Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Japanese: 風の谷のナウシカ Hepburn: Kaze no Tani no Naushika) is a 1984 Japanese animated epic science fantasy adventure film adapted and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, based on his 1982 manga of the same name. It was animated by Topcraft for Tokuma Shoten and Hakuhodo, and distributed by the Toei Company. Joe Hisaishi, in his first collaboration with Miyazaki, composed the film's score. The film stars the voices of Sumi Shimamoto, Goro Naya, Yoji Matsuda, Yoshiko Sakakibara and Iemasa Kayumi.
Far in the future, after an apocalyptic conflict has devastated much of the world's ecosystem, the few surviving humans live in scattered semi-hospitable environments within what has become a "toxic jungle." Young Nausicaä lives in the arid Valley of the Wind and can communicate with the massive insects that populate the dangerous jungle. Under the guidance of the pensive veteran warrior, Lord Yupa, Nausicaä works to bring peace back to the ravaged planet.
Why It Rocks
- The structure of the film is something to be admired. It doesn't play by the three-act structure like most movies do, instead, it defies the structure and doing its own thing, which allows the plot and characters more room to breathe and develop.
- Excellent animation.
- The main female character, Nausicaä, is incredibly interesting, likable, capable, and strong-willed, while still having several flaws and struggling with her beliefs.
- Great voice acting.
- Incredible fight scenes which are very action-packed, intense, and fluid.
- Amazing soundtrack.
- It has a really interesting message about nature and what humans do to nature and nature rising up against the humans.
- Appealing character designs.
- None of the side characters are as good as Nausicaä, but all of them are necessary and add extra emotions and intrigue to this already morally gray story.
- There's a great amount of character development.
- One of the best parts of the movie is how it depicts this conflict as being morally gray. While Nausicaä definitely believes that war is never the answer and needs to stop, the movie doesn't show many of the opposing characters as being irredeemably evil, all of them are people fighting for what they believe in, just like her.
- Great pacing, not to slow and not too fast.
- The designs of the insects that inhabit the Toxic Jungle were amazing, they looked otherworldly and extremely creative, and even scary and intimidating at times.
- Another standout, interesting character is Lord Yupa, who's almost as good as Nausicaä herself.
- This movie established a lot of the tropes that we see prevalent in Hayao Miyazaki's movies, such as environmental themes, anti-war themes, having a great female lead, and blending together fantasy with technology in unique and interesting ways.
- The movie also had some good comedy relief here and there.
- While this movie is great, it's known for not being nearly as good as the manga that it was adapted from, due to them having to fit seven volumes of content into an hour and a half movie.
- While this movie was released before the official formation of Studio Ghibli, it's often considered the first movie from the company. It was also the second movie ever made by Hayao Miyazaki.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind has an 87% critic rating and a 91% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a 4.0/5 on Letterboxd, an 8.1/10 on the International Movie Database (IMDB), an 8.47/10 on MyAnimeList, an 83.65% community approval rating on Kitsu, and a 4.1/5 on AnimePlanet.