Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (FAQ)

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Q: Where does the name "Nausicaä" come from?

Nausicaä was named after a Phaeacian princess in the Odyssey. Nausicaä was "a beautiful and fanciful girl, quick on her feet... She took delight in nature and had an especially receptive personality". She saved Odysseus when he drifted ashore covered with blood and then nursed his wounds. Another model for Miyazaki's Nausicaä was the "Princess Who Loved Insects". It is an old Japanese story about a noble girl who was regarded as an eccentric because she loved to watch insects.

Q: Why are there two spellings of "Nausicaa"?

The last "a" of Nausicaa should be spelled as "ä" (a-diaeresis). Nausicaa comes from the Anglicized version of the Greek name, Nausicaa in Homer's Odyssey. The a-diaeresis is not part of the native alphabet of Greek. Rather, it is simply to indicate an accent for pronunciation in Romance languages. Unfortunately, it is difficult to type an a-diaeresis character on some computer systems and it often can't be transmitted properly via e-mail, so usually a normal "a" is used instead.

Q: How do I pronounce "Nausicaä"?

In Japanese, it's [Na u shi ka]. The proper pronunciation for Nausicaä is [Nau-sik'a-e] (the last [e] is supposed to be upside down, pronounced like [a] in ADORE, or [u] in SINUS).

ナ ウ シ カ / Na u shi ka

Nawshika / Nowshikka / Nowsska / Nausea (bad pun)

NafsikA (not nau or naw) and the gravity of the word is on the capital 'A' (for example: quEstions, cOmments, crItisism and suggEstions).

Q: What does Ohmu mean?

The kanji (Chinese characters) used for Ohmu are "King" and "Insect", so it means "King Insect" or "King of Insects". Reading those kanji as "Ohmu" is a bit unusual. According to Miyazaki, the sound "Ohmu" came from "Oh Mushi" (king insect), "Ohkii Mushi" (large insect), "Sando Uomu" (Japanese pronunciation of "Sand Worm" from "Dune"), "Aum" in Buddhist belief (no, he didn't get it from the Aum Shinrikyo cult), and others.

Q: What does Mehve mean?

"Mehve" is the German word "Moewe", which means "seagull" in English.

The correct German spelling is "Möwe," but "Moewe" is also acceptable when an umlaut (the two dots above the "o") is unavailable.

Q: Is Nausicaä a Studio Ghibli film?

Yes and no.

Studio Ghibli did not exist as a formal company when Nausicaä was made. When Tokuma decided to have Miyazaki make the film, they had to find an animation studio that could do contract work with Miyazaki supervising the project. They chose Topcraft, a studio that before had done mostly contract work for the US animation company Rankin-Bass. Topcraft's best known animated films in the US are The Hobbit, The Last Unicorn, and The Return of the King.

Nausicaa was successful enough that Tokuma wanted Miyazaki to make more films, so he formed a new company called Studio Ghibli and most of the staff and artists from Topcraft came to work at the new studio. It is not clear whether Tokuma bought out Topcraft or whether Topcraft went out of business at the same time, so the staff jumped at the opportunity to work at the new studio. So essentially the same team of animators, artists, and staff who created Nausicaä then went on to create Laputa. Because of this, although Ghibli did not formally exist when Nausicaä was made, Studio Ghibli generally includes Nausicaa as a "Ghibli film." For example, the DVD release of Nausicaä in Japan is included as part of the "Ghibli Collection" and the Archives of Studio Ghibli published by Tokuma includes Nausicaä.

Q: Is there religious significance to the resurrection scene?

Though some see a religious image in this scene, Miyazaki himself did not intend it so. In fact, he was hard on himself for giving the movie an ending which looked "religious", and gave only 65 points out of 100 to the movie because of that.

Miyazaki had a strong aversion to organized religions. He once said that he did not want to explain the world based on a god. This may be due to his background in Marxism. However, he seems to be "opening up" a bit more towards religion or spirituality these days, largely because writing the manga "Nausicaä" required him to think about philosophical questions such as "What is life?". However, he doesn't belong to any cult or religion.

