Okay, so this is my first review, and my second favorite anime. I'm a Miyazaki fanatic, so take that into account if you must.
BACKGROUND: The most important thing to know when watching this is that this anime is from 1984 (ironic, right?) and that this is Miyazaki Hayao's second time directing (the first being Lupin III The Castle of Cagliostro, arguably the best Lupin film ever created.) Miyazaki and his producer Suzuki Toshio first met up because Suzuki, the editor of the magazine Animage, wanted some comments from Miyazaki about Lupin and Miyazaki basically told him to stop bothering him. After a while, however,
Miyazaki began talking more with Suzuki and told him ideas that would eventually become two of his greatest stories; Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Princess Mononoke (1997).
Now, I have heard two versions of what happened next. On the Nausicaa DVD bonus features it says that Miyazaki, who had intended to make an anime from the get go, was denied because he did not have a comic to back the feature up, and that the manga was created because of this. However, other sources such as the famous Nausicaa.net (Ghibli's #1 English Fansite), say that Miyazaki intended this to be a manga originally, and that the anime was almost forced upon him. I don't know which one is true, however I would note that Miyazaki's manga continued to run long after the movie was created. If his true intentions were a movie, why make the manga into something so much longer? (Note that the Nausicaa anime adapts the story until midway through the second volume of the manga. There are seven volumes in total. Viz Media makes an excellent English version.)
Either way, the Nausicaa film was Miyazaki's first story that he had written and directed. It should also be noted that after Nausicaa was made, Studio Ghibli was established from the staff who created Nausicaa.
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind was not an anime I expected to like. When I stared at the DVD case and the home screen of the DVD menu, I thought Nausicaa looked like a vulture and that this wouldn't be a fun anime at all, but, you can guess, I was very wrong. My dad and I started watching this kind of late and we didn't realize how long it was. Dad was tired and went to bed halfway through, but I couldn't keep my eyes off the screen.
STORY: The story was unlike anything I had ever seen before. We all know of post-apocalyptic stories set in the far future where man kind has almost been destroyed, but somehow this world was nothing like the other ones I had seen. Instead of mechas and advanced governments, there are giant insects, forests you can't breathe in, and kingdoms with both armored knights and airplanes. The setting is truly bizarre, but so interesting, you almost wish you were there. The theme Man vs. Nature is clearly distinguished in this movie whereas good vs. evil is almost shunned.
ART: I really respect the artwork done in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. I am not going to compare this to modern day animation, because that's just not fair to the movie. This film was created without the help of a single computer, and it still looks this good. The action scenes are detailed enough to keep me satisfied. However, I can't give full points for art, as I laugh myself silly every time I watch the scene where everyone runs over to Nausicaa and hugs her. You see, the little girl wearing pink and red clothes, or strawberry shortcake as I like to call her, runs by about five times. XD Still, I give it a pass.
SOUND: Not much to say, I think that the seiyuu are wonderful in this. The musical score is done by one of my most favorite modern composers, Hisaishi Joe, and I really don't think that it feels eightys -ish at all. Sure we hear a few synths, but I feel it actually kind of works for the movie :) The insect music is really fitting. Although I do believe that this score is not as solid as I would have liked, something that Hisaishi gets better at throughout Ghibli's movies.
As for the Dub, I am not generally a fan of dubs, but this one is done very well. I especially enjoy Shia LaBeouf's voice as Asbel. The only thing I really resent is the pronunciation of Pejite. Peh-gee-teh, not kryptonite Pejite.
CHARACTERS: I mentioned before that my initial impression of Nausicaa felt very unpleasant, but this was the most incorrect judgement I had about the movie. Nausicaa is, in reality, a incredibly wonderful human being. She is benevolent and gentle, the scene where she first befriends Teto is one that I still hold my breath when watching. She is determined to protect what she deems important, but is level headed enough to asses situations thoroughly. However, she is not a saint. She is frightened and angered in the same way as everyone else. I think the best word to describe Nausicaa is human. I believe that Nausicaa herself does grow throughout the course of this movie. If you look at the scene earlier in the movie where she goes berserk at the Torumekian soldiers and compare that to the final scene with her and the Ohm, you can just tell.
Other than our peacemaker/heroine, the rest of the cast is excellent as well. Asbel, Yupa-sama, and Mito are an excellent supporting cast. Yupa-sama is one of the coolest swordsman I've seen, and he is one of the few who really understands how Nausicaa thinks as far as intellectually. Mito and Asbel are less like Nausicaa in nature, as they are prepared to blow up a few ships and kill enemies, but not without cause.
We also have what might be called the "bad guys," Kushana and Kurotowa. However, you might remember me saying earlier that the idea of good vs. evil is shunned in this movie. I stand by that statement because I have seen these characters. Kushana is very human, she has her dedication to her army and her country. Its unfortunate we don't see more of Kushana like we do in the manga, but that can't be helped. Kurotowa may be the funniest character on the set, his slyness truly makes me laugh. These characters show that even those who are branded as "evil" can never really be called that.
ENJOYMENT/OVERALL: Over all, it is a great treat to watch Miyazaki's first story unfold. Miyazaki Hayao, you've done a great job with this movie, even if you weren't satisfied :D It has become my second favorite anime movie.
Please rate as Helpful or Not Helpful, as either one will help me write better reviews in the future.
MANGA, ANIME: Nausicaa was originally a manga with story and art done by Hayao Miyazaki (Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away) that, ironically enough, was only created so that the movie could eventually be made, as Toshio Suzuki, the producer, couldn't get money for a film that wasn't based on a manga. It was serialized in Animage magazine from February of 1982 to March of 1994, and was licensed Stateside by Viz Media, and consists of a total of seven collected volumes.
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind was created before Studio Ghibli actually existed and distributed by
Toei, but is considered to be the first of its movies, and was directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It was released theatrically in Japan on March 4th, 1984. It was first bought Stateside by New World Pictures in the 1980s as a horribly butchered version known as Warriors of the Wind, which caused Ghibli to add a no editing clause to all of its future licensing contracts. When Disney licensed the Ghibli movies, they rereleased the movie in its original uncut format and redid the dub track, coming to DVD on February 22nd, 2005.
STORY: A millenium after the "Seven Days of Fire" that destroyed the world as we knew it, forests of poisonous plants and fungi and giant bugs are spreading through the world, isolating and swallowing human settlements. Nausicaa is the humane princess of one of the few untouched human settlements known as the Valley of the Wind, known for its peaceful inhabitants. However, an airship that crashes in the Valley and its cargo will expose the Valley to the machinations of its larger, more powerful, warlike neighbors...
Nausicaa is considered to be Miyazaki's life's work in many circles of anime fans. And I can honestly believe that; the effort that went into the story in weaving together so many differing subplots into one coherent whole that merges at the story's end. There are, that I can remember off the top of my head, two political subplots, two involving the poisonous forests, two involving weapons to destroy the forest, and probably a few plot threads I'm missing somewhere in there.
