Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (風の谷のナウシカ , Kaze no Tani no Naushika) is a manga by Japanese anime director Hayao Miyazaki that was first serialized on Tokuma Shoten's Animage magazine from 1982 to 1994.
It tells the story of Nausicaä, a princess of a small kingdom on a post-apocalyptic Earth with a bioengineered ecological system, who becomes involved in a war between kingdoms while an environmental disaster threatens humankind. The first volume was adapted into the film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind in 1984 and a Kabuki stage play in 2019.
The story itself was inspired by the 1971 comic Rowlf by American cartoonist Richard Corben, while the name Nausicaä was derived from the Greek epic Odysseus. Miyazaki was also strongly inspired by French comic artist Jean Giraud Moebius' Arzach (1975), as seen in the documentary, Ghibli: The Miyazaki Temple.
The manga began serialization in the February 1982 issue of Animage magazine and was completed in March 1994. Production was delayed four times due to Miyazaki focusing on film production. It was serialized with an English translation in North America by Viz Media from 1988 to 1996 as a series of 27 comic book issues and has been published in collected form multiple times.
It received the 23rd Japan Cartoonists Association Award Grand Prize (大賞 , Taishō) in 1994 and the 26th Seiun Award Comic Category in 1995. As of December 2020, the cumulative circulation of books has exceeded 17 million. It has been translated and published in eight languages overseas.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Synopsis
- 3 Nations
- 4 Development
- 5 Reception
- 6 Publication History
- 7 References
- 8 External Links
- 9 Navigation
The Valley of the Wind
Nausicaä is the princess of the Valley of the Wind, a state on the periphery of what was once known as Eftal, a kingdom destroyed by the Sea of Corruption, a poisonous forest, 300 years ago. An inquisitive young woman, she explores the territories surrounding the Valley on a jet-powered glider, and studies the toxic, spore-filled forests. She is reunited with Lord Yupa following an encounter with an Ohmu. She takes in a young fox squirrel, naming it Teto. As they return to the Valley, Yupa informs Nausicaä's father King Jhil of the herds of Ohmu attacking human villages and spreading of the spores' miasma.
When the Valley goes to war, Nausicaä's takes her ailing father's place as military chief. The leaders of the Periphery states are vassals to the Torumekian Emperor and are obliged to send their forces to help when he invades the neighboring Dorok lands. After receiving counsel from the village seer Oh-baba, Nausicaä leaves the valley in hopes of finding a way to prevent the conflict from spreading any further. She is followed by Mito, who travels on a reclaimed gunship. The group intercept Asbel, a young Pejitei survivor, as he tries to take down several Torumekian warships to avenge the destruction of his homeland. Nausicaä and Asbel however, crash towards the toxic forests, where they spend some time before escaping back to the mainland.
The Acid Lakes
Meeting with the Mani Tribe Elder, Nausicaä and Asbel discover that the Doroks know of Kushana’s regiment by the Acid Lake; a member of the Torumekian royal family has betrayed the entire campaign. They are horrified to learn that the Holy Dorok Emperor has ordered defeated Dorok tribes to capture the kingdoms of the Periphery as compensation for the loss of their lands. Nausicaä and Asbel attempt to convince the elder to halt further conflict and bloodshed, but the Mani priest reveals that it is too late: The plan to wipe out Kushana’s fleet is already in motion.
On the way to the Acid Lakes, Nausicaä finds a massive herd of stampeding Ohmu. She spots a small Dorok ship transporting a wounded baby Ohmu and realizes that the Doroks are using it as bait to enrage the herd into destroying Kushana’s encampment. Nausicaä splits off on her glider to rescue the baby, eventually forcing the Dorok ship to crash on to a small sandbar in the middle of a lake.
On the sandbar, Nausicaä resolves to put the Ohmu out of its misery, but cannot go through with it. She stays to comfort the dying baby. The rest of the herd arrives at the shores of the lake, calling to their wounded brethren. The baby Ohmu moves to rejoin them, but Nausicaä warns it to not go into the lake. In trying to stop the baby from wading into the corrosive waters, Nausicaä burns her foot badly. Her suffering and her telepathic plea to stop causes the baby to focus on comforting her pain, and in so doing, it saves itself from certain death.