Q. Why did the color of Nausicaä's dress change from pink to blue?

It was dyed by Ohmu's blood (which is blue) when she tried to prevent the baby Ohmu from getting into the Acid Sea.

Q: Is there a model for the tapestry in the opening of the movie?

Yes. Miyazaki said that it is based on the Bayeux Tapestryand other images he saw in books about world history.

Q: Who did Nausicaä's voice?

Sumi Shimamoto. For many Miyazaki fans, she is the voice of the Miyazaki heroine. She played Clarisse in The Castle of Cagliostro, Maki in Farewell Beloved Lupin, Satsuki's mother in My Neighbor Totoro, and Toki in Princess Mononoke. To know more about her, visit Hitoshi Doi's Seiyuu (voice actor) Page.

Q: I heard there is an English dub of Nausicaä. Is it true?

Yes. One is the horrendously mangled Warriors of the Wind from New World Pictures; it's rather difficult to find these days, but please forget about it if you've seen it. Disney redubbed the film in 2003 with Alison Lohman, Patrick Stewart, and Uma Thurman. For more information see the Availablity page and the Credits page.

Q: What is wrong with "Warriors of the Wind"?

New World Pictures felt it could only be marketed as a kid's action movie, so they cut out about a quarter of the movie (the parts they felt were "slow moving") and garbled the storyline in the process. Nausicaä was changed to "Princess Zandra". The voice actors and actresses (see next paragraph for a note about June Foray) said later that they were never told what the story was about and so the acting was substandard. Miyazaki was horrified when he found out what they had done to his film, and Ghibli asks everyone to forget that this version ever existed. Fortunately, New World Video's rights to Nausicaä expired in 1995.

Regarding June Foray (the voice of Rocky in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show), there was a rumor that she was the voice of "Princess Zandra". Emru Townsend, a subscriber of the Miyazaki Mailing List, finally sent a video tape of "Warriors" to Ms. Foray so that she could confirm whether or not that was her voice. She denied that it was her voice in that role.

Q: I heard that cuts were made in "Warriors of the Wind" to cover Nausicaä's bare bottom. Is it true?

That's a nasty rumor which just won't die. Even in an article by Reuters, she was called "a bare-bottomed heroine on a glider". Nausicaä *is* wearing pants. That's not a mini-skirt she is wearing, it's her coat. Notice that the men in the valley are dressed as Nausicaä is. And they are not Scottish. ^_^

Some of the confusion arose due to the lack of color fidelity in n-th generation fansubs. Viewing the DVD release will clear up any remaining doubt.

Q: I heard there is an official sub of "Nausicaä". Is it true?

Yes. With the expiration of the rights for "Warriors of the Wind", Ghibli produced a new English subtitled version of "Nausicaä". It premiered in London on July 30, 1995 at a special screening event at the "Building Bridges" program. Disney acquired the global distribution rights for "Nausicaä", see the Video page for more details on what's currently available.

Q: I heard there is computer game. Is it true?

Yes. In fact, there are two that we know of. You can find out more about them on the Multimedia Goods page.

Q: Is it based on a manga?

Yes. It's based on Miyazaki's manga, "Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä". There are seven volumes in total, and the movie covers about the first two volumes.

He started serializing the manga "Nausicaä" in the animation magazine "Animage" in 1982. At first, Miyazaki did not want to make "Nausicaä" into anime, since he wrote the manga to express something he couldn't express with animation, and since the manga was still at an introductory stage. As a result, the story of the film was substantially changed from the one in the manga.

To learn more about the manga, visit Nausicaä manga page.

Q: Is the manga "Nausicaä" different from the anime "Nausicaä"?

Yes. It's very different, and very long. Miyazaki took 13 years to finish the manga, though he did set the manga aside several times to make movies. A great many things happen after what happened in the movie. Even the part depicted in the movie is much more complicated in the manga.