The environmental themes can get a bit heavy handed at times, and the fairly black-and-white dichotomy of the characters seems a bit simplistic. Also, you can see Miyazaki archetypes developing in most of the characters; there's the kind, resourceful young heroine (Nausicaa), the older, mature woman who has lost her way but is redeemed in the end (Kushana), the plucky young male sidekick (Asbel), the older wise woman (Obaba) and man (Lord Yupa) mentor figures, and, unfortunately, they aren't characterized much beyond that.
ART: The Ghibli character design conventions are clearly being developed here; big hair, small noses, and a very specific eye style. However, the animation itself is still incredibly exquisite; the backgrounds, Ohmu herd scenes, and the jungle and its creatures are amazingly designed, and the animation sequences themselves are incredibly beautiful.
MUSIC: Joe Hisaishi did the work on the music for this, as he has on all of the Ghibli films since. However, this one is tinged with a little more of 80s influence; there are synthesizers that run rampant through the music, and while they're used to pretty decent effect and blend with the orchestral parts of the pieces, it dates the music.
SEIYUU: I haven't really watched the subbed version of this in quite some time, but, for the most part, from what I can remember, it was a pretty good job on the Japanese end of things, and I recognize some of the seiyuu from other productions (one was Ashitaka in Princess Mononoke, most notably).
VOICE ACTORS: I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm beyond pleased at the English voicework for Nausicaa. Some of the names on the production include Patrick Stewart (Star Trek), Uma Thurman (Kill Bill), Shia LeBeouf (Transformers), Mark Hamill (Star Wars), and Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica), and they all do an amazing job voicing their characters and not making them sound ridiculous or like their voicework doesn't fit the character.
DUB: Again, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I have absolutely no criticism whatsoever for the dubwork on this. Translations are done accurately, there's no intentional flubbing of the original meaning, and it's fairly well done. Yes, some of the expository dialogue and the dialogue that states what they're doing as the character does it (there's a name for it, I'm sure of it) is kind of annoying, but, really, it could be far, far worse.
LENGTH: The movie starts to drag about an hour and a half in, but the creators recognize it and pick up the pace at that time. The overall pacing is slow, but builds towards the climax of the film.
OVERALL: A slower-paced film with an excellent interweaving of subplots into a coherent whole with slightly archetypal Miyazaki characters, beautiful art and animation, if beginning to show the Ghibli character design archetypes, wonderful if slightly dated music, solid seiyuu, and amazing voice acting and dub work in English. Definitely worth a watch.
Nausicaa came out in 1984 and was the 2nd movie ever directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It was also one of only 2 Miyazaki movies that was based on one of his original manga. The other was "The Wind Rises" in 2013. Nausicaa is an unusual movie, so it often gets overlooked and it is probably the single most underrated Miyazaki movie in the US.
A large part of the problem was an absolutely BUTCHERED port of the movie called "Warriors of the Wind" released by Disney in the 1980s. Nausicaa was intended to teach morals to a younger audience, but was NOT purely a children's
movie in the way that Disney executives wanted it to be. 25 minutes of footage including all of the violent scenes were cut out. The anti-war theme was removed. The mutant insects representing nature were changed to be evil and the giant robot representing Nuclear warfare was changed to being presented as good! In effect, "Warriors of the Wind" preached the EXACT opposite message of what Miyazaki intended! A few of Disney's changes were at least understandable in the context of the 1980s and corporate marketing. Nausicaa could hardly be marketed to small children as a "Disney Princess" if she went into a berserker blood rage and brutally murders 4 soldiers with a God Damn medieval war hammer Robert Baratheon style! (this actually happens in the film!) Disney destroyed Nausicaa by trying to change it into purely a small children's film, which it was never intended to be! Fortunately, Nausicaa was FINALLY re-released in the West in its original form...in 2005!
Nausicaa takes place in a post apocalyptic world, several hundred years after a global war destroyed most of the planet's life in just 7 days. The majority of the planet is covered by toxic jungle and dominated by mutant insects. The majority of the planet's soil was so polluted by the war, that the only plants that adapted and survived were highly radioactive and toxic to humans. Although it later turns out that these future flora can be raised to be non-toxic if grown in some of the remaining clean soil. Nausicaa is the princess of the small Wind Valley civilization squeezed between 2 perpetually warring military juggernauts, much like the US and USSR. Nausicaa is one of very few humans left alive who still believes that nature hasn't turned its back on mankind and works to reconcile mankind with nature. She desires to learn how to live with the mutant insects and de-toxify the forest rather than try exterminate the insects and burn down all the forests to make way for more cities. Nausicaa unwillingly becomes involved in a massive war between the 2 neighboring superpowers and must stop a plot to resurrect one the giant, organic, WMDs that caused the apocalypse in the first place. Nausicaa must find a way to both end the war, and stop the insects from wiping out mankind, which is a pretty tall order for most princesses! I don't want to spoil too much, but the plot, adventure, world building, and allegories are absolutely spectacular for a young adult movie, especially factoring in the time in which this was written.
Themes, messages, and execution: 10/10
Nausicaa takes on many themes and messages for a young adult film. Nausicaa broke the 1980s mold of American "good guys" and "evil" Soviets and instead presented both military superpowers as deeply misguided, but not innately evil. In fact, even the film's villains are morally ambiguous and have sympathetic characteristics, which was completely outside the norm for most movies in the mid 1980s, ESPECIALLY movies aimed at young people. The movie is un-apologetically feminist, but not in a way that seems forced, preachy, or obnoxious. I don't think I need to explain that this wasn't normal in 1980s Japan where female characters were either getting constantly captured (Hi Yuria from Hokuto) raped, or both. Usually it was both. Nausicaa managed to have a strong environmentalist message without turning to crap like Captain Planet or fucking Birdemic. That is actually a lot harder than you might think! There are very few actually GOOD environmentalist movies. Most make the mistake to be simultaneously obnoxious and preachy, while at the same time blaming pollution on a few "bad guys" instead of mankind as a whole. This leads viewers to mistakenly think that they aren't contributing to the problem and don't need to do anything, unless they are a corporate scumbag dumping tons of toxic waste into the ocean for the lulz! Nausicaa also manages to teach a strongly pacifistic message during a time when nearly ALL popular movies were pro war like Rambo 2 and 3, Red Dawn, Commando, etc. WE are good and WE must exterminate THEM because THEY are BAD! That was the basic message of nearly every fucking American movie in the 1980s. Nausicaa not only bucked nearly every social trend of its time, but it delivered Miyazaki's personal values and opinions in a way that was nuanced and well done instead of propaganda beaten in with a meat tenderizer (see 1980s anti-drug commercials). If you are politically to the right, you MAY take a disliking to Nausicaa since it is probably the most leftwing film NOT directed by Sergei Eisenstein. However, it is an extremely well made film, so you SHOULD appreciate it no matter what your political opinions are. For example, I am not politically far right, but I think Triumph of the Will is on a purely technical level one of the best films ever made. I will even begrudgingly admit Gone With the Wind is a great film...although I like Triumph a lot more. Basically, don't listen to someone who says Nausicaa sucks due to its political leanings. That is bullshit!
