Somewhere deep below the Dorok Emperor’s palace a fearsome god warrior is growing tended by priests and an army of strange creatures. Above ground the Emperor’s aerial navy has unleashed a genetically modified mold to devour the Torumekian army and render their lands uninhabitable. The mold has mutated out of control, forming a giant mass that looks ready to cover the face of the earth. The forest’s insects, including Nausicaä’s Ohmu protectors, strive to control this new biological menace, but a man-made mold may be too much for the insects. The Dorok and Torumekian armies have nearly given up fighting in favor of simply surviving in the poisoned air. In the midst of this chaos, Nausicaä’s growing psychic and spiritual awareness brings her closer to understanding the secret of her world’s corrupted ecosystem. As Princess Kushana is forced into a distasteful compromise with the Dorok Emperor, Nausicaä and the Ohmu embark on a dream-journey that will eventually lead to a reunion between old friends and a chance to catch a glimpse of the planet’s future.
The artwork in the Nausicaä series is very different from typical manga style, but maintains familiar Japanese visual tropes, dwelling on objects and scenes to create a mood and convey emotion, augmented by sparse dialogue. Every panel in these stories is packed with tiny, detailed action shots, making shortsighted readers long for pages larger than the usual manga format. Miyazaki’s masterful juggling of multiple interconnected plot lines holds the story together as readers get to see the war from constantly changing angles: underground, above the clouds in antique battle planes, from the perspective of a conquering emperor, and through the eyes of a telepathic child.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, vol. 3
by Hayao Miyazaki