Precursors and early development
Miyazaki began his professional career in the animation industry as an inbetweener at Toei in 1963 but soon had additional responsibilities in the creation processes. While working primarily on animation projects for TV and Cinema, he also pursued his dream of creating manga. In conjunction with his work as a key animator on Puss 'n Boots his manga adaptation of the same title was published in 1969. That same year pseudonymous serialization started of his manga People of the Desert. His manga adaptation of Animal Treasure Island was serialized in 1971.
After the December 1979 release of The Castle of Cagliostro, Miyazaki, now at the Tokyo Movie Shinsha (TMS) subsidiary Telecom Animation Film, began working on his ideas for an animated film adaptation of Richard Corben's comic book Rowlf and pitched the idea to Yutaka Fujioka at TMS. In November 1980, a proposal was drawn up to acquire the film rights. Around that time Miyazaki was also approached for a series of magazine articles by the editorial staff of Tokuma Shoten's Animage. During subsequent conversations he showed his sketchbooks and talked about basic outlines for envisioned animation projects with Toshio Suzuki and Osamu Kameyama, at the time working as editors for Animage. They saw the potential for collaboration on their development into animation. Initially two projects were proposed to Tokuma Shoten, that are significant for the eventual creation of Nausicaä: Warring States Demon Castle (戦国魔城 Sengoku ma-jō), to be set in the Sengoku period, and an aborted adaptation of Corben's Rowlf, but they were rejected, on July 9, 1981. The proposals were rejected because the company was unwilling to fund anime projects not based on existing manga and because the rights for the adaptation of Rowlf could not be secured.
An agreement was reached that Miyazaki could start developing his sketches and ideas into a manga for the magazine with the proviso that it would never be made into a film. Miyazaki stated in an interview, "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind only really began to take shape once I agreed to serialize it.". In the December 1981 issue of Animage, it was announced that a new manga series would start in the February 1982 issue of the magazine, despite the fact that Miyazaki had not completed the first episode. The illustrated notice introduced the new series' main character, title and concept. The first chapter, 18 pages, was published in the February issue. Miyazaki would continue developing the story for another 12 years with frequent interruptions along the way. Influences
The titular character of the manga was named after the Greek princess, Nausicaa, whose name means "burner of ships".
Miyazaki had given other names to the main character during development, but he settled on Nausicaä based on the name of the Greek princess of the same name from the Odyssey, as portrayed in Bernard Evslin's dictionary of Greek mythology, translated into Japanese by Minoru Kobayashi. Nausicaä’s personality was also patterned in part on Homer's character, particularly in regard to her love of nature and music, her imagination and disregard for material possessions. In his essay On Nausicaä (ナウシカのこと Naushika no koto), printed in volume one of the manga, Miyazaki wrote that he was also inspired by The Princess who Loved Insects, a Japanese tale from the Heian period about a young princess who preferred studying insects rather than wearing fine clothes or choosing a husband. Helen McCarthy considers Shuna from The Journey of Shuna to be prototypical to Nausicaä, and Dani Cavallaro feels that Lana from Future Boy Conan and Clarisse of The Castle of Cagliostro also influenced Nausicaä’s characterization. The story’s fantasy and science fiction elements were influenced by a variety of works from Western authors, including Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea, Brian Aldiss's Hothouse, Isaac Asimov's Nightfall, and J.R.R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
Among the inspirations for the environmental themes Miyazaki has mentioned the Minamata Bay mercury pollution. The Sea of Corruption is based on the forests on the Japanese island of Yakushima and the marshes of the Sivash, or Rotten Sea, in Ukraine. The works of botanist Sasuke Nakao are among Miyazaki's inspirations for the environment of the story. Miyazaki mentions Nakao in the context of a question he is asked about the place Nausicaä takes in the ecology boom and does so explaining his shift from a desert to a forest setting. Nakao's influence on his work has been noted by Shiro Yoshioka. Miyazaki has identified Tetsuji Fukushima's Sabaku no maō 沙漠の魔王 (The Evil Lord of the Desert), a story he first read while still in primary school, as one of his earliest influences. Kentaro Takekuma has also observed this continuity in Miyazaki's work and places it within the tradition of illustrated stories, emonogatari (絵物語), and manga Miyazaki read while growing up, pointing out the influence of Fukushima on Miyazaki's People of the Desert which he in turn identifies as a precursor for both The Journey of Shuna, created in watercolour and printed in colour, and Nausicaä.
