Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Manga Volume 4 Review

風の谷のナウシカ
Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind Volume 4

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind Volume 4Charuka interviews the now freed prisoners and hears of the blue clad one who apparently set them free.  Charuka intervenes when some Dorok accuse a woman from another Dorok tribe of being a collaborator. When he questions her, he learns that the Torumekians gave the woman two Dorok children to care for in lieu of a lack of children of her own. Further, when they were freed, the girl in blue gave her the expensive earrings she wore. Charuka pays well for the earrings and tells the woman to not return to her home but to go to another city and become a wet nurse. He then rides out to a Torumekian fort and thanks them for freeing his people but tells them that it changes nothing and the Dorok plan to slaughter the Torumekians.

Nausicaä  leaves to go south and prevent herself from drowning in grief while Charuka is flown out to see the Dorok fungus-weapon, which is dying out at a rapid pace after spewing its poison into the air. So toxic is this poison that it even kills the giant insectoids. However, it will take ten years for all of the toxins to clear the land. The fungus has mutated, which excites the Dorok scientist since it means a quicker turn-around time between usage of the fungus and humans reclaiming the land. Upon hearing and seeing this, Charuka pleads to the Emperor’s brother to stop the use of this weapon, but is denied as an aircraft is loaded with “fungus bombs,” which despite being kept in a freezer, appear to be moving.

While all this has been going on, Mito and company have been on Yupa’s trail and discover the mining town around the space ship where they find Kui being defended by the innkeeper’s daughter from being sold by her father since they were paid well to keep the horseclaw. She shows Mito that Kui has laid an egg and Mito wonders if something happened to Kai.

At that moment, Yupa, Asbel, and Ketcha are led by the forest dwellers under the Sea of Corruption through a massive, but abandoned hebikera egg bed, where the forest people state that all of the giant insectoids laid massive numbers of eggs before heading south. The group enters the ruined city of Eftal, which had been destroyed in the daikaisho in the past. The jungle has already turned everything into petrified sand, which could easily collapse. There are still lingering toxins in the air, which the forest people speculate will be cleared in 200-years. When Yupa asks if any lands have completed the purification cycle in the thousand years since the Seven Days of Fire. The forest people are not allowed to speak of this but do say that the “Blue Clad One” led them to the forest and they are the descendants of the people of Eftal.

The group arrives at a river where they are met by forest people Ceraine and Selm and another, who’d gone ahead to get a boat.  They instruct Yupa to follow the river as it will eventually meet the roof of the cavity they are in and they will be free of the toxic air in a day and a half.

Meanwhile, Mito and company are in the gunship still looking for Yupa when they encounter a Dorok fleet, one of which is carrying the God Warrior.  Because of the possibility of horrible consequences, Mito attacks, firing his two missiles at the God Warrior.  It reacts somewhat but otherwise appears undamaged by the attack. However, they pay for their attack when the Dorok heavily damage the gunship.

Their battle is heard by Yupa and company, who have emerged from the jungle.  Ketcha determines the passing fleet way overhead is from her people, but they do not stop. The gunship arrives and crashes, leading Ketcha to remember that she’s an enemy in this land. As Mito and his copilot meet and greet Yupa and Asbel, Ketcha is depressed. Mito and copilot attempt to speak with Ketcha, who becomes defensive and brandishes a knife. However, Yupa intervenes and the two old men express their thanks for Ketcha’s helping Nausicaä. They set up camp under the gunship where Asbel does some repairs to get them to another town in order to get enough repairs to return them to the Valley. However, when the discussion turns to the God Warrior, it is decided to follow Kushana’s army and find Nausicaä.

Kushana’s craft detects a scout, winged insectoid and another Torumekian warship. The main insectoid force is rapidly approaching from the rear, below the altitude that Kurotowa is flying at, but he and Kushana are horrified to see the other Torumekian plan has fired on the insectoid. That brings the others swarming and they begin destroying the plane despite some of their own dying. The insectoids also go after Kushana’s plane, forcing Kurotowa to try to outrun them.. With their increased speed, they will arrive in advance of the insectoids, but Kushana doesn’t want to go just to there just to steal planes to save her army, but rather warn the the Torumekian’s there of the danger even though they aren’t Kushana’s forces.

They make it to the Torumekian camp and fire warning flairs before landing and dispatching their men to take over the convoy planes on the ground.  One plane, with Kushana’s brother on board, crashes into her plane, taking the nose of the craft off and seriously injuring Kurotowa. She confronts her brother, who takes opportunity to insult Kushana’s mother to anger Kushana, and forces the terribly injured Kurotowa to pretend to betray Kushana while giving the warning about the giant inscetoid swarm rapidly approaching. The prince gets confirmation of this and is going to flee in his craft but Kurotowa, still strapped in the pilots seat of his damaged craft, crashes again into the prince’s craft. It isn’t enough and the prince’s craft takes off while Kushana races to rescue Kurotowa. She observes the insectoids take down her brother’s craft and destroy it while she and her surviving men flee the angry swarms.

