control stone to see what it would do. Initially, nothing happened and they assumed all to be well, but several days later, the God Warrior was growing flesh inside of the armored shell-skeleton. Despite their attempts to stop it and destroy the bio-weapon, it was too late to prevent the God Warrior from growing.  Now, Yupa understands why the Vai Emperor attacked Pejitei. Asbel states that he threw the control stone into the Sea of Decay forest where it will never be found.

Their plane emerges from a cloud bank and immediately encounters a large Dorok warship which shoots them down.

Elsewhere, Nausicaä has managed to accurately plot their location and Kurotowa reports this to Princess Kushana. His apparent eagerness to get to her brother’s forces causes her to pull a gun on him and ask him what his real mission is since she suspects he’s working for her brothers and that Kurotowa is leading them into a trap but needs to know the location of the God Warrior’s control stone first. Kurotowa confesses, stating that it had been assumed that Kushana would disobey orders and angrily return home instead of obeying orders despite her crippled forces. Kurotowa tells her he believes she’s planning to hook up with her 3rd army and then use them to take over the empire, something that makes Kushana smile and say she really will have to kill Kurotowa.

Kurotowa has no interest in dying and simply wants to live out his life until he can retire in peace. As such, he surrenders his sidearm without being asked and tells Kushana of his own dilemma on how he’d survive this assignment. As such, he offers her his services as he believes he’d be of more use to her than her noble aides. Kushana has one final question for him about who gave him his orders, to which he responds that it was her father, the Emperor. The news surprises her and she dismisses Kurotowa, realizing that her father has revealed his true colors and will have to have the reigns of power torn from him.

Nausicaä smells smoke coming from a distance, which ends up being a small village on fire. Their plane is intercepted by two Torumekian craft, causing Kurotowa to make the decision to attack them and thus officially have Kushana’s forces separate from the Torumekian army. After destroying one of the craft, Nausicaä leaves in her mehve to investigate the village and finds death everywhere, but not from the Torumekians. Instead, it is the poison of the Sea of Decay even though they are no where near that jungle.

With the other Torumekian plane fleeing, Kushana orders their plane to land as Nausicaä continues to investigate, finding where people sealed themselves up to try to escape the poison air, only to die of suffocation. She finds two infants that survived and emerges with them, feeding them as best as she can. When Nausicaä hears the report of death at the villages well, she leaves the infants to investigate the well and under the village at the their water source, she finds some troops battling a giant, winged insectoid which had built a nest here. She gets the men to safety but is eaten by the bug, only to be spat out because it recognized the Ohmu blood which dyed her outfit blue.

Nausicaä leaves and is found by Kurotowa, who realizes this whole area is about to become a nasty, toxic forest. Kushana’s troop board their aircraft and take off, infants and wounded soldier in tow. The soldier has breathed the toxic air under the village and is coughing up blood. Nausicaä uses her mouth to remove the poison from the soldier, saving his life. She comforts the young soldier and wins the hearts of the other soldiers there, though Kurotowa finds himself annoyed.

Their plane encounters a Dorok fleet and as they flee, Nausicaä realizes there is something very wrong and has the pilot attempt to gain altitude. The Dorok are using the toxic air to poison the Torumekians by planting special fungus, which even kill Sea of Decay insectoids. The plane is under heavy attack and does what it can, dropping down to where a Dorok army is laying siege to a fort where Kushana’s 2nd Regiment of 3rd Army is. She’s angry that her men are being slaughtered and improperly used since they are cavalry men. She reveals herself to her men, who rally despite being slaughtered.

A group of them are trying to escape and attempt to raid a Dorok farmhouse for supplies. However, Nausicaä arrives with the infants and gives them to the family at the farm while revealing to the soldiers that Kushana has returned. They return with Nausicaä and report to Kushana, telling her everything that has transpired and the Dorok’s use of toxic air and plants as a weapon.

Elsewhere, a group of wormhandlers working for the Dorok find Yupa’s crashed plane, which is now covered in toxic fungus and plants, but they flee when forest dwellers arrive.  The forest dwellers take Yupa, Asbel, and Ketcha away and have them in a bubble-tent. Ketcha and Asbel are amazed when they wake up and the still resting Yupa explains the legend of the forest people. A boy arrives with insectoid eggs that he’s been allowed to gather for food and hands them to his guest.  He has them rest in this bubble of clean air while he and his people investigate further the massive movement of Ohmu and other insectoids.

