The Great Debate: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

Nausicaa comes in two forms; the anime movie by Studio Ghibli, and the manga by Hayao Miyazaki. So if you were going to pick this up, which version should you give preference to?


Anime- This has every almost bit of the astounding work in the manga. Details on plants and animals is exquisit, as are the details of clothing and individuals, markin them out as unique characters. The animation is quite good, standing up to some newer films, with the action flowing fluidly. The movie backs it up with lovely coloring that really emphasizes differences in plants and people, which you can’t get in the manga because it’s in black and white.

Manga-  This shows off a beautifully detailed world, with individual and varied designs for virtually every person on the page when there is a close-up. The priests’ facial coverings all have individual markings, none repeated but for those in the the Crypt, along with little details such as hand movements that emphasize different words and meanings when they speak. Commoners also show a lot of varience in their designs, dresses having unique designs, and no one really looking very similar. Seeing all of that is quite astounding and pleasing. It’s far more extensive than the anime simply becuase the anime only covers a short part of the manga. Miyazaki doesn’t waste a panel of his manga, each one showing something of beauty or importance, and the pacing is terrific. The panels can be hard to follow in some plces, where it’s unlcear of the direction that he is writing in. It may take a second try to get how to read a page.

Winner: Tie

Both look fantastically good. The anime shows everything off as well as the manga, but in color.

The manga has so much more to see and little visual details that make it a treat, that you just don’t get in the anime.

Both are deserving of the praise they get.


Anime-  Nausicaa is a very character-driven story, and it shows in the depth of the ones presented.  Nothing and no one is really black-and-white, good-or-evil in this. Kushana, the main antagonist, truly believes that she is doing the best for her country, even if it is a dark and bloody path. yet her motives are sympathetic in many ways- she is unable to see herself as more worthy than a war machine, but truly loves and cares for her soldiers. Nausicaa truly wants people and the forest to live in peace with each other, but is fallible, with fits of rage where she can- and does- bloody her hands. The side characters, such as Yupa and Kurotowa, are a little more than bit characters, but don’t get that much character development. But the characters that this does focus on really shine.

Manga- All the characters that appear in the anime are here- and given far more complexity and depth than the anime ever did. Some characters have the same basic personality (Kushana, for instance), but are given different motivations that are equally as believable. The side characters become serious players in their own right, throwaway lines in the anime given real meaning in the actions in the anime as alliances shift and plots hatch. There are far more players at work, to boot, from Kushana’s brothers, to a small boy who becomes the witness for Nausicaa. With this, one or two are skimmed over in importance, but each has a part to play in what’s going on.

Winner: Manga 

The anime cannot beat the amount and depth of characterization that everyone gets in the manga.


Anime- The anime is quite good for what it is- the story of a girl trying to save her homeland from invaders. You have the meeting of two actions and the potential for utter destruction, but the Valley is where it centers on, a strange thing since it is merely a small country with little impact in the grand scheme of things… even if Nausicaa does end up with something important along the way. Some small plot devices do end up being unimportant, and left hanging; it’s hard to realize them, though, when watching the anime. Nothing important to the plot is really wasted, and the story ends up just as touching and moving. It’s a hopeful movie at the end of things, no matter how bad it seems to get.

Manga- This is far more expansive in scope than the anime ever was. Little plot devices bring on a new importance, people and things that were minor take on big roles, and instead of centering on the Valley, this really and truly has the world in danger. The focus is less on the environment and turns toward humanity- the environment is used to supplement that and show it, even if it’s just as important in its new role. It shows people from all the different nations, which gives you multifaceted views of the people living in them, while the themes become much grander (and a bit different). You don’t have vague ideas of the two sides that are fighting; you get right in with the soldiers and people, get to know them and why it’s so important to end the war. And the root of the wars- the rulers- come to the forefront as Nausicaa seeks to keep them from destroying everything that humanity has. It’s a story about being able to keep going, living, taking the good with the bad and surviving with it.

Winner: Manga 

With greater scope, and making a little more sense in how things work, the manga is the way to go.


Anime- When all you want is to protect your home and the ones you love, this is the story to go to. It has an epic feel without being one.

Manga- This is an epic. I’m astounded at the complex story that’s told within seven volumes, and devoured every page. This brought about themes that were touched very lightly on in the anime, really brought them to life, and brought the world to life at the same time. Everything that the anime was trying to say seems to be said better here, and with even greater power.

Winner: Manga

I love them both. They give me different things- one is a story about overcoming adversary and the home,

the other is an epic of great scale. But it’s being an epic that makes the manga shine far brighter than the anime does.

Overall Winner: Manga

If you’re going to check it out, then do the manga. The movie is good, it really is, but it’s an incomplete adaptation and gives a few wrong impressions on what the manga is like. It just doesn’t grab you or have the depth like the manga.


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