Taking cover as the insectoids slaughter the Torumekian forces, Kushana recalls her final meeting with her insane mother, who clutches a doll, believing it to be her daughter Kushana. The woman thinks Kushana is someone trying to take her daughter but Kushana says she goes to fight those who’ve tormented her and her daughter. Kushana remembers being a young teen when the new emperor had sent poison to remove Kushana as a threat to him but her mother, the empress, took the poison for Kushana, leading to her insanity now. Kushana finds herself smiling at the notion of the insectoids killing one of her brothers and despite the slaughter all around them, she finds herself singing, surprising the injured Kurotowa.

Elsewhere, Nausicaä finds an oasis of normality in the middle of the desert, complete with trees, plants, and fresh water. Exploring, she finds an ancient temple where inside, evidence of someone still worshiping the gods therein is seen. She pays her respects and is telepathically contacted by a group of people but only sees a a kid in the doorway. Seeing she’s not a threat, the kid puts away a blowgun and leads Nausicaä to a crypt-like chamber, where a group of ancient, withered men sit. After they examine her, the boy, Chikuku, thinks Nausicaä must be an angel like the one in the prophecy because she wears blue and rode a mehve (wings).

The ancients tell Nausicaä of the Dorok had originally sealed in the holy city of Shuwa, the secrets of the old world prior to the Seven Days of Fire but the current Holy Emperor had unsealed those secrets to use them. As such, the ancients speak of the coming daikaisho, which troubles Nausicaä since it also means the death of everything in the world as it undergoes purification. Their conversation is interrupted when Nausicaä senses one of the elongated insectoids is approaching and it has been injured. She and Chikuku watch as it crashes into the water and dies. Flocks of fleeing birds appear and Nausicaä senses the approaching insectoid swarm. She races back to warn the ancients, but they are now corpses save for one with a final message for her before he dies.

Donning her mask, she gets Chikuku, who’s also masked up, and they flee on the mehve. As they fly up, Nausicaä discovers the insectoids are attacking a lone Dorok battleship in the air, which is dumping toxins into the air on purpose. Flying around, she sees the warrior-monks inside and that there is a slime mold inside which the Dorok are attempting to destroy as the insectoids attempt to destroy their plane. Charuka pleads with the Emperor’s brother to flee, but the Emperor’s brother is not fazed even when he learns that the mold has consumed the scientist that created it.

The Emperor’s brother senses Nausicaä and attempts to find he ras she’s landed on the Dorok ship. However, he cannot see her because she is not afraid and knows her danger if she shows fear. It takes great effort, but he finally manages to see her face.  However, her pity for him causes his spirit form great damage, and he’s further damaged when an insectoid attacks followed by a blowdart from Chikuku. His spirit returns to his body and as Charuka gets him into the escape craft so that he can be taking to Shuwa.  Charuka prepares to destroy the main plane in fire to kill the mold and is joined by Nausicaä, who helps him fly the craft to an area for self destruction.

Setting fire to the craft, Nausicaä grabs Charuka to flee as the surviving mold attempts to grab them. Despite the destruction of the plane, some of the mold survives and forms itself into a parachute to soft-land. The extra weight of Charuka causes the mehve to crash as the insectoid swarms mass-attack the mold.  Charuka’s arm gets broken, so Nausicaä makes a splint and has Chikuku finish up while she investigates the mold, which is slaughtering insectoids at a massive rate. However, before she can take off, she passes out and Charuka finds himself helping her despite the fact that she is the enemy of the Emperor’s brother, Miralupa. He also comes to understand that Chikuku is a telepath and the boy is how he has been able to communicate with Nausicaä.

Charuka manages to signal a Dorok flying jar and gets a rescue ship to land.  As Nausicaä gets the treatment she needs, the Dorok scientist investigate and are soon attacked by the mold, which consumes them and all of the dead, giant insectoids around, causing it to grow in size. As it eats, it continues to grow and spread across large regions of land. The surviving scientist are excited by this development and not happy when Charuka demands they discover a counter agent to the mold. Charuka returns to Nausicaä and Chikuku, who are eating now that Nausicaä has recovered, and through Chikuku, Charuka communicates with Nausicaä, revealing he has her earrings and returning them to her. When Nausicaä inquires about the mold, Charuka wants her to go but he is able to see in her mind that the Ohmu are on their way. He refuses to believe that this is the infidel prophecy of the daikaisho coming to pass.

Charuka decides they’ll incinerate the mold but learns that all of the weapon fungus spores mutated into mold and have been spewing toxins and consuming Dorok troops, causing mass chaos. As Charuka realizes that their entire war effort is about to collapse, Nausicaä senses something keenly observing them. Racing to a door of the plane and looking out, she looks for a moment before yelling an order to gain altitude quick. Charuka gives the order and the Dorok ship barely escapes being grabbed and pulled down by the mold.