Nausicaä meets up with the sole remaining ship of the Torumekian army and asks Kushana for help in saving the baby Ohmu. Kushana balks at the request, having just lost her fleet to the rampaging insects. However, Nausicaä manages to leverage her knowledge of Kushana’s betrayal in exchange for the rescue operation. Kushana assents grudgingly, with conditions. With the Periphery campaign lost, Mito is released from service and returns to the Valley of the Wind to brief King Jhil on the situation. As part of the bargain for the Ohmu rescue operation, Nausicaä stays with Kushana as the Valley’s lone representative.
Siege at Sapata
Two thousand leagues southwest, Nausicaä joins Kushana, and Kurotowa as they head south into Dorok territory. Kurotowa is eager to rejoin the main army, but Kushana remains guarded. She knows that the entire operation up until now has been a trap, believing it an attempt from her older brothers to dispose of her. She surmises that Kurotowa’s own mission was to find and capture the Pejitei stone that has the power to control a God Warrior. Kurotowa laughs and confesses, but with nothing to lose, goes on the offensive. He deduces that Kushana secretly desires to link up with the core of the loyal regiment she trained herself that was stolen away by her brothers. He speculates that with that force, Kushana could lead them back to the capital and seize the throne for herself.
Kurotowa states that he has no ambitions for power and is simply trying to survive long enough to collect his pension. He offers his services to Kushana. Seeing his value, Kushana accepts, but demands to know which brother issued Kurotowa’s orders in the first place. When Kurotowa reveals the she was betrayed by her father and the emperor himself, Kushana is momentarily stunned.
Subsequent Torumekian survivors brings Kushana the grim news. The combined armies of the Dorok principalities have launched a massive counter-offensive. Wielding the toxic jungle as a weapon, its rapid growth and mutation result in a daikaisho which devastates a Torumekian army completely unprepared for a biological assault. Kushana is stunned at the scorched earth nature of the tactics; the Doroks have effectively buried their own country under a new Sea of Corruption, killing vast numbers of civilians and rendering most of the land uninhabitable. The survivors also reveal that the Third Army, composed of troops most loyal to Kushana, was ordered to guard three strongholds to aid the withdrawal of the main army; only one regiment remains at the city of Sapata. Kushana decides at once to rescue the troops held out there.
The Holy Emperor Miralupa arrives to oversee the siege at Sapata. He consults with Charuka, his trusted commander in charge of the operation. Shortly afterwards, Kushana’s ship arrives on scene and makes a crash landing inside the walls of the city. Overjoyed at Kushana’s return, the rejuvenated regiment quickly devises a plan for a counterattack.
Resting within the city walls, Nausicaä perceives that Miralupa is searching for her, but Teto the fox-squirrel and Kai her mount protect her from his corrosive touch. She goes in search of the Dorok infants she rescued earlier, and eventually discovers one of the chief Torumekian motivations for initiating the war: they were planning to bring Dorok prisoners back to Torumekia as slaves to address their declining population.
In the war room, Kushana devises an unorthodox strategy to buy breathing room from the Dorok siege. She proposes blasting a hole in the castle wall to create a sally port. Light artillery fire will be employed to create smoke and confusion, allowing their own armoured cavalry to smash through the enemy skirmish lines and destroy the siege gun batteries, the primary targets.
After the meeting, Nausicaä demands Kushana release the Dorok prisoners. Kushana laughs at her request, stating that she cares only for the safety of her troops, and is not about to do what Nausicaä asks just so Nausicaä can keep her hands clean. She will only accept the request if Nausicaä would ride with her into battle. With little choice, Nausicaä is pressed into action against the Doroks.