The art and specifically the fluidity of the animation isn't quite on par with some of Ghibli's later works. It doesn't look nearly as pretty as Mononoke or Spirited Away. However, it looks AMAZING relative to most other anime of the 1980s. Only a few 1980s anime movies like Akira and arguably Ghost in the Shell really look significantly better than Nausicaa.
The Wind Village flute theme will get stuck in your head for months! I deduct 1 point for deadly ear worm status!
Nausicaa is an underrated masterpiece! The fact that it is rated on MAL below the likes of Free!, the 1990s version of Hunter X Hunter, and Code Geass, is in my opinion an absolute disgrace! Nausicaa is one of very few anime movies good enough for me to actually go out and buy. I REALLY don't own many anime, but I own a copy of Nausicaa. I basically can't praise this movie enough. If you haven't seen it yet, go out and do so. Also if you had the misfortune of having to see "Warriors of the Wind" PLEASE go and watch the original. It is a LOT better!
When I talk about Miyazaki, I usually speak about how he tends to just narrowly miss the mark of making an amazing film. Nausicaa is a perfect example of how Miyazaki narrowly misses the mark of creating a truly magnificent film. However, Nausicaa shows perfectly Miyazaki's attitudes towards living with nature instead of trying to exploit it.
Story: The story isn't interesting, well, the basic storyline isn't all that much to really care about. There are a bunch of Deus ex Machina (god from the machine) that just really, really bugged me. Nausicaa herself is a basic Miyazaki protagonist, she doesn't
understand why the evil technologically advanced people are doing what they're doing, but she knows that she has to stop them. But again, the magnificence of the story is brought out by how Miyazaki shows how technology can, and shouldn't, be used to defeat nature. He shows it incredibly well, however it's never shown in a subtle way, sometimes it feels really forced.
Art: Ghibli. Almost every character is a archetype. The same stupid beards and the same faces for every female and every male character. It gets REALLY boring. There are some interesting creatures, but they're nothing to really make this anime's art any more impressive.
Sound: I honestly didn't enjoy the music a lot of the time, especially now it feels incredibly boring and dated. You kind of get used to it, but it really ages this already old anime.
Character: I felt that all the characters in Nausicaa were stereotypes. Unlike in Mononoke, the characters in this anime felt one-sided and boring. I didn't believe that they stood for anything and they certainly never grew or changed. I found their interactions predictable and I found myself getting bored quite a lot of the time. But it was interesting to see the stock characters that Miyazaki has created. If you watch all of his films it's very interesting to see the same characters in all of his different films. Another thing that makes Nausicaa subpar to Mononoke or Spirited Away (Miyazaki's Masterpieces) is that there is a VERY clear distinction of good and evil. This was the greatest flaw for me, the fact that there was a good and evil really kind of bugged me because it really detracted from the man vs nature theme.
Enjoyment: I both like and dislike this anime. For me it reaffirms my belief that Miyazaki is not a perfect filmmaker. But I like how he grows, and Nausicaa is perfect for showing his growth as a director. I found myself bored for a lot of this anime, but I enjoyed certain scenes.
Many people I know claim that this anime is a "classic" but I'm not sure if I agree with them. It is certainly not an amazing anime, but it shows the attitudes of Miyazaki in the most straightforward way. However I do believe that it's something that people should watch.
This is definitely the best you can get in two hours.
Story: it does not follow the dreamy and surreal sequencing of the newer Ghibli films; after watching this and comparing it with other Ghibli films it was almost as if Miyazaki had written everything he wanted to say in this earlier film. If you are interested in Miyazaki's themes you will appreciate everything tied up together and presented beautifully (and logically) for you.
Art: amazing depictions of nature; made horrendous creatures look beautiful "naturally" even though they are made up. The ending contain the "original" warm fuzzy scenery that inspires those like haibane renmei.
Sound: The "la la la" song was annoying at first but taken in context it is just brilliant to have a lonely, childish voice sing amidst everything that is going on. Overall everything is great except for the use of outdated electronical voicing - I think it is just as good as Laputa but less commercial.
Character: some characters are great but others are just Ghibli.
Overall/enjoyment: I watched this when I was 5 and I hated it. After I grew up I wasn't going to watch this (since I remembered my feeling towards it) but I sat through it and ended up liking this so much that I had to go around looking for any plot details I might have missed. Reading the manga didn't help; this is the real thing right here.
A few years back, when someone would ask me what was my favorite movie, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was always the first one that came to mind. As time passed, my answer changed. Not because I didn’t think it was the best anymore, only because my memory failed me and I felt uncomfortable suggesting a movie that I didn’t remember. I began feeling doubtful after few friends (to which I recommended the movie) thought of it as nothing special. Is it really that great ? By fear of being disappointed in the movie, I avoided watching it again. Nearly five years later,
I finally succumbed to the temptation and God it was glorious !
The unbalanced world is a common theme in entertainment, especially for animes. Since Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä aired in 1984, we can probably forgive Miyazaki for the lack of originality. The slow-paced movie brings a series of revelations that let you gradually understand the root of the problem. Because each part of Nausicaä's adventure is a little piece of the puzzle, the viewer gets the pieces at the same time as she does. Hence, it is difficult to fully grasp the situation before the last part. I found the story compelling, but it was the unity of all the aspects that made this movie a work of outstanding artistry.
The art may be incomparable with recent anime, but I think that old nostalgic style is timeless. The design of the villages, planes, uniforms, forests (in fact everything) are spot on for the fantasy genre. Sometimes animes don’t let the viewer simply look at the landscape, they put in too much action or change scene too fast. Miyazaki does the exact opposite. With almost no action and sometimes not even sound, he lets you admire the drawings and animation... knowing, almost arrogantly, that the movie he created was a masterpiece that could speak for itself.
And don’t get me started on the music ! I don’t know if I remembered the songs from 5 years ago or I listened to them elsewhere (YouTube’s Gibli mix maybe), but they all left me deep emotions (goosebumps x 3). The main classical music theme may not be for everyone, however I don’t think it’s intense enough to change the overall feel of the movie.
All the characters are pretty plain throughout the movie. We can associate a few characteristics to each of them, but I don’t see any developments whatsoever. However, they act consistently with their personally when being confronted with different events. Like almost all of Miyazaki’s movies, I feel like the simple, easy-to-understand characters leave us diving faster and deeper into the story.
Compared to the world Nausicaä lives in, this movie is in complete balance and I sense it will be leaving a lasting impression on me, for 5 years once more...
In many ways, Nausicaa was Studio Ghibli's prototype film. It introduced many factors that would become staples for the studio, the pro-environmentalist message, the strong female protagonist, the highly critical view of violence and, of course, the gorgeous artwork. Nausicaa was produced by Topcraft before the Studio went bankrupt, got bought by Miyazaki and Takahata and became Studio Ghibli. Since Nausicaa was the film to establish the Ghibli formula, and since most of the creative team behind it, including the writer, Miyazaki, went on to found Studio Ghibli, many people count it as the Studio's first work. Let's take a look and see how well
it holds up.