Charuka leads Nausicaä to the cold storage room where two large “bomb” containers sit with the artificial fungus spores in them. The scientist are horrified that Nausicaä is there but elated that the fungus is mutating within the containers and they are analyzing it in the lab. Realizing the danger they are in, Nausicaä and Charuka race out of cold storage with Nausicaä arriving at the lab first. The scientist attempt to defend their research but Nausicaä  won’t be dissuaded, even as the mold breaks free of the container and attempts to consume her. She manages to toss it overboard just in time and the small mold is met by the massive mold on the ground and absorbed. Charuka orders all remaining spores jettisoned as they’ll mutate as well.  With that, he has his ship race forward to stay ahead of the mold on the ground to save the Dorok army and people.

Thoughts/Review:

Have I mentioned how packed the Nausicaä manga is?  *lol*  Man, this thing has a lot of stuff going on, all very interesting.

While a purely evil villain has its pluses, I find I am liking Miyazaki-sensei’s approach to villains in this manga.  For example, he has the Torumekians do bad things, but then Kushana, Kurotowa, and company are the honorable ones.  Kushana may have a personal vendetta against her family, but her vendetta is painted as a righteous cause, which it is in the very classical sense of storytelling.  Miyazaki-sensei also has the Dorok portrayed as villains but within their ranks, there has been the “Holy One,” who aided Nausicaä, Ketcha, who aided Nausicaä, and now Charuka, who was the “Reverend One” and who also is helping Nausicaä. Chikuku is also Dorok from what I can tell.  Because Miyazaki-sensei does this, it gives the different people’s human faces, all with understandable goals.

Speaking of Kushana, one wonders how she survived with her life always under threat since her father apparently saw her as a threat to him but apparently did not see her brothers in the same light. I get the feeling that Kushana’s mother may not be the same as her brothers based on the Viz adaptation.  The wording is such that the prince speaks of Kushana’s mother as “that woman,” suggesting she’s not his mother.  Kushana has no problems identifying “that woman” as her mother and her mother is clearly Kushana’s weak point. It would make sense that the Emperor would attempt to kill Kushana if she were of another woman and thus a a rival to his sons.

Kurotowa gets to be a hero here. Man, does he take a massive beating for it though.  I hope he survives in the next volume because he’s in bad shape now and it seems that he and Kushana are all that’s left of her small force after the insectoid attack.  Still, their relationship is pretty good since Kurotowa risked himself to save her and she for him. While all Kushana’s men would do the same and she for them, I kinda like the idea of Kurotowa becoming her husband when all is said and done.

It was nice having Mito and his copilot reunited with Yupa.  The moment also allowed Miyazaki-sensei to remind the audience that Ketcha is not part of the Valley people, nor is she Pejite like Asbel. Indeed, she would be seen as an enemy if they went to a city.  I’m glad Miyazaki-sensei didn’t make too much of it and had Ketcha stay with the group even though she’s depressed about things.

Finally, there’s Nausicaä, who continues winning hearts and minds. That one oasis she found was rather odd though, with the corpse-like ancients already in a crypt and apparently kept alive through mystical means. Why Chikuku would be the sole, truly living person there is more of a mystery.  He’s obviously a powerful telepath and trusted by these ancients but is there more to him or is he a way for Miyazaki-sensei to allow Nausicaä to communicate with others via his telepathy?

On the Viz side, I hadn’t mentioned this before, but because of the time from which this manga was originally produced in English, Viz left in the Japanese sound effects but rather than translate them onscreen (which is my preference), they just have them translated in an extra at the end of the manga. I think today, Viz just scrubs their manga of Japanese sound effects for English ones, even at the cost of the art (not my preference either). Oh well.

There’s no doubt that Miyazaki-sensei has woven a very interesting tale. It really surprises me that his studio didn’t turn his complete manga story into a TV series. I think it would be quite good.  I look forward to the next volume.

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3 Responses to “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Manga Volume 4 Review”

  1. Turtle says:

    He loathe to make his manga into TV series. If you look at my comment at earlier Nausicaa review, you will find links to his interview.

  2. Pillslanger says:

    I think turning the manga into an anime was discussed in the Disney release special features in a feature from when the movie was being produced. I’m thinking Turtle is right, but I believe money was also an issue. The movie was Studio Ghibli’s first release and (from what I remember) the movie was almost scrapped several times due to budget and time constraints.

    I’m enjoying these reviews, I’ve read the manga cover to cover 3 or 4 times, but I still enjoy visiting the story again.

  3. AstroNerdBoy says:

    He loathe to make his manga into TV series.

    That’s unfortunate. I think it would make a great late-night anime series (so as not to have to edit it down).

    If you look at my comment at earlier Nausicaa review, you will find links to his interview.

    Let me look back. I was pretty sure I read everything but maybe I missed something. Its possible. ^_^;;;

    I think turning the manga into an anime was discussed in the Disney release special features in a feature from when the movie was being produced. I’m thinking Turtle is right, but I believe money was also an issue. The movie was Studio Ghibli’s first release and (from what I remember) the movie was almost scrapped several times due to budget and time constraints.

    Hmmmm…I must have missed that as well. ^_^;;;

    I’m enjoying these reviews, I’ve read the manga cover to cover 3 or 4 times, but I still enjoy visiting the story again.

    It has been very good so far. ^_^

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