Kushana’s strategy is executed to perfection as the Doroks are caught off-guard by the strike against the siege guns. However, the Torumekian strike force is vastly outnumbered and must break through the Dorok cavalry to return behind fortified walls. Charuka leads the Dorok charge, but is stunned to see the blue-clad one from the ancient prophecy, supposedly a saviour of the oppressed and the poor, fighting alongside the Torumekians. Obeying Miralupa’s wishes, he reluctantly calls for Nausicaä’s death or capture.
Nausicaä calls for Kushana to honor her word of releasing the prisoners, refusing to stay in the Torumekian commander’s debt. Moved by her courage, a small contingent of armored Kushana’s soldiers requests permission to ride in support of Nausicaä. Kushana assents. Nausicaä is captured and brought before Charuka. Seeing her for the first time, the Dorok commander is puzzled why this girl would fill his lord with such dread. As the soldiers search Nausicaä, Teto springs up to fiercely defend her, and Kai rises up with his last bit of strength to escape with Nausicaä on his back. Nausicaä flees and returns to the triumphant cheers of the Torumekian regiment, exhausted and shellshocked. She grieves deeply for the soldiers who died protecting her and for her mount, holding him in her hands as he dies. Kushana orders Kai to be properly buried with full honors.
Miralupa is livid that Sapata is still being held by the Torumekians. He demotes Charuka and decides to deploy the miasma on Sapata, believing that there is no longer time for a prolonged siege. Charuka is troubled by the hastiness and genocidal nature of the decision, but has no time to react. News come from the gates of Sapata: The Dorok prisoners are being released.
The Forest People
She is recovered by her companions, people she met after leaving the Valley and who have joined her on her quest for a peaceful coexistence. Yupa believes that this knowledge came from the Crypt of Shuwa, the sacred capital of the Dorok Lands. He speculates that Holy Emperor Miralupa has revived old arts of molding life in a desperate attempt to shift the fortunes of war. The fact that the mold can be manipulated and used as a weapon disturbs Nausicaä. Her treks into the forest have already taught her that the Sea of Corruption is actually purifying the polluted land.
The Forest People, humans who have learned to live in harmony with the Sea of Corruption, confirm this is the purpose of the Sea of Corruption and one of them shows Nausicaä a vision of the restored Earth at the center of the forest. A young man named Selm enters and offers them food in the form of insect eggs, explaining that his people ask the insects for permission and are granted enough materials for survival. Yupa recalls legends of a forest people rumored to have abandoned fire, choosing to live in the heart of the forest in harmony with other creatures. Selm explains that he is currently investigating the unusual southern migration of the Ohmu and other insects. They decide to journey south together, towards the land where Nausicaä has gone.
Elsewhere, Kushana and her remaining forces embark on a daring mission to commandeer ships from the main Torumekian army in hopes of breaking the siege back at Sapata. Complications arise when a massive swarm of insects are also heading towards the encampment. Kushana decides to take advantage of the situation, using news of the swarm to sow chaos and confusion within the main Torumekian army so her small battalion can steal as many ships as possible.
The plan fails. Kushana’s ship is rammed and destroyed by her brother’s armoured corvette. Kurotowa is gravely injured, and Kushana is brought before her brother where she is taunted and mocked. Realizing the direness of the situation, Kurotowa creates a distraction and forces Kushana’s brother to retreat and escape before the impending insect swarm. Stranded on the ground, Kushana flees on foot with her few remaining soldiers, carrying Kurotowa on her shoulders as she seeks refuge from the insects. She watches as a massive swarm descend upon her brother’s ship, destroying it in an instant. She stares, not quite believing that her revenge against him had been so quick and simple.
Huddled in a trench as insects decimate the remaining Torumekian army, Kushana recalls back to her last day in Tolas, the Torumekian capital, before departing for the Periphery campaign and a final visit to her mother’s. The flashback reveals that her mother was driven mad by a poison intended for a teenage Kushana. Ever since that time, Kushana has waited for her chance to exact revenge on the members of the royal family responsible. As death in the form of giant insects approaches, she begins singing a lullaby to her men.
