Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Type: Movie
Genre: Fantasy, Drama
Version: Region 1 DVD
Reviewed: 12/17/05


In 1984, Hayao Miyazaki’s first film (later adpoted by his studio, Studio Ghibli) , Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind, stormed Japanese box offices and left audiences stunned. With it, gave the world chocobos, the coolest giant birds ever. This alone makes the movie one of the most important films of the century. Amazingly, these chocobo predecessors play a tiny role in the films overall story, which means I’ve actually got to write a review instead of giving the film full marks and moving on.

Nausicaa stars a girl named, yes, Nausicaa. Princess of the Valley of the Wind, intrepid adventurer, and total liberal hippy. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t shave her pits, because she certainly doesn’t wear a bra. Nevertheless, in a world stricken by devastating nuclear holocaust, where giant bugs rule over mankind with their poisonous spores and massive swarming of all who oppose them, perhaps humanity needs a hippy rebel leader. Heard this all before? Well okay, it’s a fairly common plot in anime, but Nausicaa does pulls it off on a far grander level then anything previous.

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I’m just a silly girl, teehee!

There’s everything an action buff could want. Nausicaa rides some sort of rocket-powered air glider, fights off giant bugs, saves prisoners, so on, etc. So when the Evil Bad Empire shows up with a plan to blow up all the bugs and their rivals along in the process, it’s up to Nausicaa to arrange the protest march and make love and not war. *cue porno music*

Hayao Miyazaki was new to the anime world when this movie was first made, but this doesn’t interfere with the quality of the movie at all. In fact, many folks rather like the semi-gritty style of Nausicaa, and I’m not one to pass too much judgment on movie’s starring red-headed heroines. It certainly isn’t an eyesore, and the action scenes are very crisp and well-animated. Things are even more pleasant to look at when considering Miyazaki was showing the world his directorial prowess for the first time ever. Helping this, the music is top-notch, with full orchestra and some great war anthems to fit the theme.

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Welcome to feminist rule, you chauvinist pigs!

Regarding voices, one actually can’t go wrong with the selection here. The Japanese voices are quite well done, and an excellent example of the serious emotion voice actors were putting into anime even decades ago. If one chooses the English option, the voice talents of Patrick Freaking Stewart and Uma Thurman await. It’s a win-win situation in this movie’s audio.

If you’re a Miyazaki (and for that matter, Studio Ghibli) fan, Nausicaa is obviously worth your time, but be careful throwing around praise to your non-anime fan friends. The fact of the matter is that the movie is a hippy love fest. Sure, there’s lots of action and a hot female protagonist, but the undertones of war is bad, plants and animals are good, and humans are evil is very heavy. In the Valley of the Wind, these themes all make perfect sense; these people are merely obeying the rules imposed upon them to survive. But suggesting this film to a conservative who drives a Hummer is a great way to turn them off of anime for life.

But the reality is that Nausicaa is an excellent film, well told with a dramatic soundtrack. You’d have to be mildly retarded to let the film’s environmentalist slant wreck what is a great, great fantasy movie.

-Andrew Duff