Miyazaki drew the Nausicaä episodes primarily in pencil. The work was printed monochrome in sepia toned ink. Frederik L. Schodt observed differences between Nausicaä and other Japanese manga. He has noted that it was serialized in the large A4 size of Animage, much larger than the normal size for manga. Schodt has also observed that Miyazaki drew much of Nausicaä in pencil without inking, and that the page and panel layouts, as well as the heavy reliance on storytelling, are more reminiscent of French comics than of Japanese manga. In appearance and sensibilities, Nausicaä reminds Schodt of the works of Mœbius.
Takekuma has noted stylistic changes in Miyazaki's artwork over the course of the series. He points out that, particularly in the first chapters, the panels are densely filled with background, which makes the main characters difficult to discern without paying close attention. According to Takekuma this may be partially explained by Miyazaki's use of pencil, without inking, for much of the series. Takekuma points out that by employing pencil Miyazaki does not give himself the option of many variations in his line. He notes that in the later chapters Miyazaki uses his line art too, literally, draw attention to individuals and that he more frequently separates them from the background. As a result, there are more panels in which the main characters stand out vividly in the latter part of the manga.
Miyazaki has stated in interviews that he frequently worked close to publication deadlines and that he was not always able to finish his monthly instalments for serialization in Animage. On such occasions, he sometimes created apologetic cartoons. These were printed in the magazine, instead of story panels, to explain to his readers why there were fewer pages that month or why the story was absent entirely. Miyazaki has indicated that he continued making improvements to the story prior to the publication of the tankōbon volumes, in which chapters from the magazine were collected in book form. Changes made throughout the story, before the release of each tankōbon volume, range from subtle additions of shading to the insertion of entirely new pages. Miyazaki also redrew panels and sometimes the artwork was changed on whole pages. He made alterations to the text and changed the order in which panels appeared. The story as reprinted in the tankōbon spans 7 volumes for a combined total of 1060 pages.
Miyazaki has said that the lengthy creation process of the Nausicaä manga, repeatedly tackling its themes as the story evolved over the years, not only changed the material but also affected his personal views on life and changed his political perspectives. He also noted that his continued struggle with the subject matter in the ongoing development of the Nausicaä manga allowed him to create different, lighter, films than he would have been able to make without Nausicaä providing an outlet for his more serious thoughts throughout the period of its creation. Marc Hairston notes that, “Tellingly, Miyazaki’s first film after finishing the Nausicaä manga was Mononoke Hime, which examined many of the themes from the manga and is arguably the darkest film of his career.”
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was initially translated into English by Toren Smith and Dana Lewis. Smith, who had written comics in the U.S. since 1982, wrote an article on Warriors of the Wind (the heavily edited version of the film adaptation released in the U.S. in the 1980s) for the Japanese edition of Starlog, in which he criticized what New World Pictures had done to Miyazaki's film. The article came to the attention of Miyazaki himself, who invited Smith to Studio Ghibli for a meeting. On Miyazaki's insistence, Smith's own company Studio Proteus was chosen as the producer of the English-language translation. Smith hired Dana Lewis to collaborate on the translation. Lewis was a professional translator in Japan who also wrote for Newsweek and had written cover stories for such science fiction magazines as Analog Science Fiction and Fact and Amazing Stories. Smith hired Tom Orzechowski for the lettering and retouching.
