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There will be spoilers regarding characters from the end of the manga here.

In Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Kaze no Tani no Naushika) manga, the characters are usually depicted as multi-layered, and developing throughout the series... except Nausicaä herself.

E.g. Kushana goes from blood-thirsty and arrogant to humble and peaceful; the Holy One of the Mani tribe helps Yupa and Asbel escape; Charuka first is loyal to the Emperor, but then decides he is actually loyal to the people, and sees Nausiaä as a saviour of the human race.

Even the Guardian of the Garden changes his mind about Nausicaä and lets her go. Same goes for both sons of the Emperor - they're not flat characters.

Nausicaä, on the other hand, remains the same - stil love the Ohmu, the forest, the people, and everyone else. She remains an optimist, and to an extent, a happy-go-lucky person. We are not shown much of her inner world except how she perceives the forest (positively), the insects (positively), needless deaths (negatively), and so forth. These are more or less all her character traits.

Am I wrong about this? Are there some subtle changes in Nausicaä's character that I did not notice?

  • Don't really remember, but didn't she develop leadership and problem solving skils? – user879 Jun 15 '17 at 6:19
  • @R.Skeeter Not that I could notice. It seemed like her "leadership skills" had to do with her being all hell bent on helping everyone and being nice to everyone. I didn't see how those were leadership skills. – Gallifreyan Jun 15 '17 at 16:32
  • correct me if I am wrong, but at the end they all did what she wanted and adopted her worldview ? She had her breaking point and self doubt but she got over it. She was persuasive, got them all cooperating and living in peace. And she did it in silk gloves, she was 'nice' that's a bonus point. – user879 Jun 15 '17 at 19:57
  • But I don't think there were any changes in her character - that's what I'm speaking about. – Gallifreyan Jun 15 '17 at 19:58
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    I think she grew up, became more responsible and implemented her ideas which made the world better. That is also character growth. But yeah, she's a tiny bit overidealised and mary sue-ish. But that's M for you. – user879 Jun 15 '17 at 20:05
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Her innocence was broken by the end of the manga. She once hoped for humanity to be saved, then she willingly murdered the progenitors even though she knew they would have been the best humanity that everyone hoped for. She recognized her sin and kept the secret of how humans are adapted for the permanently polluted Earth and couldn’t handle the purity of the old world, even though everyone hopes that they’ll see a cleaner world again. Humanity is forever changed and she leaves it up to nature to choose if humanity lives or dies.

She’s not Mary Sue ish just because she’s a good person.

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You might find this of interest: https://thenovelsmithy.com/character-arcs-flat-arcs/

Nausicaa's story is essentially that of a Messiah figure. It's less about her learning and growing as a character, and more about her struggling to save the people she meets and demonstrating the correct path to them. It's a very tricky plot to pull off well --- can easily come off as preachy or cloying -- but Miyazaki manages it. There's two key factors that I think keep Nausicaa from being a Sue -- first, her genuine humility and lack of pretentiousness; and second, that achieving her goals requires a massive amount of effort and struggle on her part. Part of what makes a Sue a Sue is that the fictional world and the writer bend over backwards to give the character what they want and make things easy for them. Nausicaa actually has to work and struggle to achieve her peace; and that makes all the difference.

  • That's a good point, and I see where you're coming from. As a nice coincidence, I just watched a video which analyses Princess Mononoke and gives the example of Ashitaka's lack of reaction to pretty much most things there, simply because it's the viewer who's supposed to react. – Gallifreyan May 5 at 21:49

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