Hiding in the trenches and wearing heavy masks, Kushana, Kurotowa, and a few survivors spot the valley gunship overhead and signal for help. Realizing who she is, Asbel rushes straight for Kushana, sword in hand, to seek revenge for the genocide at Pejitei. Yupa holds him in check and tells him to look around. Corpses litter the landscape: more death will do no good. Kushana provides news of Nausicaä and the Dorok weaponization of the miasma; Yupa is stunned at the folly of the council of priests. Kushana admits that in the past she would have done the same if the situation was reversed, but Nausicaä has changed her. Soon after, they are rescued and brought onboard Namulith's ship, one of the principal leaders of what remains of the Dorok empire.
Nausicaä travels deeper into Dorok territory, where her coming has long been prophesied, to seek those responsible for manipulating the mold. She chances upon small forested shrine in an oasis, discovering that it is still being worshipped. A telepathic child named Chikuku appears and leads her to a hidden cave full of blind old monks. They explain that this sanctuary was constructed long ago to preserve the ancient teachings deemed heretical by the current Dorok Holy emperor, including the ancient prophecy of the blue-clad one. The monks warn Nausicaä that the daikaisho, a great boiling over of the toxic jungle, will happen soon to purify the land. They accept this inevitability, believing that the resulting suffering and death is but a trial for the rebirth of the world. Troubled by this confirmation, Nausicaä finds herself at odds with their philosophy; she refuses to do nothing about an impending apocalypse that will bring annihilation to so many.
As the mold begins to expand outwards, searching the devastated landscape for other sources of food. Recognizing the potential scale of destruction, Charuka finally resolves to work with Nausicaä to save his people from an impending catastrophe.
Sleeping, Nausicaä dreams of the god worshiped by the blind monks. He proclaims that all is proceeding as planned, that the Age of Purification is upon them: The world will be consumed and a new pure one shall emerge. Nausicaä once again rejects this vision of the future. This time, the god accuses her of being a hypocrite, merely a member of a cursed race that is better off purged.
The surviving Dorok people, seeing Nausicaä leaving on her glider, cry out to her, believing her to be the great white bird of salvation. Charuka discovers that the villagers all heard a voice that warned them of the impending miasma and told them to seek safety on the highest hills. Much to his annoyance, the people begin to chant old pagan scriptures that have been banned by Miralupa. With Nausicaä gone, Charuka confronts Chikuku, who admits that he helped deliver warnings with his telepathic powers. In line with his own teachings, Chikuku believes that Nausicaä is truly the white-winged apostle that will bring salvation.
Meanwhile, Yupa confronts Dorok leader Namulith, who reveals that he intends to make Kushana his bride. Kushana, in a fit of rage, kills the crew and sets fire to the ship’s quarters before heading up to the bridge. Bemused, Namulith calmly offers her a place alongside him to build a twilight kingdom together. With the Dorok Principalities destroyed by the mold, Namulith plans to invade Torumekia, but he will need Kushana’s loyal regiment to do it.
The God Warrior
Aided by Selm of the Forest People, Nausicaä has several visions of the now-purified land, including helping exorcize the former Emperor Miralupa. With the daikaisho over and his people heading back to the forest, Selm asks if she would like to live her life with him. He knows that Nausicaä thinks and feels as he does about the world, that she would find happiness living in harmony within the Sea of Corruption. Nausicaä is tempted, but ultimately refuses his offer. While Selm embraces the way of the forest, Nausicaä finds herself involved with all of life. She loves the people of the world too much, and knows that she will live in the twilight of her tainted world. Nausicaä thanks him for sharing the secret of the forest with her, and vows not to lose hope again.
