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Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds (Kaze no tani no Naushika) (1984)

  Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki
Written by: Hayao Miyazaki
Starring: Yôji Matsuda, Gorô Naya, Yoshiko Sakakibara, Sumi Shimamoto
Links: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Book
Genre: Cartoon/Animation

This movie gets: 9.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds (Kaze no tani no Naushika) (1984) is also mentioned in pearly's review of Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986).

"Certainly not showing its age" - a review by pearly

I believe that I have mentioned before that the films of Hayao Miyazaki seem to occur in groups, based on similar topics. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds is no exception: it is indeed very similar to the more recently released and quite probably better known Princess Mononoke (1997). Both are about princesses, but more importantly, both focus very heavily on issues surrounding the environment, and humankind's relationship with the Earth.

Princess Nausicaä (Sumi Shimamoto) is the daughter of the King of the Valley of the Winds, a beautiful spot nestled amongst mountains, but surrounded by the Fukai, a jungle with poisonous air, where giant creatures named Ohm live. The Fukai is slowly taking over the entire land, with only a few havens remaining, and the Valley of the Winds, being relatively sheltered due to the mountains, is one of the safest places.

One night, Nausicaä awakens after a restless sleep, and goes out to find a Torumekian airship that is about to crash. Dismayed, she hops onto her super-cool glider to help out, and finds a young woman named Rastel, whose dying wish is that the cargo of the ship is destroyed. However, before Nausicaä can fulfil this wish, Kushana (Yoshiko Sakakibara) takes the valley captive, and has them doing her bidding. Nausicaä fears that Kushana, along with many of the others living outside of the valley are unaware of the Fukai's power, and that their naivete will be the cause of the devastation of human life. A chance meeting with Asbel (Yôji Matsuda), Rastel's brother and a kindred soul, may be Nausicaä's only hope for saving the day.

The first time through Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds is a bit confusing, with so many interconnecting characters and, me being English, lessened opportunity to fully understand all that is going on (given the film is Japanese). This complex storyline did not endear me any less to the story being told though, and it gives me the opportunity to go back and watch the film again, and figure out more for myself.

And, more than that, it's difficult not to enjoy the film despite being slightly confused at times, because it's such a beautiful looking piece of work. Teto, the little fox-squirrel with the big ears that Nausicaä get from Lord Yupa (Gorô Naya) at the start of the film is one of my favourite animated sidekicks ever, and the Valley of the Winds is beautiful, as is the poisoned Fukai, but more than anything, I loved Nausicaä's glider, and her grace whilst using it (though I did get a little concerned about the fact that she looked like she wasn't wearing any pants underneath her short, short skirt, until I convinced myself that those things which looked like legs were actually white or light coloured pants covering legs) inspired me.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds rates right up there as one of my favourite Miyazaki films, containing all the right elements. There is our wordly heroine, her faithful followers, and their beautiful world. There is humour, and for a touch of something that isn't as prevalent in other Miyazaki films, a decent helping of sci-fi. And of course, there is my personal highlight: more than just a touch of mystical magic.

pearly gives this movie 9 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 25 Aug 2004

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Reader comments

  1. I loved this movie. The only thing that really got me was I didn't believe Shila was the best choice for the Asbel in the English version.

    Rating given: 9

    A comment from Anderson on Sun 01 May 2005 07:20 #

  2. I wish I coulkd see this movie!!!!!!!! I'll rate it a 10 even if I havent seen it

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Dania on Mon 30 May 2005 11:02 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 9.50 (2 ratings)

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