風の谷のナウシカ (ABC) - Week 23 (End)

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Week 23

Start Date: Dec 09
Previous Part: Week 22


Week Volume Start Date End Phrase End Page Page Count
Week 23 7 Dec 09 おわり 223 (end) 44

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Welp, I just went and finished it in one sitting. Classic Miyazaki ending, though with the line “we must live” drifting off into the ending credits. I got stuff I want to say, but it’s getting close to midnight here, so I might take some time to put my thoughts in order before writing my essay. Just one question to kick the conversation off, though:

Page 222: Kushana refuses to take the throne, stating that Torumekia already has a new king. Who? (The English version muddles matters some, because the translator mistook 持 for 待 and translated it as “I already await a new king”, and in some ways that makes more sense with the epilogue stating that Torumekia remains without a king to this day.)


Nausicaa? Her irresistible power draws all kinds of people towards her. Even Kushana’s evil father died for Nausicaa’s sake. Kushana wanted to pave a path for her but, of course, Nausicaa is not interested in ruling.


This part confused me more:


What does it signify? A scene that takes place ten or twenty years later is needed for understanding. We need volume 8, Miyazaki-san :stuck_out_tongue:


Yeah, but don’t forget that 王道 has a figurative meaning rather than the literal one implied by the kanji.:slightly_smiling_face:

For a mundane answer, the Ohmu and the Crypt were both created by the scientists of the Old World, so it’s not entirely surprising they’d be filled with the same sort of juices, but yeah, there’s all manner of symbolism going on here too. I don’t disagree with your call for a continuation - if only because I just want to see Nausicaä go home. What’s she doing taking care of Chikuku? She’s got Charuka for that - she needs to go and take her father’s place as chieftan over her own people. Especially considering they’ve lost the gunship, which was stated in volume one to be the only thing that was keeping them independent (though to be fair, their main threat was probably either Torumekia or the Doroks, and neither of them are really in the world-conquering business any more). I mean, maybe someone needs to stand behind Charuka and whack him with a big stick whenever he starts to fall back into old patterns, but yeah.


Nausicaa and Selm will keep it as a secret because otherwise people will figure out that they are just foot soldiers in someone else’s battle. Is it really that simple? I am a pessimist. I think Ohmu is the plan B of those scientists. There will be more hardships for the people living in that universe.

Figuratively, I find this kingless country (ruled by the king regent) system hollow. It is just a statement: “Monarchy is bad.” Miyazaki gets rid of the problem and does not try to solve it. Who can be a ruler? How do you choose them? Who will choose them? Do the people really need one? … I know it is not the focus of the story but it annoys me as it is.


Are you Tyrion Lannister? You gonna pick the nigh-immortal psychic just because he happens to be infertile? :stuck_out_tongue:

But in all seriousness, I don’t think it’s making any statements about monarchy - note that that the Doroks have been returned to the monarchy they had before the last two-hundred-odd years of quasi-theocracy, and the story makes no particular comment on that other than to imply that Nausicaä served as regent (or possibly co-regent… or at least an advisor) until Chikuku came of age. And Torumekia remains a monarchy, just one without someone in the big chair… though I guess whether that actually counts as a monarchy or not is a whole other cookie.


Throughout the story, we witness the terrible things that happen when a ruler has absolute power. It is stated the rulers at first governed wisely and then became corrupt. Does not that mean that sometimes there will be good rulers but the system itself is doomed?
I think Kushana also grew tired of the family conflicts and wanted to pass the position to Nausicaa to unite everyone. She is beloved by all nations and would be a capable leader. Unfortunately, she is too free-spirited to be stuck in such a position. Otherwise, leaving the big chair empty and everything else as it was before makes no sense. Or, makes the action an empty statement. Those who fought the fights and won the battle should at least try to give a positive direction to the fate of their country. I am biased on this matter probably because we had an exceptional leader who abolished the monarchy and established a parliamentary democracy in our country.
What do you think is the meaning behind Kushana’s words and actions?


I got nothing, that’s why I asked the question. :stuck_out_tongue: The final narration mentions that history records Kushana as the restorer of Torumekia, though neglects to mention whether or not she did that by following her father’s advice. I mean, certainly she started the story utterly convinced that she was irredeemably on the path to destruction, and as recently as volume six was still certain enough of that to consider marriage with Namiluth as a way to attain power. I guess Yupa dying for her made her see there was still hope for herself, but yeah, whether she managed to sort out Torumekia without any sort of personal backsliding is left completely in the air.

If she’d meant Nausicaä as the person being the new king, maybe she should have let her know directly. Nausicaä’s no longer in the scene, though, so I can’t even tell if Kushana is looking at her when she delivers the line. Kurotowa is in the scene, though, and his little bit of eye-rolling at the bottom of page 221 feels entirely superfluous.


Btw, I ship Kushana and Kurotowa, but it seems more likely for the monarchy to be abolished than for them to get together in that universe. :joy:


FWIW, I also took it to mean that she sees Nausicaa as the new king. I thought she wasn’t really addressing Nausicaa (who seems busy with Mito on the side) but more proclaiming it in general and assuming that everyone understood her meaning because of everything that has just happened. But really, that’s just how I interpret the scene.

I found it funny, but I just really like Kurotowa as a character. I really see him as Kushana’s fool.

Still eagerly awaiting this :slightly_smiling_face:

I don’t have any essay to share, but just to give my thoughts on this last volume: I think I liked the earlier volumes more. I really like the character interactions and near to the end they just split up more. So for me, I liked the journey towards the end more than the ending itself, but oh well, it had to end somewhere.