Nausicaä encounters a dormant God Warrior who, upon activation, assumes she is his mother and places his destructive powers at her disposal. Faced with this power and its single minded and childlike visions of the world, she engages the creature, names him Ohma and persuades him to travel with her to Shuwa, the Holy City of the Doroks. In her travels, she confronts Namulith, who is unlike any being she has encountered. Nausicaä is shaken by Namulith’s revelation that his brother Miralupa and his father were just like her: Kind, intelligent, compassionate souls with a sincere desire to save the world. But as they grew old, they realized they were unable to alter humanity’s fate. Frustration and resentment eventually turned them into tyrants who resorted to rule through might and fear. Namulith sees Nausicaä as just the latest to walk that road, a naïve soul who expects her good intentions are enough to lead to a different result. He cuts down her hope and idealism, calling her a pseudo-divine, wet-behind-the-ears little girl.
As Kushana make their way to the Crypt, a small group of Dorok soldiers break free and charge at her, but Yupa steps in and sacrifices his life to save her, believing that the new world will need her strength and leadership. His sacrifice finally breaks the cycle of violence and hatred between the two groups. With his last remaining breath, he speaks to Kushana, telling her that blood has not sullied but cleansed her.
Far away, Nausicaä senses and grieves for the passing of Yupa; Teto also has died from exposure to Ohma’s light. Nausicaä wants to land to bury her animal companion. She and Ohma land and lays Teto underneath an ancient tree, which happens to be part of a land built on illusion, run by artificial Heedra. At first, Nausicaä is lulled into this purgatory, but with the help of Selm, soon sees through its deception and escapes. Before she leaves, she is told that two centuries ago, a boy visited here. He spent time learning from the Master before leaving one day with four heedra with the intention of “saving humanity”. He was Miralupa and Namulith’s father, the first Dorok Holy Emperor. The Master notes that humans tread the same paths over and over, each believing that they alone are different. Yet he sees that “none can escape from the cycle wherein karma gives birth to karma, sorrow gives birth to sorrow."
As Nausicaä enters the Crypt, a giant monolithic construct from before the Seven Days of Fire. She learns that the last scientists of the industrial era had foreseen the end of their civilization. They created the Sea of Corruption to clean the land of pollution, altered human genes to cope with the changed ecology, stored their own personalities inside the Crypt and waited for the day when they could re-emerge, leaving the world at the mercy of their artificially created caretaker. However, their continual manipulation of the population and the world's environment is at odds with Nausicaä's belief in the natural order. She argues that mankind's behavior has not been improved significantly by the activities of those inside the crypt. Strife and cycles of violence have continued to plague the world in the thousand years following their interference. She orders the God-Warrior to destroy its progenitors, forcing humanity to live or die without further influence from the old society's technology.
The story is set in the future at the closing of the ceramic era, 1,000 years after the Seven Days of Fire, a cataclysmic global war, in which industrial civilization self-destructed. Although humanity survived, the land surface of the Earth is still heavily polluted and the seas have become poisonous. Most of the world is covered by the Sea of Corruption, a toxic forest of fungal life and plants which is steadily encroaching on the remaining open land. It is protected by large mutant insects, including the massive Ohmu.
Humanity clings to survival in the polluted lands beyond the forest, periodically engaging in bouts of internecine fighting for the scarce resources that remain. The ability for space travel has been lost but the earth-bound remnants of humanity can still use gliders and powered aircraft for exploration, transportation and warfare. (Powered land vehicles are mostly nonexistent, with humanity regressed to dependence on riding animals and beasts-of-burden.)
Autonomous States of the Periphery (辺境諸国)
A small number of nation-states situated on the shores of the Sea of Corruption, which include the Valley of the Wind, the Valley of Sand, and Pejite. With each passing year, more and more of these smaller city states are swallowed by the Sea of Corruption, reducing the amount of habitable land. These minor nations have small population sizes, with the Valley of the Wind having roughly 500 citizens. Some of these nations, such as the Valley of the Wind, rely on farming for their livelihood, while others such as Pejite, focus on excavating relics of past civilizations hidden in underground ruins.
Many of these nations are vassals of the Kingdom of Torumekia, and in exchange for their autonomy, these nations are required to participate in any war in response to the convocation order of The Vai Emperor.