Our story opens in the toxic jungle, a dense area with poisonous plants and spores everywhere that giant insects make their habitat. We're introduced to Yupa, a man who wanders around the toxic jungle trying to unravel its mysteries, and our hero, the young wind rider, Princess Nausicaa. They return to the wind valley, a haven where humans can still live peacefully thanks to the wind keeping spores from settling there. They catch up for a while, but all isn't well. An aircraft crashes and they find themselves in possession of a giant pulsating cocoon. One desired by the powerful armies of two kingdoms, Pejite and Tolmekia. Nausicaa finds herself and her valley caught in the middle of the conflict and has to find a way to safeguard her home and stop the creature in the cocoon from being released. The story structure in this film is impeccable. The pacing is perfect. The silent moments are used superbly. Even the environmentalist message is excellently handled. As is the anti-violence component. Neither one comes across as preachy or like they've otherwise been dumbed down. Which is weird given that those are both themes that tend to be done very poorly, especially in movies for kids. The world is spectacularly built and a lot of thought clearly went into all the elements. There's really nothing the film does badly. Although, if I were going to nitpick, I might say that the ending is a little cheesy. But even then it's not in a way that's annoying or feels contrived.
The characters, also excellent. Nausicaa is one of the best protagonists I've seen in a long time. The antagonists aren't just petty or evil for the evils, they have actual motivations that make sense and substance. Even the more minor characters who you don't see much of feel like actual people. And any named character is going to have a reason to be there. There's no one who's extraneous.
The art is amazing. Especially for a film that's nearly thirty years old. The world is vibrant and beautiful. The backgrounds are stunning. The character designs look nice and the tech just looks really cool. This is simply a gorgeous film.
The film has a really strong cast. Shimamoto Sumi, Naya Goro, Sakakibara Yoshiko... everyone really. The music is... enchanting is probably the best term. It's always perfectly suited to the situation and serves to just immerse you in the action. And the film is already incredibly enthralling.
The ho-yay factor is a 1/10. There really isn't any.
Nausicaa of the valley of the wind is simply brilliant. It's an excellent film with amazing visuals, a compelling story, unforgettable characters, spectacular music and excellent acting. It does everything right and any complaints I might make about it are very minor. Final rating: a perfect ten. If you haven't seen it, make it a point to. Next week, I'll look at a more recent Ghibli film, Ponyo.
Nausicaa, I have a feeling that this review is going to be long…
So everybody seems to love this movie and those that don’t can’t seem to find a plausible explanation to why they didn’t enjoy it, well today I’m here to help you discover why you felt that, and why this movie didn’t reach you.
People judge animations by only looking at the amount of entertainment/joy/emotions it gave to each of them, but the truth is that each anime has his high and low points, so just giving a 10 because your friends told you it was the best or just based in your inner favoritism
doesn’t get you to the real point.
Other important thing I need to say: I don’t measure animes only based in his time of release. I mean, when I was young The Power Rangers were like the world to me, well nowadays I simple can’t say the same and I can see the flaws the show had, so it’s important to understand how the magic continues to work through time when we’re talking about a classic, and how affect us today.
Nausicaa was released in Japan in 1984 and it was really something amazing and different at that time, since it brought some important themes like the after-war, the environment, and how the notion of pollution that our so industrialized and technologic world could bring. And these themes were brought to the family space with a mature lookout and a gorgeous setting for that time.
One year later it was released in US under a stupid name, a depressing re-edition, and a sad dub, so basically, most people got really evolve by this movie when the name of Miyazaki started to spread out and gather fans with Mononoke-Hime (1995) and ten years later, in 2005, a good English re-released version came out, and this space of time between 1995-2005 left many fans curious so they decided to take a look at the manga… and I must tell you, it’s much more dense, exciting and interesting than the movie!!
Why? Because we need to understand the motives, the intentions and motivations of each character to understand why they do what they do, and the movie fails in this point.
Having in count that many read the manga, and already had a background setting of the story they give this movie a 10 because they can fully understand the story! So, I’m not going to judge this animation based on the manga, I’m going to clear my mind and make a review only to the movie itself!
I’m not going to say much about the good aspects, because there’s already many people praising it, I’m just going to say that the animation was very good for its time and even today is good; the thematic is interesting and still fits in our polluted world; the heroine is an amazing character capable of understanding and fulfils it’s role (although there’s some issues there too); there are no true villains in it since we’re talking about nature vs human nature, we might blame mankind but not completely because mankind need creativity and progress or degenerates… so this movie is GOOD in all this aspects, other important thing is that it actually follows the basics of a dystopian world and for all that I truly praise it.
Now let’s look at the bad side:
a) The most important thing – setting – is the first issue having in count the environmental crisis is not so well explored. You see this strange world filled with toxic spores in a jungle ruled by insects, but you never actually see anyone being choked by the air; you never see any insect devouring or biting a human – and this makes the setting completely superficial! And where are the other animals? Dead? Is it only bugs and Teto?? And, let’s face it! You, the guy/girl who can’t stand a fly or a beetle in your own house is going to cheer for the victory of the bugs?? Well, unless you’re a fanatic for bugs, you wouldn’t want them in your place, even when they represent something like being the protectors… So, who are you calling villains here?
Other problem with the setting: the injuries are rare; everyone seems to be pretty damn good avoiding damage (the almighty Yupa!!) and the blood is so scanty that can’t even make a good impact (well, family purposes). Even the ones that die don’t even attach any feeling to the viewer – you don’t know anything about them to feel sorry! You had like 5 minutes of the movie with Nausicaa’s father and Lastelle! Who cares about them when the whole movie is only focused in one and single person!! – again, superficial!
b) The story itself with the slow pace don’t seem to engage much the audience expectation, and that’s why some say “it’s boring!”. The catharsis seems somewhat weak, because of the issues I’m pointing here and some background sounds forgotten in important scenes;
c) The heroine – Nausicaa is also a problem - although she shows to have everything to be a great character, there’s a lack of impact in her! And when she shows confidence it’s in an excessive way, much unreal! But the fights are not easy because the opponent is strong – human nature – and she too used violence because she’s human!
In an environmental movie she appears riding a flying machine (!?) and what are we suppose to think? That they move by solar energy? Or by the wind, even when she’s in the jungle of spores where there’s no wind? If it was a relic left by the industrialization world isn’t she, our heroine, polluting the air too?
Nausicaa takes things from dead Ohm’s carcass to recycle it for tools (and maybe weapons are implied)? Yes, at the beginning is there when she hits the dead carcass shield with the ceramic sword… human nature can’t stop creating, recycling, progressing by the other things coast, it’s within us.
And this theme also guide me to other important matter: Mononoke-Hime is different from this one because the hero is the forest -> you see how the forest/nature see us (mankind); Nausicaa is the complete opposite -> is how humans see the forest – and each one of us see the forest differently, and this is why this movie is better than Mononoke!
Humans are moved by intentions, feelings, memories and motivations. When they look at the forest they have these 4 aspects in count – or either they want to enjoy it, or destroy it – and this response to nature will also suffer transformation within us if it’s either a jungle/swamp or a beautiful landscape.