At the besieged Torumekian fort, General Bolts plans to have all of Kushana’s men butchered by the Dorok when they finally attack. The Dorok Emperor’s brother is in a regeneration bath when Kushana’s plane arrives and the blue-clad girl of rumor and legend is spotted by one of the religious leaders. The Reverend opens fire on the plane and the spot where it lands, which results in the loss of the craft and the prevention of General Bolts being able to fly to safety. Kushana emerges from the wreckage and her troops rally to her as she confronts Bolts. The men ignore his demands that she be arrested and she does not strip him of rank but does expect him to fight just the same even if his objective is different than hers. She then calls for a meeting of her commanding officers.

Nausicaä again has a near astral encounter with the Dorok Emperor’s brother, who cannot find her despite his desperate attempts to do so. Once again safe, Nausicaä discovers a massive number of Dorok women and children held prisoners to become Torumekian slaves. She’s repulsed by this and heads off to see Kushana, who has just held a meeting with her commanders and laid out her battle strategy.  Kushana is amused that Nausicaä would demand the release of slaves and as Nausicaä helps her into her battle armor, Kushana says that she would consider such a request from a comrade-in-arms.  As such, Kushana wants Nausicaä to ride with her into battle. Nausicaä reluctantly agrees and Kushana writes the order to free the slaves as her 2000 troops are more important to her than slaves.

Once Nausicaä  is suited up and mounted on her horseclaw Kai, the Emperor’s brother senses Nausicaä is coming for them and panics. Kushana has her engineers blow a hole in one of the fort’s walls and her cavalry escape, avoiding the Dorok trenches before they perform a lightning attack on the Dorok, charging through enemy lines to destroy every siege weapon of the Dorok. The Reverend One knows Nausicaä is there and leads a force to try to kill her. He’s frustrated when she eludes them but has superior force numbers and attempts to surround Kushana’s cavalry. Nausicaä fires a shrieking shell which causes the Dorok cavalry of the Reverend One to panic.

Nausicaä says that now that she has Kushana’s orders to free the slaves, she’ll provide cover and Kushana takes it, ordering her men to break through and return to the fort. However, a group of men want to remain behind and support Nausicaä so that she too can escape and Kushana agrees. Nausicaä is now fleeing the Reverend One’s forces when her escorts arrive and use their bodies as human shields to protect her.  One by one they die for her and tell her to keep riding no matter what. The Reverend One is frustrated at Nausicaä’s apparent use of troops as human shields and despite the fact that they’ve killed them all, they can’t nail Nausicaä, who’s sword skills come into play as she slices her way free.

The Reverend One orders her horseclaw be shot and it goes down, allowing them to catch her as she mourns the dying beast. However, Kai swipes with a claw and with Nausicaä back on his back, the resulting chaos of a mortally wounded horseclaw suddenly coming back to life allows them to escape.  The Reverend One is stunned at this and at how fast Kai runs now, wondering if what just happened is part of her powers or just sheer luck.

Kushana’s forces make it back safely but the men want to keep the gates open for Nausicaä and her escorts. Kushana agrees to this but only Nausicaä returns.  Once through the gates, Kai dies as the gates are closed.  The other men tell the mourning Nausicaä that her horseclaw is one cavalry men dream of and that its loss and the loss of her escorts weren’t her fault as they willingly gave their lives for her. Kushana orders that Kai not be used as provisions but rather receive a full military burial.

The Reverend One reports his failure to the Emperor’s brother, who has no choice but to demote Charuka because of military law, but needs him because he’s the only one with experience fighting Nausicaä. With planting season nearly hear, the Emperor’s brother knows they have to hurry to defeat the Torumekians before the Dorok armies start deserting to return to their farms.  As such, the Emperor’s brother plans to use forest insectoids in their fight which Charuka begs not be done.  Before anything further can be said, a scout reports in that all of the Dorok prisoners are now leaving the fort through the breach in the walls.