The Kingdom of Eftal was once the largest, most technologically advanced kingdom in the land that prospered even after Seven Days of Fire. They were destroyed by the last daikaisho around 300 years prior to the events of the manga. Much of their territory fell to the Sea of Corruption, and those that survived went on to create the Kingdom of Torumekia and its outlying nations. Many of Eftal's gunships were later reclaimed by minor nations.
Valley of the Wind (風の谷)
A state on the periphery of what was once known as Eftal, with a population of about 500. They are ruled by King Jhil and his daughter Nausicaä. Their nation is made up of medieval-level agriculture and harvesting activities, and they have a reservoir that draws water thanks to a large windmill that takes air currents delivered from the ocean of salt. The strong wind from the valley helps protects the land from rotten sea spores and the toxic miasma. Despite this, the nation still suffers from the sea-borne poison that can cause stillbirth and fatigue among its people.
In the film, many of their structures are made from old derelict spacecraft, while their tools are made from ceramic. In the manga, supplementary materials show the nation of the Valley of the Wind neighboring (around 360km) an mining town which houses a ceramic mine.
A minor industrialized nation. Pejitei is known for excavating, processing and supplying engines, ceramic material taken from underground ruins that lay intact after the Seven Days of Fire to other nations.
They eventually uncovered a tomb containing several skeletons of God Warriors. This discovery led to their nation being invaded by the Kingdom of Torumekia, which was headed by Princess Kushana and the Emperor's Imperial Guard. Hundreds of refugees fled the nation on large airships, which were later attacked and destroyed by rampaging bugs. Asbel was one of the few survivors during this attack.
In the film, the excavated God Warriors were meant to used to incinerate the Sea of Corruption. Survivors of Pejitei also draw out the bugs to wipe out the forces of Torumekia in revenge.
Kingdom of Torumekia (トルメキア)
The Kingdom of Torumekia is located to the east of the Valley of the Wind. The capital city of Tolas is lined with many skyscrapers, all of which are in ruins. The current ruler is The Vai Emperor, and his four royal children consist of three princes and his youngest daughter, Kushana. The Vai Emperor's residence is an aerial palace with functioning elevator. The Torumekian people have a look and culture reminiscent of European descent.
The Dorok Principalities (土鬼諸侯国連合 lit. "Union of Lords of the Earth Demon")
A coalition of tribal nations collectively known as the Dorok Principalities. They are located to the south of the Sea of Corruption and are led by the Holy Emperor, whose territory consists of seven great nations, with more than twenty minor princes and twenty-three lesser tribal nations. The emperor's coins are of better quality than the coins of the Kingdom of Torumekia, and is popular enough to be used outside the territory of Dorok.
The Holy Emperor and its bureaucracy are led by monks, who were placed in charge of national affairs. There is a strong political consensus among its ruling class, and many of its monks act as chieftains, each with their own personal guard, and many of its national affairs are ritualized. The Holy Emperor is named Miralupa and is said to possess supernatural powers, compared to his older sibling Namulith. Miralupa used religion to help control the indigenous people, but when his brother Namulith murdered his younger brother and regained power, he stripped the monk's power and purged its members. This internal strife mimicked ancient Japan, which was rife with conflict between its tribal nations. To maintain order, they began relying on awe and worship towards monks and the Holy Emperor, inspiring a politics based on fear and reverence towards power.
Outside of the Holy Emperor's grip are the Forest People, a tribe that has chosen to abandon fire and civilization to live in harmony with nature in the corrupted forests. Another, the Mani Tribe, led by the Holy One, would play a pivotal role in shaping the conflict between the Doroks and the Kingdom of Torumekia thanks in part to their encounter with Nausicaä.
Main article: Development
In 1994, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, received the Japan Cartoonists Association Award Grand Prize (大賞 , Taishō), an annual prize awarded by a panel of association members, consisting of fellow cartoonists.