I’m really happy that I got to read this in Japanese with you all! It was fun to go through the story again. It has some really nice moments.


Well, I’ve got a bit of time at the moment, so let’s go. :stuck_out_tongue:

On Nausicaä

That’s basically my feeling too, but I was gonna be a bit ruder about it: I don’t like volume seven. I’ve never liked it, any time I’ve re-read this story. Someone’s gonna say I’m being unfair here, or that I’ve misinterpreted something. I welcome it - let’s have a conversation! :slightly_smiling_face: But yes, in contrast to the journeys and adventures we’ve had so far, this volume essentially just turns into riding, and then chasing, a God Warrior across a desert, punctuated by two extremely philosophical discussions, and little else.

Starting after the sequence with Tepa and the Valley (end of Week 17 in our reading schedule) Miyazaki puts Nausicaä through an absolute wringer, more than he was before. He systematically disassembled everything that made Nausicaä Nausicaä. He’d already taken away her father, and (unbeknownst to her) her home, now, in rapid succession, he takes away her pacifism, her mentor, her cute animal companion, her fundamental belief in the natural world, in some ways her belief in the decency of humanity as a whole (though that one I’m less certain of), and finally put the onus on her to decide the fate of everything.

I mean, one connection I suddenly made on this reading of the story that I don’t think I’d made before was that her path is littered with people who gave up everything they had to follow her - Mito and the other old men who left their home behind fully expecting to die somewhere in the Dorok lands, Charuka who disobeyed his emperor for her, Chikuku who lost everything he knew (though in some sense he didn’t have a choice), the wormhandlers who literally murdered their worms and abandoned all of their worldly belongings - so in some sense it’s only fair that Nausicaä also give up everything, but… why’d Teto have to pay that price?

I read somewhere (though I can’t find the source now) that a lot of the nihilism of the last arc comes from Miyazaki’s disillusionment in the state of the world - in particular, the fall of Yugoslavia in the early nineties damaged his belief that humans could strive towards the common good, and… it annoys me that he couldn’t keep that out of his work. Yes, Nausicaä still hopes for a better future, but it’s less “we can do it!” and more “we’ll make it work somehow”. The fall of Yugoslavia also forms the background to Porco Rosso, which was released in cinemas at about the same time.

That said, also at about the same time, Miyazaki animated the music video for Chage & Aska’s On Your Mark, and some have theorised that the story in the video is a sort of apology for what he put Nausicaä through…

Mind you, I utterly reject the claim by both the Keeper of the Garden and the Master of the Crypt that purification-era humanity would be unable to survive in a purified world. It’s not like a day is going to come when the timer goes “ping” and suddenly all the air is clean. Presumably someday the surviving humanity will travel through the forest to the place where the purification is complete, but even if it is true that humans suffer the same death with too little miasma as they do with too much, there’ll still be a territory inside the purified region where the air quality is about the same as it is outside the forest. And maybe they’d only be able to survive there, but… their children will be able to venture further into the purified land, and their children just a bit further, and so forth. (Though that’s assuming they make it that long - the Master was begging for his life, yes, but some things he said were definitely true: the hardening disease is real, and populations are decreasing.)

But yeah, her rejection of all the knowledge and technology of the Old Ones was a bit unsatisfying. About as unsatifying as the ending of the new Battlestar Galactica, actually - “let’s give up all our lifesaving technology and live in harmony” was supposed to be uplifting, I guess (?), except that canonically, or modern-day world was the outcome of that. But yeah, getting back to Nausicaä, her decision basically boils down to “We’ll be fine on our own, thanks”, except they’re blatantly not fine - Torumekia was already at war with the Doroks before they started using the technology of the Crypt to make biological weapons (though granted it did turn out that the Crypt itself was the Vai Emperor’s primary motivation). Instead we’re left with a slightly watery ending of “We must live”. And to be fair, they still have access to the resources of the Gardens, if they can find the other ones.

Also, granted only three people besides Nausicaä ever heard the name she gave to the God Warrior, why does noone ever comment on the similarity between オーマ and オーム?

Well, that wound up being a bit less coherent than I was picturing in my head.

But for one last irrelevant point: the very final panel is dated January 28th 1994 - if we’d held off the final reading for one more month, we could have finished on the thirtieth anniversary.


That the heroine has to go through all the hardships and that there are sacrifices from the people around her are tropes that were to be expected with this kind of story, I guess. I’m not particular fond of or averse of such elements, but some audiences like all the drama, maybe.

Yes, and also a bit surprising, I found. So far, her character was really more about working with all of the different factions rather than against them. Some kind of ending where she found a way to turn the Old Ones’ thinking around to work with them to restore the world, would have been more in character. I was a bit confused about why she was suddenly rejecting them so steadfastly. I took it to be Miyazaki rejecting everything that is the “Old way of thinking”, but you bring a lot more context to the story :thinking:

Yes, I also found that an interesting similarity :slightly_smiling_face:


Miyazaki’s apology:

“Sorry Nausicaa, I made you the apostle of a religious cult. Religious cults are bad but you know who is good? Police. You can count on that there are always some good guys in the force :wink:

I can’t blame him. It is hard to stay positive and believe the humanity, believing that at least for their future they can give up their conflicts and gains. It becomes challenging when you witness the contrary every day. The era they live in has a significant influence on creators.

Btw, @Belthazar, Thank you for managing the club. I am happy that we had such an enthusiastic club leader.