Nausicaa Of the Valley Of the Wind
Creator/Studio: Hayao Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli
Distributor: Buena Vista/Disney
Running Time: 1 hour, 57 minutes
Recommended Age: 7+
Summary: In a post-apocalyptic future, the Valley of the Wind remains one of the few areas still populated, due to the spread of a toxic jungle. The story focuses on Princess Nausicaa, who is attempting to protect her people and restore the valley’s original beauty. But evil forces plot to invade and enslave the valley. Complicating the matter further are giant insects called Ohm, who have been intoxicated by the atmosphere for so long that they have become hostile.
Review: Before I go any further, I must tell you–I love Studio Ghibli! They truly know how to tell a story using every aspect of the medium. The backdrops are lush and colorful; the animation is fluid; and the story is excellent.
The film has a slight environmentalist feel to it, but is not nearly as preachy as most films with this theme. My favorite characters are Nausicaa, Lord Yupa, and Lady Tolmekia.
Nausicaa is a heroine who is very easy to admire. She is a compassionate woman with indomitable courage. Although she has a strong temper, her anger is justified because of the pollution and destruction she has encountered.
Lord Yupa is also an excellent hero. He is an aged warrior, and his best years are clearly not behind him. He’s the kind of person you clearly wouldn’t want to mess with.
The villain, Lady Tolmekia, is an excellently-written villain. Conquest is her only desire and she feels all her actions are justified. In fact, she is one of my all-time favorite villains.
Sub/Dub: Although the sub is okay, I think the dub truly surpasses it. My main problem with the sub is that Nausicaa sounds too young to my ears. The dub is thanks to its star-studded cast: Patrick Stewart, Chris Sarandon, Uma Thurman, and even Shia Labeouf (yes, that Shia Labeouf) all have excellent performances.
Music/Score: Joe Hisaishi is one of anime’s best composers and here he doesn’t disappoint. He does an excellent job at giving the movie an excellent, haunting score. I love both the opening theme and the leifmotif given to Nausicaa. Give a listen below:
Violence: 4/10 A small amount of blood and some mild shooting scenes. If your children cannot handle intense violence even when it is not graphic, you should be aware of this.
Language: (1/10): none
Sexuality: (1/10): none
Nudity: (2/10): A quick blink and you miss shot of Nausicaa’s breasts when she coaxes her pet fox-squirrel to hide in her dress is all you get.
Religion: (2/10): SPOILER! It is believed that a messianic figure will one day restore the valley. The movie seems to suggest that Nausicaa is that figure. However, it is obvious her people do not worship her, nor does she wish them to.
Related Media: There is also a manga. Although the story in the manga is similar to the anime, there are some distinct differences, or so I’m told. (I sadly have yet to purchase it) I have seen some of the artwork, and it is excellent.