In the manga, there is a war going on between two superpowers, Torumekia and the Dorok Empire. Nausicaä was a part of Kushana's invading force, which she joined as the chieftain of the valley to keep the old treaty between Torumekia and the valley (so Torumekia was basically an ally, not an enemy). Most of the story then takes place in the land of Dorok. The Doroks are the ones who tried to cause the Ohmu stampede to crush Kushana's army to defend their land from the invasion. Nausicaä didn't even die at this point.

In the manga, there are no simple dichotomies such as valley vs. Torumekia, good vs. evil, or Nature vs. Man. Many characters, such as Kushana, Ghil, and the God Warrior have very different fates and roles than in the movie. And the ending will likely surprise you and make you think. It's a great work of art and thought. You'll enjoy it very much.

Q: What is the "Daikaisho"?

"Daikaisho" roughly means "Big Tidal Wave". In the world of "Nausicaä", it means the uncontrollable expansion of the Sea of Corruption by stampeding Ohmu.

Q: If there are emperor's brothers, where is the Dorok emperor?

Actually, that is a bit of a confusion in the translations. Those two "Emperor's Brothers" ARE the emperors of Dorok. After the death of their father, the first Holy Emperor, they were supposed to reign the empire together, so the new titles were created for them - "Koutei" and "Koukei". "Kou" means "Emperor", "Tei" means "younger brother", and "Kei" means "older brother". So, they actually mean "Emperor, the younger" and "Emperor, the older". Koutei has the same pronunciation as "Koutei" (emperor), but different kanji (Chinese characters). Koutei Miralupa has been the one who actually reigns the empire, since he has a mystical power, while Koukei Namulis doesn't. When Viz started publishing the English "Nausicaä", "Koukei" hadn't appeared yet in the Japanese "Nausicaä", so the translator just assumed that he was a younger brother of the emperor (actually, at this point in the manga, most Japanese readers thought so, too).

Q: Do the symbols used for the Dorok language bear any relation to kana or kanji?

No, there is no systematic reference for the Dorok language as far as we know (you might want to try). However, the characters sometimes look like a very old form of Kanji (Chinese characters) back in the Chou dynasty or older. For example, in a scene where the Doroks were angry, a symbol which looks a bit like a kanji for "anger" was used.

They also look somewhat like Bonji. Bonji are a sort of Sanskrit which are used to express names (and mantras) of Buddhist deities. You can find them on statues or temples. In some branches of Buddhism, they are treated as magical symbols. Many mangas and animes borrowed from Buddhism use them as magical spells.

Q: What is "The Princess Who Loved Insects?

It is a story in "Tsutsumi Chunagon Monogatari", which was written at the end of the 12th century. Miyazaki took an inspiration from the princess in this story to create "Nausicaä". This princess was quite eccentric - she didn't dye her teeth black, she didn't shave her eyebrows off, and she was tanned since she actually went outside (this is the equivalent of going around naked today). She loved insects and worms, while other princesses loved butterflies. But she was incredibly intelligent and perceptive (from our standpoint). She said "Beauty is only superficial. You have to see the real nature of things to understand them", and loved to watch caterpillars changing into pupas. When her parents tried to persuade her to give up her "hobbies", she replied, "To understand anything, you have to look into it deeply, and see it through from the beginning to the end. This caterpillar will become a butterfly someday. The silks you are wearing came from silkworms, too."

Miyazaki wondered how this princess survived as an adult, and what her fate had been. We can see the traits of this princess in Nausicaä.

Q: Will there be a Nausicaä sequel?

Extremely unlikely. When asked about the possibility of a sequel to the movie, Miyazaki flatly said, "No". He had enough difficulties making the manga into a movie once, and he doesn't want to go through it again. On the possibility of a sequel to the manga, Miyazaki was somewhat more ambiguous. It sounded like he had some stories in his mind. He once said that he wanted to write a manga about Nausicaä in her 30s, so someday, we might be able to read what happened after the conclusion of the manga.

In a 2013 interview Miyazaki seemed to give Hideaki Anno (a key animator on the movie) the green light to pursue a sequel.