Humankind needs progress (that’s why dystopia worlds happen) but it’s hard to conjugate nature within this progression, and I came to my final issue…
d) The rise – there isn’t any in the end! And this is very important; you want to see a solution to this dark world! Where’s the “chance” of rising? With the resurrection of the princess? I would pretty much prefer that she died and the solution appeared! But well, the wind came back again, and each one went to his beginning place, and I don’t believe the weaponry and industrialization ceased nor the constant vengeance ended…
Exciting all the way, original, unique, you might be bored the first 15-20 minutes or so but when the "crash" happens this movie goes full-force into the action, drama, sci-fi, and environmental philosophy. It's really good. Miyazaki is a known environmentalist, this was his first movie, and his first smash hit. He does talk about the environment but he doesn't shove it down your throat. It's just a really good sci-fi adventure that doesn't get the appreciation it deserves these days.
Let's face it. Nausicaa is from the 80's. It is not going to hold a candle to
newer anime like Princess Mononoke, Gurren Lagann, and Death Note. The character designs are a little on the simplistic side (and Nausicaa isn't a size 0 like so many other modern anime heroines) but the attention to detail in the scenery, backgrounds, the jets, and the insects (oh! THE INSECTS!!) is just fabulous. The settings and the machinery all look great but the INSECTS! are amazing. Giant insects of all shape and form. Very nice.
The music. Wow. Okay. Just wow. You have to hear it to believe it. There is some wierd techno and world beat stuff in the first quarter of the movie, and it makes some of the earlier scenes sound like a video game. That was kind of annoying but it did fit well with what was happening on screen. For the rest of the film you get to hear really really nice orchestral pieces and creepy eerie background music and it's all just so enhancing! But the real stand-out is this one "song" in the movie. I will not tell you anymore, because this "song" plays quite an important role in the storyline and in Nausicaa's life. But it's a pretty, somewhat haunting, child-tune...definetely memorable.
Oh and the voice-acting. It's great. If you watch the 2009 re-release of it (which is the full uncensored and uncut movie with better voice acting) you will like it. Shia Labeouf, Uma Thurman, Alison Lohman...they all do a really good job. And Mark Hamill plays a small role in the film. You might no him as the Joker from Batman.
You won't be doing facepalms. Because the characters behave rationally and realistically. No one's shallow. Nausicaa...is amazing. She's a true heroine. She's actually my favourite female anime character but that's besides the point. She's a great person to look up to. Why? I can't say, it would spoil the movie. Lord Yupa is pretty kick-ass though. The villain is pretty awesome. She has a good motive behind what she is doing. She's a worthy antagonist to someone as cool as Nausicaa.
I like to watch Nausicaa as much as I can. It's a very enjoyable movie. You go on an adventure everytime you watch it. I think this is Miyazaki's best film.
The ending I have mixed feelings about. Don't get me wrong, it was a satisfying end but I was a little bit confused by it and I didn't think it was like an awesome amazing ending. The ending doesn't compare to Miyazaki's other movies like Spirited Away and Porco Rosso. But I noticed that anime-movies and series-seem to be bad at tying up their stories. I don't remember the last time I watched an anime with a good ending. But I don't think I would have changed Nausicaa's ending.
Watch this movie. It's very good and it's a classic. I am extremely looking forward to reading the manga.
I had the fortune of getting to see "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" on the big screen (for the first time ever!) in stark, 35mm film. It looked unbelievably beautiful, especially for a cartoon made in the 80's. Sure, it still had that 80's anime look to it and the soundtrack was totally 80's, but up there on the big screen, I don't know, it kinda took my breathe away.
The story of "Valley of the Wind" is pretty much like all his stories, which is the films strongest feature. Miyazaki knows how to tell a story. He creates these worlds, that he
has complete control over, he can do whatever he wants too with these characters, creatures his heart desires. He could make them epics like Peter Jackson with the LOTR trilogy. But that's not how Miyazaki in visions these places. His fascination with airplanes and the world of the sky plays the biggest part in how he presents his films. I mean, it pretty much says it in the title, "Valley of the Wind" so you know it will have something to do with the sky and it does.
This film is almost like a model for his later films like "Howel's Moving Castle" and "Porco Rosso" that you have awesome air battles and cool looking air ships of all different kinds. Miyazaki's love of nature is also the prototype for this story and may be his best take on keeping our world clean. the "Toxic Forrest" represents what humans have done to the planet. Not only killing most of the wildlife with the exception of insects, but also set the world back a hundred years in terms of technology. This film is set in the far future, but people use swords as main weapons. So not only is it a solid and entertainingly beautiful anime, but its also dark and at times a bloody take on what humans will do to each other and the world around them in order to gain power.
For me, what lies at the heart of this film, just like in all Miyazaki films, is that melancholy urge for adventure. This is represented through travel through sky, something that all his characters in later films would use as their main transportation. It's a world I can get lost in for days, and this was the beginning of the beautiful collaboration, between Miyazaki and the love of flying.
So this is it, the anime that "created" Studio Ghibli.
Today, we all know the usual concept of an environmental fantasy story. An all-loving hero (or heroine) tries to stop stupid militaristic people from destroying nature and therefore endangering the human race as well. In the 1980s this was a message that needed to be put out there, even if it meant to be a little more direct with it. Nausicaä does a pretty good job in putting its message into an entertaining story that does not feel too heavy and doesn't get boring either. The ending is a little farfetched, but its in typical fairytale
fashion, so it is pretty much what you expect and there is no need to be disappointed by it. However, after so many years of environmental education, Nausicaä can feel a tad forced at times.
Lovely, colorful and detailed. Ghibli is a name that stands for animation quality and rightfully so. For a movie that is over 30 years old now, it still looks fresh and enjoyable. The character design is not very diverse, but they all look good, especially Nausicaä herself. The backgrounds are amazing as always and the animation fluent. It only really falls a little flat when compared to later Miyazaki works, but that is kind of an unfair thing to do. Comparing its age to its quality, there is hardly something they could've done better.
The soundtrack has a lot of different sounding pieces, so it's kind of a hit or miss thing. For me personally, most of the tracks sounded pretty cool, though they didn't always fit the scene. The key scenes however all got beautiful, fitting songs attached to them. The voice actors all do a pretty good job, I especially enjoyed Iemasa Kayumi as Kurotawa with his snarky attitude.
The whole movie revolves around Nausicaä, so it was essential to make her as likeable as possible. And she is. I mean, her character archetype has been done to death by now (and even before Nausicaä), but if a characters actions and reasons are coherent and make sense, that is not a real problem. I for once wanted her to succeed and felt bad for her whenever things went wrong, that's the best thing you can achieve. The rest of the cast did its job, but let's be honest, this movie is a one man...er, girl show. Which is a shame, because some of them seemed interesting, but they hardly have the time to shine.
This is a beautiful movie that stood the test of time, like so many Ghibli movies do. I wouldn't call myself a fan, but I can acknowledge their quality. While I found Nausicaä to be one of the most likeable main characters I've encountered, the focus on the message was a bit much for me at times. It's a good and important one, but I prefer things to be a little more subtle. Nonetheless, I was entertained well and would watch Nausicaä again.