Thoughts/Review:

I know I’ve said this before and I’ll probably say this again, but man is this manga densely packed with stuff. It makes me realize how much regular manga is filled with fluff to pad it out. ^_^;

Finally, we learn the Dorok girl’s name — Ketcha. I didn’t notice the name mentioned before and I know that Japanese writers sometimes don’t feel it to be very important to reveal the name of a character right away.  I come from another school which states that characters should be named as soon as possible unless there is some specific story reason to not reveal their name.  Because Ketcha is with Asbel and Yupa, it is easy to forget that she’s a Dorokian citizen. One can see how she is adapting to her circumstance after mourning the loss of the Holy One. For some reason, I find myself fascinated by her, I think because she was not an anime character.

Which reminds me, I would never have suspected that there is a tribe of humans living in the Sea of Decay and coexisting with the insectoids.  I know that’s a dream-fantasy of some folks to live in perfect harmony like that, but it reminded me of that dopey couple in 2003 where they guy, Timothy Treadwell, fancied himself some kind of eco warrior had had some bear fetish whereby he wrongly thought he could commune with them.  He and his girlfriend learned the hard way that this was a terrible mistake when they were slaughtered and eaten by a brown bear in Alaska.  Now, I know the insectoids in this manga actually are intelligent so it isn’t quite the same, but I just felt that Miyazaki-sensei’s thought behind having people “living with the critters” was similar in nature.

Nausicaä proves that her charming skills go beyond her own village and the giant insectoids, but also with the Torumekians as well.  There’s Princess Kushana, who respects Nausicaä’s skills and fighting abilities.  In exchange for fighting at her side, Kushana allows Nausicaä to get her wish to have to Dorok prisoner-slaves to be set free.  Heck, Kushana even writes the orders for their release before Nausicaä had even done anything, knowing that Nausicaä would get her hands bloodied to save those slaves because honor demanded no less.  Kurotowa even goes after her when he thinks she’s in trouble. Kushana’s cavalrymen respect her prowess in battle so much that quite a few of them give up their lives to save hers.  I have to say that I liked that a lot.

It was touching how Kai spent his last bit of energy to get Nausicaä to safety. I liked how Kushana gave order that the beast should be given a burial rather than be butchered for food, which her troops could have used.

Kushana continues to impress as well.  She’s so much more magnificent in the manga than she even dreamed of being in the anime. She’d already shown how much she cared about her troops, but here, we get further examples of how her troops love her and how much she loves them.  As she told Nausicaä, her 2000 men were way more important than the Dorok prisoners whom would all be turned into slaves. Her forcing the coward General Bolts to fight at the front with her was pretty impressive. I looked, but I never noticed him again.  I’m not sure if Miyazaki-sensei forgot about him or just decided to drop him.

Kurotowa is now firmly established as Kushana’s loyal aide, something I attribute to her more than him. Sure, he had self-interest in switching to working for her rather than the Emperor as he’s betting on Kushana becoming the Empress of Torumekia.  Kurotowa has watched her closely and seen the loyalty she inspires in her men and her own fierce loyalty to them.  Thus for him, it is not a hard choice to switch sides, especially when she calls him out on it. I find I like their relationship and depending on how things go, who know, he might become her consort or better.  No sign of that now though.

It was interesting to see how the God Warrior came to life in the manga. Asbel’s people in the anime were hoping to use it as their own war machine against the Torumekians in the anime but here, they are simply looking for engines that had been buried. One thing that has come through is that the engines used to power the planes and such are highly prized and more valuable than gold.  That aside, Asbel’s people were simply curious in the manga and they paid for that curiosity when the God Warrior began forming and then the Torumekians slaughtered them for the bio-mech unit. It will be interesting to see how the God Warrior is used here since it hasn’t been used yet like it was in the anime.

I was incorrect in my perception that the one after Nausicaä in the previous volume was the Dorok Emperor. Instead, it is his brother, who has a lot of supernatural powers and is doing everything he can to be immortal (or so it seems to me).  His military strategy of cutting off his country’s nose to spite their face is rather insane.  Well, that may not be an accurate analogy as he’s rather desperate to purge their lands of Torumekian troops before planting season.

Anyway, there was just a ton of stuff going on here, so much so that I had to read the manga volume several times to make sure I got it all.  Now, I can move onto volume 4 and see what happens next.  I’m glad Viz has put the manga back in print. ^_^

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2 Responses to “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Manga Volume 3 Review”

  1. Turtle says:

    General Bolt’s died when Dorok siege gun fired point blank at the Torumekian heavy cavalry. You can see it in one panel.

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I know the panel of which you speak. When I get back home, I have to try to remember to look again.

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