The manga has sold more than 10 million copies in Japan alone. After the 1984 release of the film adaptation, sales for the manga dramatically increased, despite the plot differences between the two works. In the spring of 1994, shortly after serialization had concluded, a combined total of 5.27 million Nausicaä tankōbon volumes had already been published. At the time Volumes 1 through 6 were in print. Volume 7 was not released until January 15, 1995. As of December 2020, the cumulative circulation of books has exceeded 17 million.
Professor Susan J. Napier, director of the Japanese program at Tufts University, has described the manga as "an entertaining and engrossing fantasy which genuinely deserves the description Tolkien-esque". Napier described the eponymous protagonist as "one of the best examples of a truly "empowered" female" and went on to write that Nausicaä "adds up to an impressive feminine role-model". Napier also contrasts the manga and film portrayals of Princess Kushana's character, who she identifies as Nausicaä's Doppelgänger, observing that the manga version allows for a "far more complex and sympathetic, perhaps even genuinely "feminist" representation of Kushana".
Nausicaä was included by Stephen Betts in the comic book-centered reference book 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die, who said of the series:
"Miyazaki's sepia-inked art is precise, delicate, and detailed. He achieves an incredible dynamism and motion across the page. The rich array of characters, multiple themes, and densely interwoven plot ensure that the message, while worthy, is nuanced. Exploring conflict, politics, and religion, Miyazaki achieves a grand, epic sweep that is rarely seen in comics, and particularly in such a stunning action comic. Yet he also manages to keep the whole story accessible and relevant thought the human qualities of his timeless heroine."
- —Stephen Betts
Setre, writing for Japanator, said "Nasuicaa [sic] is an amazing manga. And no matter what you may think of Miyazaki this story deserves to be read. It has great characters (some of which could star in their own series), a great sense of adventure and scale, and an awesome story."
In his July 14, 2001 review of Viz Media's four volume Perfect Collection edition, of the manga, Michael Wieczorek of Ex.org compared the series to Princess Mononoke stating, "Both stories deal with man's struggle with nature and with each other, as well as with the effects war and violence have on society." Wieczoek gave a mixed review on the detail of the artwork in this, 8.08 in × 5.56 in (20.5 cm × 14.1 cm) sized, edition, stating, "It is good because the panels are just beautiful to look at. It is bad because the size of the manga causes the panels within to be very small, and some of these panels are just crammed with detailed artwork. That can sometimes cause some confusion about what is happening to which person during an action scene." The Perfect Collection edition of the manga is out of print.
In his article series House of 1000 Manga for the Anime News Network, Jason Thompson wrote that "Nausicaa is as grim as Grave of the Fireflies ".] Mike Crandol of ANN praised the manga stating, "I dare say the manga is Hayao Miyazaki's finest work ever--animated, printed, or otherwise--and that's saying a lot. Manga allows for a depth of plot and character unattainable in the cinematic medium, and Miyazaki uses it to its fullest potential."
Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi has cited the manga and film as an influence on his series.
In the Coda On Your Mark and Nausicaa to their April 1999 lecture series on manga, anime and the works of Miyazaki at the University of Dallas Pamela Gossin, Professor of Arts and Humanities, and guest instructor Marc Hairston, research scientist in the William B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences, discussed On Your Mark, the music video Miyazaki created for the song of the same title by Japanese duo Chage and Aska and drew parallels to the Nausicaä story, its titular character and its conclusion. Gossin and Hairston interpreted the release of the winged girl at the end of the music video as Miyazaki setting free his character in a manner reminiscent of William Shakespeare's symbolic liberation of his characters, through Prospero's release of his servant Ariel in his play The Tempest. Miyazaki started creating On Your Mark the same month the seventh volume of the Nausicaä manga was released.