Nausica of the valley of the wind is based on manga by the same name written and illustrated by hayao myazaki ,the success of this movie paved the way for the foundation of studio ghibli. the story takes place in a post apocalyptic world after one thousand years of the destruction of the the industrial civilization the opening credit summarizes all the back story and
even give us a glimpse of what is going to happen in the movie, now a toxic jungle is spreading and threaten to bring the human race into extinction by its lethal spores and to make things worse this jungle is inhabited by giant insects that act Like guardians to the jungle and attack whoever try to harm the jungle or its insects ,the story revolve around a small country called the valley of the wind and it's princess nausica and her struggle to insure the safety of her people in the middle of a war between two other nations and to keep harmony between human and nature . the setting is strange and bizarre from knights claded in armour yet they use guns ,airships and tanks in battle to lakes of acid and vast wastelands ,to the creepy insects ,but it works well because it is detailed enough to make us invested in this world and its people ,we see how the people of the valley live ,how they use the wind of their valley by building windmills and use the shells of the dead insects to make tools and equipment . the character are diverse and likeable ,they give the story the needed amount of conflict that make it interesting and keep the viewer attention , most of them are morally grey ,each have their Own reasons to do what they do,heck even nausica which most of the time is depicted as a saint or a Christ figure is flawed you will know that when In a moment of rage she take a sword and kill multiple soldiers thus making her a flawed heroin and not one dimensional boring main character,other interesting characters are kushana the leader of the tolmekian army ,lord yoba who is a top tier badass warrior and a father (or uncle ) figure to nausica,also there is the old woman who would deliver some of the most memorable lines in the movie,all the character will have their moments to shine even the most secondary of them ,technically there is no main villain just different groups of people fighting each other for the greater good of their nations and each doing what he considered the right thing. as for the art and animation it is typical ghibli art style if you are familiar with other myazaki works you will notice many characters resemble characters found in other myazaki works like future boy Conan and Laputa,what I like about the character design is how it manages to depict beautiful women without over-sexualizing them when you look at nausica and kushana you can immediately tell both are pretty but with no boobs that defy gravity ,myazaki make sure to keep his female characters innocent and pure , and never let them turn into sex toys. the animation is from 80's which some would consider it old but compared to other anime of its time it's pretty good the only movie that beats it in terms of animation and from the same era is akira, my only problem was that during the beginning of the movie the colour of nausica legs made her look like she was running around with bare butt but later on the movie they changed the colour to blue and fix it. the musical score is composed by Joe hisiashi and as expected it's among his best and the opening theme is memorable and amazing I've even downloaded it and listen to it frequently,i almost forgot i watched it in the ENG DUB because it is fantastic the voice acting is suberb just hear lord yoba voice and the old woman voice and you will know what i mean it is one of the best english dub i've ever watched .
Nausica of the valley of the wind is an environmental epic with strong female lead ,awesome flying machines, terrifying creatures and a grim fate facing humanity, it's one of the best myazaki movies and one of my favourite anime of all time.
Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä comes up with a very interesting setting that doesn't get enough development.
Instead the main character is thrown into a journey in which she fights for humanitarian and environmental goals. The morality behind this anime is quite heavy handed and the characters are really basic, making this a rather dull watch in modern times, although at the time the sheer novelty (for the average viewership) of the setting might have been enough. This movie ages poorly because of that.
The animation in this quite good. It's a mix of a lot of hard work along with dated artwork (which is by no
means a bad thing) and style.
Although it probably has historical importance, it fails to match today's standards. However discovering the setting and enjoying the animation makes this well worth the watch.
In emerging from the hallucinatory reading of the eponymous manga, absolute masterpiece of Miyazaki, I took the risk re watch in the wake this movie adaptation, or rather free adaptation of a little more than the first volume (of seven)...
Miyazaki has always favored heroines to heroes. Without necessarily talking about feminist artist, stories lend themselves much more to highlight the qualities embodied in all times by female figures greatly missing in this world. Nausicaä is in this sense a perfect illustration.
What about Nausicaa? This is the absolute heroine of Miyazaki, embodying innocence, compassion, love, distress, empathy, courage, indomitable will to triumph peace in a world
plagued by war. One can legitimately find in it the mirror image of Mononoke, but also a Kiki strand by its ability to be loved and her exhilaration, a zest of Chihiro due to its overwhelming initiatory his view of his world, a pinch of innocence of Sheeta, plus a good dose of fearlessness of Fio ...
What about the movie? It summarizes all the anguish of Miyazaki. A world ravaged by pollution and conflicts ... A humanity still pugnacious, unable to learn from mistakes ... And Nausicaä. Princess of the wind, guardian of the valley, the face of his people, in communion with nature and insects guardians of Fukai, deadly forest still trimming a little more on human territory ... His adventures take us in a whirlwind of emotions with a strong inclination to the mystical ... more scenario unfolds, the more the viewer that we have faith in Nausicaä.
While dating from 1984, the movie remains superb, twirling and dynamic. The detail is not as advanced as its subsequent productions, but nothing harmful. Music signed by Joe Hisaishi, as always, is wonderful and powerfully evocative, however, we regret very 80's orchestration, with great fanfare synthesizers (violins and pianos including ...).
Despite the comparison with the Manga, I come out of the film with a smile and serene soul. The magic continues despite the simplicity of the plot in relation to the manga.
But would it have been really adaptable? I highly doubt it.
Nausicaä is in any one of my favorite heroines of the universe Miyazaki.
I first watched "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds" when I'd only watched a couple of films that are directed by Miyazaki. I was blown away at the time, and thought it was the best thing he's done. Now that I've seen a lot more of his films, I can conclude that... it still is one of the best things he's done.
More dramatic, more intense than Miayazaki's normal work, "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds" is aimed an older audience. The prelude, with the wind blowing across the uninhabitable wastlands, is a memorable one, and the desolate scene captures the title perfectly (although
the masks that the people from that scene wore made them look like dogs from a Hanna Babera cartoon, which confused me for a bit). This is followed by the opening credits that uses ancient civilization style paintings to tell a prophecy that foreshadows events to come. Right from the start, everything about this film is eye catching. And from the terrifying sights of the stampeding Ohmu herd to the emotional scene at the acid lake that made me wince; from the flashback of Nausicaa's childhood to the tear jerking finale, "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds" is just full of memorable and touching moments. The story is epic and imaginative, but feels incomplete - perhaps the manga was incomplete at the time of animation or something, but the film doesn't really feel self contained despite already being longer than most other animated films. I'd like to know what happens after the film ends and also see some more about the background to the conflict shown in the film.
Even though many people view "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds" to be Miyazaki's first outing for Studio Ghibli, and even though it's generally considered to be part of the Ghibli collection, the film was actually made prior to the studio being founded. Being one of Miyazaki's earlier works, although it does have some of the "Miyazaki aura" about it, it also feels refreshingly different at the same time - like it was made before he discovered his "winning formula" and started sticking to it. This is probably why this film possesses a kind of rawness and intensity, and it's something that I really like about it. However, I'm sorry to say that the human character designs are very Miyazaki-esq even back then, especially with Nausicaa herself looking like all the other female leads in all the other Miyazaki films. What's more, because the film is quite grim at times, the conventional Miyazaki character designs feels a little out of place.