Studio Proteus was responsible for the translation, the lettering, and the retouching of the artwork, which was flipped left-to-right to accommodate English readers. The original Japanese dialogue was re-lettered by hand, the original sound effects were replaced by English sound effects, and the artwork was retouched to accommodate the new sound effects. When Miyazaki resumed work on the manga following one of the interruptions, Viz chose another team, including Rachel Matt Thorn and Wayne Truman, to complete the series. The current seven-volume, English-language "Editor's Choice" edition is published in right-to-left reading order: while it retains the original translations, the lettering was done by Walden Wong. The touch-up art and lettering for the Viz Media deluxe two-volume box set was also done by Walden Wong.
Eriko Ogihara-Schuck, lecturer in American studies at the Technical University of Dortmund, conducted a comparative analysis of the Japanese-language manga and anime with their English translations, and demonstrates that American translations have resulted in the “Christianizing of Miyazaki's animism”. She indicates that this was probably done inadvertently in the case of the manga translation, which retains animistic elements and contains pantheistic phrases, but may have been more deliberate in the translation of dialogue and narration for Disney's release of the film. In the case of the manga, she attributes this "Christianizing" to the limitations of the languages involved, particularly the absence of precise English equivalents for Japanese words and concepts such as kami, oni and kishin and honorific titles such as sama. As another explanation, she offers that translators of both the manga and the film work from a Judeo-Christian background, in a language suffused with Judeo-Christian idioms not found in Japanese, which they introduce to the text, and she indicates that the translators work for an audience more accustomed to, and with the expectation of, the Judeo-Christian religions' dualistic, good versus evil worldview in fictional narratives. Ogihara-Schuck concludes that particularly the film translation erased animistic motifs completely but that the manga translations, "by enveloping the text in a dualistic world view", also implicitly reintroduced this dualistic, good versus evil, worldview, absent in the original Japanese language manga, which she presumes to have been a strategy to make the works more accessible to the American audience.
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 Laputa. 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, from 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.
The manga was also licensed in Australia by Madman Entertainment, in Finland by Sangatsu Manga, in France by Glénat, in Spain by Planeta DeAgostini, in Italy by Panini Comics under its Planet Manga imprint, in the Netherlands by Glénat Benelux, in Germany by Carlsen Verlag, in Korea by Haksan Culture Company, in Taiwan by Taiwan Tohan and in Brazil by Conrad Editora before it ceased after publishing two volumes.
Main article: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
When serialization of the manga was underway and the story had proven to be popular among its readers, Animage came back on their promise not to turn the manga into an animation project and approached Miyazaki to make a 15 minute Nausicaä film. Miyazaki declined. Instead, he proposed a sixty-minute OVA. In a counter offer, Tokuma agreed to sponsor a feature-length film for theatrical release. The film adaptation of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was released on March 11, 1984. It was released before Studio Ghibli was established, but it is generally considered a Studio Ghibli film. Helen McCarthy has noted that it was Miyazaki's creation of the Nausicaä manga " ... that had, in a way, started the actual process of his studio's development". The film was released with a recommendation from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
In his retrospective on 50 years of Postwar Manga, Osamu Takeuchi wrote that, in an ironic twist of fate, the Nausicaä film had been playing in theatres, at the same time as the 1984 anime adaptation of one of the illustrated stories Miyazaki had grown up reading, Kenya Boy, originally written by Soji Yamakawa in 1951. Takeuchi observed that the release of its inspirational predecessor "would have been devoured" by Miyazaki's Nausicaä in a competition of the two works. He went on to note that, in spite of a brief Yamakawa revival around that time, the media for story telling had progressed and a turning point in time had been passed.
The story of the Nausicaä film is much simpler than that of the manga, roughly corresponding to the first two books of the manga, the point the story had reached when film production began. In his interview for Yom (1994) Miyazaki explained that he worked from the precept that a film requires an opening and a closing of the story. He stated that, within the confines, he set for closing the story, he took the film's narrative up to Nausicaä's "Copernican turn (コペルニクス的転回 koperunikusutekitenkai)", which came after the character relizes the nature of the Sea of Corruption. There are significant differences in plot, with more locations, factions and characters appearing in the manga, as well as more detailed environmentalist themes. The tone of the manga is also more philosophical than the film. Miyazaki has Nausicaä explore the concepts of fatalistic nihilism and has her struggle with the militarism of major powers. The series has been interpreted from the views of utopian concepts, as well as religious studies.
