Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is a 1984 movie directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Just for the record, any film that falls under the Studio Ghibli banner is released and dubbed by Dinsey but I do not consider them “Disney movies” and Nausicaa is certainly not your typical princess movie. I watched this in Japanese with subtitles.
The movie tells the story of a Nausciaa, the Princess of the Valley of the Wind, a peaceful place that exists in the shadow of the Toxic Jungle, also called the Sea of Decay or Sea of Corruption. The Sea of Decay is lethal to humans but Nausicaa enjoy wandering inside with a mask on. She even loves the bugs that dwell and protect it.
Nausicaa and her people get mixed up in a confrontation when a Tolmekian airship crashes in the Valley, caring both the hostage Princess of Pejite and an ancient biological weapon. The Princess dies but she asks Nausicaa to burn the weapon which doesn’t burn. After that Tolmekia comes with their Princess Kushana. Kushana plans to use the biological weapon called a Giant Warrior to burn the Sea of Decay. She also plans to take over the valley and Nausicaa’s bed-ridden father is murdered which causes Nausicaa to go into a murderous rage.
As Nausicaa claims down, she submits to Kushana as she doesn’t want anymore deaths. Kushana makes Nausicaa and 5 hostages to go with her back Tolmekia. However as they are on route, they are attacked and Nausicaa, Kushana and the hostages crash land into the Sea of Decay and on an Ohmu nest. Ohmu are very large bugs that protect the Sea of Decay and attack when they are enraged. They do not attack Nausicaa instead they communicate with her via their gold tentacles that the one who attacked them is in danger. So she goes to help. She saves the him but they fall into quicksand.
Nausicaa wakes up under the Sea of Decay and meets Asbel of Pejite, brother of the princess who died in the crash. They learn that the Sea of Decay is actually purifying the polluted Earth. The two manage to make it out of the underground on Nausicaa glider and go to Pejite, which has been abandoned.
An airship that is carrying the survivors of Pejite comes down and Nausicaa learns that the Valley is in great danger as the Pejite plans to use the Ohmu to destroy the Tolmekians and the Valley will be destroyed in the process. Nausicaa tries to get away but she is capture. Asbel’s mother has a girl switch places with Nausicaa so she can escape.
Nausicaa learns that Pejite are using a captured baby Ohmu to incite the large incets’ rage. Nausicaa stops the pilots and gets her dress stained in the blood of the little Ohmu as it tries to reach its kind across an acid lake.
As the Ohmu advance on the Tolmekia, Kushana uses the Gaint Warrior to attack but it not mature enough and rots away.
Nausicaa the faces the Ohmu herd with the baby Ohmu. But they are so blind by rage that she stains fatal injurgies. Her sacrifice sooth them. The Ohmu use their golden tentacles to give heal Nausicaa. As she stands on the golden tentacles in her deep blue dress that was dyed by the Ohmu’s blood she fulfills a prophesy. After that the Tolmekians and the Ohmu leave and the People of the Valley and Pejite rebuild. The film ends with a small tree growing under underground, showing the healing of the world.
The first time I saw this movie it was after I read the Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind Graphic novels. Now I loved the graphic novels, they are so rich and complex. Compared to the graphic novels, the movie version is simple. For instance, The Giant Warriors are a much bigger plot point and Kushana is way more fleshed out. But comics can do that and a single movie really can’t. So I will not discuss the movie against the comic but if you do like the movie but haven’t read graphic novel, I highly recommend them. They’re so good!
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is a solid movie. It has a lot of great action moments, some beautiful shots and some lovely animation. One of its strenghts is the world building, you really come to understand this world however all the world building with the war, Prophesies, The Sea Decay, Bugs and an ancient doomsday weapons comes at a count.
Like I said, The Giant Warrior is established but didn’t really amount to much in the end aside from some neat animation and a looming threat. And because of the focus on the world, the only character that really gets developed is Nausicaa.
As far as princesses, go Nausicaa is very different. Nausicaa is a pacifist, warrior, naturalist princess. She shows empathy for all things and is a take charge sort but she is never demanding or pushy. She is active and has agency. She is unconcerned about love or her appearance. She is however concerned with her people and the Earth. This makes her very refreshing and an all-around interesting character.
Nausicaa’s counterpart, Kushana is much like her but her methods are different. Kushana and Nausicaa are two sides the same coin. Kushana grew up in a milarty state so she is cold, hard and more demanding. However, like Nausicaa she cares for her people and thinks she is justified in her actions. She also doesn’t care about love or her appearance. She is also refreshing and had she is interesting even if her role is really just the antagonist.
Another aspect that is refreshing is the prophesy. Tons of movies have prophesies and chosen ones. This movie establishes that the Valley has this prophesy of one clad in blue descending from a golden field. It never points to anyone but of course Nausicaa fulfills it but it not a big deal to her it just is allowed to happen and it’s allowed to be a beautiful moment.
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind adheres too much to one character and the world which makes for an unsteady movie narrative. Is it a bad movie? No, not at all, it’s defiantly a solid, entertaining and lovely movie. Plus, the sitar sound when you see the Ohmu is so cool.Follow thehunchblog