Nausicaa is probably one of the best heroines Miyazaki has ever created. Not only does she prove to be a worthy princess, constantly doing the best for her people, but she's also ready to lend a helping hand to others in need: people she doesn't know; people who have done her wrong and even non-human creatures. Although at first she annoyed me a bit with some bland monologues such as "my heart is pounding", I was soon won over by her qualities of intelligence, compassion and bravery etc. And the fact that she is not prone to making mistakes (as shown when she loses control of herself and goes into a rage) just serves to make her more human. Of course, no hero or heroine would be complete without that self sacrificing quality, and it’s obvious that Nausicaa has it by the bucketload. I think her willingness to put her body on the line and sacrifice herself for the sake of others is what makes the film such an emotionally engaging one.
Aside from the character designs, the animation is very good in general. The alien creatures that inhabit the world look amazing - I especially liked the fluid, worm like movements of the Ohmu (when they're not in stampede mode). The art is very detailed, and the bleakness of the settings really comes across in the scenery. However, the hand to hand combat sequences are somewhat lacklustre, probably not helped along by the cartoony character designs. The aerial battles are also less than convincing - the execution is okay, but the difficulty those massive planes have in dealing with some tiny little gunship comes off as a little odd. At the end of the day, I guess combat sequences just aren't Miyazaki’s forte.
The environmental undertones are clear for all to see, with the story being set in a post apocolyptic world that's the result of destructive human activities. What's interesting is that, over a decade later, Miyazaki directed "Princess Mononoke", and that is often considered to be a perfected version of "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds" due to to its more mature understanding of the environmental issues. Compared to "Princess Mononoke", the finger pointing that goes on in this film does feel a little naive and preachy. But the strange thing is, despite all the flaws in this early prototype of Miyazaki's, or perhaps because of them, "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds" strikes a chord with me that the more polished "Pincess Mononoke" never quite did.
With its mismatched style, incomplete story and naive environmental messages etc, "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds" is very much an unrefined gem. But a rough diamond is still a diamond, and this film has something about it that allows it to outshine most if not all the better made Ghibli films. A must watch for any fan of Miyazaki or Studio Ghibli.
Firstly, I am a huge fan of Studio Ghibli, and this movie kind of automatically hits home for me because of this. I am also a lover of vintage anime animation, and I can really appreciate that here. What we're shown of the world is vast, and the concept and phenomena present in this film is very interesting to say the least. I love the theme of nature and how it is presented throughout the film. With that said, though, I will say this movie is a bit below the standard of a good Hayao Miyazaki film. Poor character depth and a very rushed ending
somewhat bring down a very strong build-up. Overall though it is still a thoroughly enjoyable film, as Studio Ghibli films are meant more so to convey a sense of magic in it's teaching of lessons rather than be a deep, psychological piece. I would still recommend this film to any lover of magical, vivid anime movies.
Miyazaki's first work he can 100% call his own, Nausicaa really set the standard for all-age anime cinema a notch up from Castle of Cagliostro. This anime goes down to be one of the most influential with its environmental message in a post-apocalyptic world. Unlike many anime before it, the cast of characters is huge, the plot complex, and the scope is epic, redefining what anime can do.
There are small problems, some dealing with the dialogue. There is often needless dialogue where Nausicaa talks to herself, explaining things to the audience. Examples:
"It came off!"
"It even chipped a ceramic sword!"
Yes, Nausicaa. We know. We
can figure it out ourselves. This expositional dialog is childish and distracting, and would be better off removed.
The music is hit and miss. A lot of the music is 80's keyboards, and some of it is beautiful orchestra. I think the orchestrated music is amazing, and so I can forgive it. (Maybe someday. I'll forgive you someday, Nausicaa. Someday. =p)
Although the animation pales in comparison to Miyizaki's later work, it's the story and the well-developed world that makes this a classic. It's as enjoyable as eating a nice, fresh, slab of greasy delicious bacon in the morning before going to school. Yes, it's that good. Buy it, and forget about its faults. It's an old movie, 1984 for cryin' out loud.
I kept this review as spoiler-free as possible and marked the section you may wish to skip if you don't want anything spoiled at all. This review is not nostalgically biased as I watched the movie for the first time in 2017 just before writing this, neither I am a dedicated Miyazaki fan or have anything against his work.
The overall score of 6 means that I found it to be a fine movie. It had some issues that stopped me from really liking it when all's said and done, but it captured my imagination and I was not indifferent, nor did I dislike it.
Just like some other Miyazaki movies, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind features three dominant themes: pacifism (belief that people should coexist in peace), environmentalism (belief that people should coexist in harmony with their natural environment), and fascination with flight. Which are all really cool themes if you ask me. The key difference in this particular movie is the setting, which is a futuristic post-apocalyptic wasteland. This setting is beautiful and full of potential, however the way Miyazaki tells his environmentalist story doesn't suit this setting. This story suits the spirit world setting of Princess Mononoke much better.
--- THE BAD ---
(the function of Toxic Jungle, fantastical solutions in a sci-fi setting, Giant Warrior plot, the ending)
(1) The Toxic Jungle is probably the most important and interesting element in this story, and you will hear me praising it's beauty later on. But first, I have a few problems with it which I feel are the main reasons why I didn't enjoy the movie as much as I could:
- At least to me, the universe is portrayed as a sci-fi post-apocalyptic setting rather than a fantasy spirit universe of Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away. The Toxic Jungle doesn't seem like a place for spirits and magic in this story, but yet turns out it is. The plot reveals are completely inconsistent with this sci-fi setting and throw everything realistic about it out of the window resorting to the same fantastical story Miyazaki told in Princess Monoke. I don't mind fantasy at all, but because the setting is set up as sci-fi, it felt like a cheap cop out. Like as if the author couldn't figure out a realistic way to explain what the Toxic Jungle actually is, how it works, and why it's worth living in harmony with, and thus resorted to a combination of mystical elements and incorrect depiction of ecology/evolution. Let me elaborate further.
*** MILD SPOILERS AHEAD. No plot events will be spoiled, but some information will be given on the nature of the Toxic Jungle. ***
- The Toxic Jungle has a human-centric agenda that doesn't follow evolutionary logic. We're shown a beautiful and complex forest ecosystem with huge biodiversity, which means it's completely healthy despite the name the Toxic Jungle. It's toxic for humans, yes, but it's a paradise for everything that lives in it, or otherwise it wouldn't be so strong and diverse. Then there's a plot twist and we're expected to believe that the Toxic Jungle is actually trying to "purify" the environment and alter it to a one more hospitable for humans. Excuse me, but this is just arrogant on top of being devoid of any evolutionary sense. Firstly, whatever makes the forest toxic for humans is exactly what makes this ecosystem work. The Toxic Jungle has adapted to the post-apocalyptic environment and now is thriving, it doesn't make any sense for it to want to change it back, as this would mean self-destruction.
- The Toxic Jungle is said to specifically purify water and soil, but people seem to be growing food just fine in the contaminated post-apocalyptic soil of the Valley of the Wind, so what exactly it's purifying is unclear in the first place.
