Aptitude and sheer willpower

This film is suitable for children aged 8 and up as it contains scary images and some violence.

This is Studio Ghibli’s first film which was released in 1984.

This anime’s genres include:
► Science Fiction – Adventure – Fantasy – Drama – Action

Though Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was created in 1984 before the founding of Studio Ghibli in 1985, it is still considered to be Studio Ghibli’s first film as it was directed by the studio’s director and masterful storyteller, Hayao Miyazaki.

Based on Hayao Miyazaki’s 1982 manga of the same name, this film was animated by Topcraft and distributed by the Toei Company. Topcraft was founded in 1972 by former Toei Animation producer, Toru Hara; Topcraft then went on to become the first manager for Studio Ghibli. Though this film was animated by Topcraft, the connection between Topcraft and Studio Ghibli combined with the proximity between the release of the first film and the founding of Studio Ghibli, makes it easy to understand why this film is considered to be a Studio Ghibli production; Hayao Miyazaki’s involvement in the directing of this film further solidifies Ghibli’s hold on Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.

Ohm-on-their-tales

A Thousand years before this movie’s setting, massive humanoid creatures called “Giant Warriors” appeared and purged the whole world in a fire that lasted for 7 days. The forests later grew back into a world riddled with the pollution caused by mankind, as a result, genetic mutations began to occur in the woodland and the insects that live there; plants became toxic and would release poisonous spores, and bugs grew in gigantic proportions, and humans couldn’t breathe in areas surrounding the forest without masks.

The story follows the young and adventurous princess Nausicaä who ventures into the toxic forest regularly to explore and experiment with the plants and gain a deeper understanding of their ways. As she spends time in the forest, she attains the unique ability to communicate with the creatures and insects that reside there.
The most prominent insects are the massive Ohms which bear a resemblance to the real-world insects called woodlice. These peculiar creatures tend to remain quite docile, however, these gentle beasts can speedily charge an attack if a human proves to be interfering with the forest’s delicate ecosystem.

In a world where nature is fighting against the survival of mankind, humans have to learn to work with the forest and try to understand it, rather than dominate it. Unfortunately, not all people will yield to that belief and seek to burn down the forest and control what little remains of humanity. Wars begin to break out among the villages; amidst the war, the insects get exasperated by the human’s actions and leave the forest to crush all those that prove to be a threat.

Now the fate of the world hangs on a final thread as humans and nature fight in a desperate war for survival and dominance. At the height of desperation, Nausicaä is the only one who can bridge the gap between what remains of mankind and the nature they seek to destroy.

The Refined Foundation

The film appears to have a rather slow beginning, though this is not essentially the case. True, the movie doesn’t jump straight into the main storyline though, instead, it progressively shows you the living situations of its post-apocalyptic period intelligently and articulately.
Though the first 12 minutes of the film are filled mostly with imagery and the characters’ dialogues, many important details regarding the characters’ circumstances are brought to the viewers’ attention.

The first person we see on the screen is not the main character, but rather her mentor, Lord Yupa, wearing a mask as he walks through a desolate village covered in growths and decay. It is shown as he tries to pick up a doll and it crumbles in his hand just how lethal and unforgiving the environment is during this time.
The first words in the film are those said by Lord Yupa as he rides away on his turkey/ostrich things, “Soon this place too, will be consumed by the toxic jungle”. The relevance of this line is that it immediately tells the viewer not only what is causing the destruction, but also that it is spreading.

The whole history of how the world ended up the way it is now is promptly explained to the viewer through a short narration accompanied by historical illustrations.

Many other important details are shown to the viewer in the following scenes as they shift over to Nausicaä; everything from the way she flies above the trees on her glider to the way she interacts with nature tells a lot about her character as well as the dependence humans have on the forest, despite its many dangers.

By the time Nausicaä and Lord Yupa meet up and introduce each other to the audience, we have already been given a refined foundation of the plot and a solid understanding of what to expect.

And the story is free to move forward steadily.

Creation Techniques

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was created using one of the best forms of art in film and movie production, everything from the background to the characters was hand-drawn; each moment in the film consisted of hundreds if not thousands of slides. Even easily missed details, such as the moment Nausicaä fights and puts herself in harm’s way to push the young ohm away from danger, her pink clothes become stained blue with the blood of the wounded creature.

The mastery of creation in this film is shown in the meticulous detail in each scene. Each part of the movie shows a high level of talent which can effectively draw you into its wonder. The watercolour style background makes use of a beautiful blend of colours with a smooth finish. The characters are all drawn separately and have clean lines with 0solid colouring. The contrast created between the two art styles separates the characters from the background and brings them forward.

ThroughTheCave

The artwork in this film reflects the talent, patience, and artistic ambition of the people who produced it.

The beautiful music in the film was created by Joe Hisaishi as his first collaboration with Miyazaki. The total time of music composed for this film is an estimated 40 minutes. The majority of the music is a slow, soothing soundtrack.

Vastly Surreal Imagination

Nausicaä is an incredibly brave, intelligent, perceptive, and caring character who is especially strong in her perseverance. She is a pacifist who aims to end the war without bloodshed as she believes all lives need to be treasured.
Her outlook on life is influenced by the villagers that surround her. Regardless of the difficulties they face, the people in the village of the Valley of the Wind stay close together and choose to remain joyous and grateful for what they have in life. This lifestyle is reflected strongly in Nausicaä’s personality

WindmillScenery

From the wonderful soundtrack to the designs and the artwork, this film was created by a vastly surreal imagination and was executed beautifully. The story itself, however, was slightly lacking in plot twists and the little gimmicks that are generally used to keep the viewer’s attention.

As was stated before, right from the beginning of the movie everything was laid out in of front us, so much so, that it left little for the audience to figure out for themselves. As a result, the movie, dazzling though it may be, became quite predictable.

That being said, the moral lessons of overcoming the impossible through love and a good heart, rather than fighting and causing bloodshed is a great message not often integrated into modern movies, especially for children.


Mediocre

For more on our review scoring and scale information – click here