In The Christianizing of Animism in Manga and Anime, Eriko Ogihara-Schuck conducted a comparative analysis of the religious themes in the manga and the film. Ogihara-Schuck wrote that Miyazaki had started out with animistic themes, such a belief in the god of the wind, in the early chapters of the manga, had conflated the animistic and Judeo-Christian traditions in the anime adaptation, but had returned to the story by expanding on the animistic themes and by infusing it with a non-dualistic worldview when he created additional chapters of the manga, dissatisfied with the manner in which these themes had been handled for the film. Drawing on the scene in which Nausicaä sacrifices her own life, in order to placate the stampeding Ohmu, and is subsequently resurrected by the miraculous powers of these giant insects, Ogihara-Schuck notes that "Japanese scholars Takashi Sasaki and Masashi Shimizu consider Nausicaä a Christ-like savior, and American scholar Susan Napier considers her as an active female messiah figure". Ogihara-Schuck contrasts these views with Miyazaki's own belief in the omnipresence of gods and spirits and Hiroshi Aoi's argument that Nausicaä's self-sacrifice is grounded on an animistic recognition of such spirits. Ogihara-Schuck quotes Miyazaki's comments in which he indicated that Nausicaä's self-sacrifice is not as a savior of her people but is a decision driven by her desire to return the baby Ohmu and by her respect for nature, as she is "dominated by animism". Ogihara-Schuck concludes that in many of his later films, much more than in the anime version of Nausicaä, Miyazaki expressed his own belief in the animistic world view and is at his most direct in the manga by putting the dualistic world view and the animistic belief in tension and, through Nausicaä's ultimate victory, makes the animistic world view superior.
No chapters of the manga were published in the period between the July 1983 issue and the August 1984 issue of Animage but series of Nausicaä Notes and The Road to Nausicaa were printed in the magazine during this interim period. Frequently illustrated with black and white images from the story boards as well as colour illustrations from the upcoming release of the film, these publications provide background about the history of the manga and development of the film. 1984 was declared The Year of Nausicaä, on the cover of the February 1984 issue of Animage.
Several other Nausicaä related materials have been released. Hayao Miyazaki's Image Board Collection (宮崎駿イメージボード集 Miyazaki Hayao imējibōdo-shū) contains a selection from the sketchbooks Miyazaki created between 1980 and 1982 to record his ideas for potential future projects. The book was published by Kodansha on March 20, 1983. The Art of Nausicaä (ジ・アート・オブ 風の谷のナウシカ Ji āto Obu kaze no tani no naushika) is the first in the art books series. The book was put together by the editorial staff of Animage. They collated material that had previously been published in the magazine to illustrate the evolution of Miyazaki's ideas into finished projects. The book contains reproductions from Miyazaki's Image Boards interspersed with material created for the film, starting with selected images related to the two film proposals rejected in 1981. The book also contains commentary of assistant director Kazuyoshi Katayama and a summary of The road to Nausicaä (ナウシカの道 naushika no michi). It was released by Tokuma Shoten on June 20, 1984. Haksan released the art book in Korean on December 29, 2000. Glénat released the art book in French on July 7, 2001. Tokuma Shoten also released the contents of the book on CD-ROM for Windows 95 and Macintosh, with the addition of excerpts from Joe Hisaishi's soundtrack from the film.
The Art of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind: Watercolor Impressions was released by Tokuma Shoten on September 5, 1995. The book contains artwork of the manga in watercolor, a selection of storyboards for the film, autographed pictures by Hayao Miyazaki and an Interview on the Birth of Nausicaä. Glénat released the book in French on November 9, 2006. Viz Media released the book in English on November 6, 2007. Viz's version of the book was released in Australia by Madman Entertainment on July 10, 2010.
In 2012, the first live-action Studio Ghibli production, the short film Giant God Warrior Appears in Tokyo, was released, which shares the same fictional universe as Nausicaä.