- And lastly we have magical powers of the Ohm (large Toxic Jungle creatures), which for some reason can heal humans and communicate with humans telepathically. Even though their evolutionary purpose is to protect the Toxic Jungle by destroying entire human settlements at a cost of their own lives. These abilities would suit a powerful mystical forest spirit (like the Deer God) that can punish or help humans on a whim, but don't really make sense for an Ohm, which is an animal with a quite specific evolutionary purpose.
*** SPOILERS END ***
(2) I found the whole Giant Warrior (ancient biomechanical beings involved in the end of the world) subplot undeveloped and a little pointless in the end. It felt like it was introduced just to show off Giant Warriors from the manga (where I would hope they play a bigger role), but it didn't accomplish anything significant for the movie plot. It was very anti-climatic, actually, they way it all ended. I almost forgot about this whole subplot altogether when writing this review and thinking back about the movie. It's a shame, because the idea is very cool.
(3) The ending wasn't that great. It felt a little contrived to achieve the type of ending the author wanted, and made just to wrap things up as the time ran out to adapt any more of the manga story.
--- THE GOOD ---
(1) The visuals are great and exceeded all my expectations for an old title. The animation is nice and fluid. More importantly, the backgrounds, the Toxic Jungle design, the technology, and flight scenes are probably what I liked about this movie the most. It's unique, creative, inspired, atmospheric, and it just works, as expected from Miyazaki.
(2) Especially the Ohm (large Toxic Jungle creatures). They are just awe inspiring. And I don't even like insects that much. But they are powerful and menacing, yet have a sense of wisdom and balance to them. I rooted for them all the way, even though they are killing people. The Ohm stampede is the scene that I've taken away with me and that will capture my imagination for a long time to come.
--- THANK YOU FOR READING ---
These are the main points I wanted to make that I felt might be different from what everybody else is saying and that were the most important for my personal enjoyment of this movie. Everything else was fine (sound, characters, etc.), it just didn't stand out to me as much as what I have discussed, and I didn't want to make this review too long.
Ghibli is a studio I usually can return to when I've had a dry spell in the shows I've been watching. I tend to get a little sick of shows that waggle indulgence and drama in your face and get so much hype that they choke out the possibility of hearing about anything else that year. So when I feel nice and disillusioned I give my Miyazaki films a reassuring embrace that above average TV and film is still there. Nausicaa is another chip off the block covered in countless titles I don't have time for amid college, so the fact that I got to
watch it at all felt inherently earned. But when I did run up to the film to embrace it, I felt it sort of wheezed at me like an old man whose core values were spiritually succeeded by the later Princess Mononoke. This film still very much holds its own as being a memorable gem but it stands on the shoulders of its peers and just kinda is there to be cute and environmentally aware. Kinda like Teto.
Usually when most people talk about the H.M. films they talk about how they have themes discussing 'hippie stuff'; a term shouted from dark woods by my conservative extended family. This is strange to me because I quite frankly don't understand the point of a story if it, well, doesn't have one. However I think that's what sets him apart as a storyteller because unlike most people he remembers to actually tell a story amid all the pretty art. Unfortunately many film writers don't so Ghibli gets inherent applause just for making a good story to get the neurons chugging at all. And this one's good. Not great but still good. Using a fantastical setting and using the future earth's jungle as a way to get rid of pollution not only has interesting implications but works as a fresh science fiction concept too. It's the most subtly smart part of the film and keeping it in mind makes each division of humans more radical or more justified in their intentions. And once that gets set up its a compelling plot where each decision packs more emotional punch and thematic weight. The plot moves along pretty consistently and each scene does a good enough job of setting up the obvious yet important conflict of the Ohmu and the remaining humans. The story itself is told well and moves smoothly, however it lacks the detail that its world and political undertones both hint at. Each scene and introduction to each faction are important in their own way, but lack the sharp detailing that they hint at. The Pejite nation especially. There's little to nothing developed about their culture or why they're separated from the valley dwellers and the Tolmekians, they're just attacked by the latter faction in the end. And on top of that, they exist as a device to move the story rather than a unique sect. The Valley and the Tolmekians, while they're both somewhat polarized in a sort of easy to preach way, are distinguishable enough to the point where you know why they're fighting and their all around intentions. The idea of using princesses as universal leaders despite factional differences, but sadly is never elaborated on regardless of a potentially interesting feminist theme. But even while it lacks the subtleties that would fill in the gaps to flesh out the story, the way it constantly moves and provides something different happening in this world at all is compelling and exhilarating in its own right.
The art and sound are perhaps the two strongest aspects of the film, and this one being made in '87 yet being able to be good today is saying a lot. There's the occasionally ultrafiltered punch or action effect or shlocky '80's drum machine and synth tune, but those are minor flaws compared to the AV work as a whole. The orchestral pieces of the film capture the energy and add the oomph that the broad and beautiful set pieces and each high octane scene they cradle. On the note of the art, the movie stands above a lot of other 80's cartoon films. Sometimes there's this weird hiccup in animation where the set piece stays still and an object attached to it is manipulated by the character. Despite being part of the background setting its far more detailed and heterogeneous against it's source and doesn't make aesthetic sense. Nausicaa goes beyond that and despite the occasional slowed motion due to its age and possibly budget. The characters and everything they touch flow freely with the backgrounds for a better experience than you would get with most films of its age. The characters aren't too detailed and not too simple, and each faction bears enough difference in their clothing, ships and even weapons to hint at different cultures, and it gives them a pinch of extra interest and depth. Said factional differences aren't elaborated on much, but I'll get to that later. And the whole thing is so damned pretty to boot.
The characters while still a constant joy were the weakest part of the film for me. Nausicaa does a good job as being a neutral ground well-intentioned protagonist, and while I've heard others call her a Mary Sue character I disagree. Her plans and actions make her likable in the eyes of her people and peers alike, and same to the viewer. She and Kushana were by far the most interesting characters, as they moved the story forward the most. But while Lord Yupa and other valley warriors are cool to watch bona-fide badasses they mostly feel like bodies to take up space or show that Nausicaa cares for her people more than anything else. Kushana's a good fold to her because of that, and her morally ambiguous intent as an antagonist fighting for the humans works well too. But another drawback of her being a fold to Nausicaa is that the Tolmekian supporting characters seem to mostly be there for the action and background support to her ruthless ways. Then there's Asbel and the other scattered Pejites, who pop up at seemingly random points wherever its convenient. Asbel confused me the most because he doesn't seem to have much of an effect on Nausicaa at all, in a relationship way or even platonically. He seems like the original protagonist that never got fully edited out of the film during the revision process. And while his conversations with Nausicaa and the others make the film move at least thematically, there's no resolve with him at the end. That and his mom shows up to be his mom and that's about it. So once Hollywood gets around to bastardizing this film I'll get to see some more detail in what I liked. But that being said, the contrast of the princesses and their struggles is what made for the most interesting characters.
Yet even with its flaws the film made me laugh and chuckle while it tugged at my heartstrings and struck me with a constant sense of wonder. It may have been succeeded by Mononoke but stands on its own as another memorable and far above average Miyazaki experience.