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Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 02/20/2004

Synopsis:
It's a time when mankind's abuse of nature and the environment has finally caught up with him. Most of the earth has been reduced to a toxic wasteland infested with mutated plant and animal life. Humans are left simply trying to make the best of what remains, but even in such times the lust for war and conquest has not diminished. Nations are still trying to take over other nations, and it's all up to a young princess named Nausicaa to keep the peace and make everyone understand that healing the earth should be the foremost concern.
 
Review:
Watching Nausicaa reminded me of the more recent Hayao Miyazaki hit, "Princess Mononoke". I attribute that to the fact that both films have an environmentally concerned fighter princess at the helm, but that's actually about the only thing they have in common. Mononoke and Nausicaa have personalities that are as opposite as night and day.
 
Nausicaa is a post-apocalyptic tale about humans trying to pick up the pieces after the "Seven Days of Fire", which supposedly destroyed civilization as we know it. The title character Nausicaa is the princess of a place known as the Valley of Wind. Nausicaa spends her days exploring, collecting useful materials, and studying various plants, animals, and insects. Nausicaa has a very deep understanding of nature, and she makes certain that what she knows is instilled in her people. In short, Nausicaa is the poster girl for environmental preservation, animal rights, and just about every other related ecological cause.
 
The main conflict arises when the Valley of Wind gets caught between two other nations' dispute. Nausicaa and her people become prisoners and hostages while Tolmekia and Pejite fight each other for control over a monstrous being which could be used as a tool of death and destruction. Nausicaa's real challenge materializes when Pejite lures millions of gigantic insects to the Valley of Wind in order to wipe out the encamped Tolmekians. Nausicaa must somehow stop the rampaging insects without hurting them, plus find a way to keep the peace between the three kingdoms -- at the same time ensuring that whatever method she comes up with would be environmentally safe. Like they say, it's a tough job... but someone's got to do it.
 
Although Nausicaa's artwork comes off as rather dated, the characters sport the simple, understated, yet charming design that Miyazaki is known for. Animation is incredibly smooth, and settings are adequately rendered albeit not as meticulously detailed as Miyazaki's recent works. Nausicaa herself is the epitome of agility and grace. It makes no difference whether she's doing air acrobatics on her glider or simply running around the valley. She moves like a bird in the sky and a gazelle on land. I also enjoyed perusing the beautiful manga sketches interspersed throughout the DVD menus and credits. Unlike Princess Mononoke, Nausicaa does not contain any overly violent scenes which children should be kept away from.
 
Nausicaa is an excellent piece. It's not as powerful as I expected it to be, but it does well to uphold the Studio Ghibli standard of releasing high quality animated films. Definitely a classic Miyazaki fans shouldn't pass up.
 
Miscellanies:
Nausicaa is about 2 hours in length. I've heard that the manga is a lot better than the anime.

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Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
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Review Title:
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Alternative Titles:
Warriors of the Wind, Kaze no Tani no Nausicaa
Type:
Movie
Episodes:
1
Duration:
120 Minutes
General Rating:
4.5 out of 5 stars
Aired:
1984
Suitable For:
Older Children
Genres:
Adventure, Fantasy
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