The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Title: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind aka Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Topcraft/Tokuma Shoten
Format: Movie; 116 minutes.
Dates: 11 Mar 1984

Synopsis: A thousand years have past since the Seven Days of Fire, which lay in ruins the civilization of mankind. A toxic jungle has engulfed the land, while what remains of humanity dwell in divided tribes on the outskirts in fear of the poisonous jungle and the insects within. Nausicaa, harmonious with nature, strives for a cure and coexistence with the jungle – isolated from the other human rulers who aim to restore mankind to its rightful place using a secret power discovered from the ruins of the lost civilization. With the time of the prophecy at hand, how will humanity lead itself out of its thousand years of darkness?

The Highlights
Story: A masterpiece from one of the greatest story tellers of our time.
Plot: Cleverly done from different perspectives.
Music: Satisfactory; a bit misplaced at times.
Animation: Beautifully done in true Miyazaki fashion.

Like any of Miyazaki Hayao‘s projects, even pre-Ghibli, Nausicaä does not fail to be anything short of a masterpiece. However, be forewarned: the 1980’s localization, renamed Warriors of the Wind should be avoided where possible; its brutal massacre of the film through substantial cuts and inadequate voice acting brought disapproval from even Miyazaki himself. Thankfully a decent localization was released in the U.S. in 2005.

As for the actual work itself, from start to finish the story keeps you hooked. As with most Miyazaki films, we are introduced to a strong, independent female protagonist who is pure at heart and uses her charisma and innocence to discover herself while helping those around her. Nausicaä portrays a pallet of unique characters, realistic yet idealized at the same time. Even the “antagonists” of the story are not viewed as evil, but rather alternative perspectives to which the viewers sympathize. The cast of these characters also brings prestige to the film, including Shimamto Sumi and Nagai Ichiro in Japanese, and Patrick Stewart and Mark Hamill in the English dub.

Miyazaki is no stranger to beautiful artwork and creativity, Nausicaä being one of his finest examples. Although the manga created by his own hand began in 1982, the 7 volume series would take 13 years to complete. However, the message and impact of the story were brought along with his artwork into the 1984 film. Among these, environmentalism is the most predominant message – how we as a society are damaging the Earth. Although some have accused the film of having religious overtones as well, Miyazaki has denied any intention in such a matter.

Nausicaä’s flaws are few, namely that the score does not match up well on many occasions and is shadowed in comparison to any other film by Ghibli. Also, the ending has been debated as to whether or not it leaves the viewer satisfied. I feel the ending was appropriate given the setting and tone of the movie.

Whether you’re a Ghibli fan, an anime fan, or even just a first time viewer, this work will not disappoint. Nausicaä is quite possibly one of the best anime films of all time.

The Rating: 10

Reviewed by: Godai

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