The manga was serialized in Tokuma Shoten's monthly Animage magazine between 1982 and 1994. The series initially ran from the February 1982 issue to the November 1982 issue when the first interruption occurred due to Miyazaki's work related trip to Europe. Serialization resumed in the December issue and the series ran again until June 1983 when it went on hiatus again due to Miyazaki's work on the film adaptation of the series. Serialization of the manga resumed for the third time from the August 1984 issue but halted again in the May 1985 issue when Miyazaki placed the series on hiatus to work on Castle in the Sky. Serialization resumed for the fourth time in the December 1986 issue and was halted again in June 1987 when Miyazaki placed the series on hiatus to work on the films My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service. The series resumed for the fifth time in the April 1990 issue and was halted in the May 1991 issue when Miyazaki worked on Porco Rosso. The series resumed for the final time in the March 1993 issue. The final panel is dated January 28, 1994. The last chapter was released in the March 1994 issue of Animage. By the end Miyazaki had created 59 chapters, of varying length, for publication in the magazine. In an interview, conducted shortly after serialization of the manga had ended, he noted that this amounts to approximately 5 years worth of material. He stated that he did not plan for the manga to run that long and that he wrote the story based on the idea that it could be stopped at any moment.
The chapters were slightly modified and collected in seven tankōbon volumes, in soft cover B5 size. The first edition of volume one is dated September 25, 1982. It contains the first eight chapters and was re-released on August 25, 1983 with a newly designed cover and the addition of a dustcover. Volume two has the same August 25, 1983 release date. It contains chapters 9 through 14. Together with chapters 15 and 16, printed in the Animage issues for May and June 1983, these were the only 16 chapters completed prior to the release of the Nausicaä film in March 1984. The seventh book was eventually released on January 15, 1995. The entire series was also reprinted in two deluxe volumes in hard cover and in A4 size labeled Jokan (上巻 , First Volume) and Gekan (下巻 , Final Volume) which were released on November 30, 1996. The seven books, which remain in print individually, have also been released in box sets twice, on August 25, 2002 and, with a redesigned box, on October 31, 2003.
English translations are published in North America and the United Kingdom by Viz Media. As of 2013 Viz Media has released the manga in five different formats. Initially the manga was printed flipped and with English translations of the sound effects. Publication of English editions began in 1988 with the release of episodes from the story under the title Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind in the "Viz Select Comics" series. This series ran until 1996. It consists of 27 issues. In October 1990 Viz Media also started publishing the manga as Viz Graphic Novel, Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind. The last of the seven Viz Graphic Novels in this series appeared in January 1997. Viz Media reprinted the manga in four volumes titled Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind: Perfect Collection, which were released from October 1995 to October 1997. A box set of the four volumes was later released in January 2000. In 2004 Viz Media re-released the seven-volume format in an "Editors Choice" edition titled Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. In this version the manga is left unflipped and the sound effects are left untranslated. Viz Media released its own deluxe two-volume box set on November 6, 2012
- "Kabuki adaptation of Miyazaki's ‘Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’ is now online", TimeOut
- The manga was delayed on July 1983-July 1984, June 1985-November 1986, July 1987-March 1990 and June 1991-February 1992
- "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: The total number of manga sold by Hayao Miyazaki has exceeded 17 million copies", Mantan Web, December 2020
- "Nausicaä Vol. 2: The Acid Lake", Eko Stories
- "Nausicaä Vol. 3: The Dorok War", Eko Stories
- "Nausicaä Vol. 6-1: The Place Dreamed", Eko Stories
- "Nausicaä Vol. 7-1: The Garden", Eko Stories
- "500 Manga Heroes and Villains", pp. 70, 121, 247, Helen McCarthy, January 1, 2006
- "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: The total number of manga sold by Hayao Miyazaki has exceeded 17 million copies", Mantan Web, December 2020
- "1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die: The Ultimate Guide to Comic Books, Graphic Novels and Manga. Universe.", Paul Gravett, 2011
- "Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind Reviews (Vol.1-7)", Japanator
- "Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind Perfect Collection (manga)", Anime News Network
- "Material and information about Miyazaki, Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind, and anime for the Spring 1999 A&H 3300 class "Natural Wonders" at the University of Texas at Dallas". University of Dallas.
- Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (manga) on Wikipedia
- Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind manga at Nausicaa.net