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First off, let me state emphatically that I'm referring to the REAL version
of the film, not the pathetic crippled creature distributed as "Warriors of
the Wind" on video. Although I must admit that I first fell in love with the
movie in that form, I have now seen the full subtitled version, and I place
a hideous curse on those who hacked over 20 minutes from its running time.
Although the incredible "Princess Mononoke" later upstaged this early work in terms of art and detail, in many ways I still prefer "Nausicaa". Its imaginitive and well-conceived world puts me in mind of Dune with its feuding factions, its giant creatures, and its strong ecological message. Even with a rather long running time, the story moves very briskly (boiled down as it was from a very lengthy manga series). The music deserves special mention, as well, as it is a large step up from the electronic pop stylings of most anime.
If you can get your hands on a copy of the original version, you'll find it more than worth the effort.
I saw the dubbed version years ago and, even in that form, was taken by the
imaginative visuals, interesting storyline, and worthwhile characters. I was
also impressed by the fact the lead character was a strong young woman, who
was a "warrior" yet whose greatest strength lay in her compassion (rather
than striving to become a female Rambo.)
I tracked down a copy of the VHS and sent it to my young nieces, pleased with a "kid's" movie which provided a positive role model without being dumb. The movie captivated them as well -- they wore the tape out, and it started them on a lifelong interest in anime. It was they who sent me the uncut subtitled version years later, completing the circle.
Nausicaa is decent science fiction, often breath-taking animation, and unusually *human* characters, and every time I see it I am glad I returned. Everyone should give it a chance, especially those who have written off anime as "round eyed kids and lots of explosions".
This was the film which introduced me (and many others in the 1980s) to
Miyazake, and even in the form of a poor quality VHS on an ordinary TV,
was amazing. By 1984 Miyazake was already well known in Japan for his
work in film, TV, and for the comic strip that this film was based
In this early full length film he really got to spread his wings. There are fantastic aerial sequences like the jet-glider evading the flying snakes, which (this predates computed 3D, and aerial sequences are present in most of his work) are just a tour-de-force of imagination and geometry. And yet this is a world that feels very organic, not geometric, with a cast of characters drawn in a unique cross between hobo, samurai, and pirate - totally blending in to an imaginary post apocalyptic world where humans scratch out a precarious life in villages hidden in the few green valleys left in a world of desert, where the only remaining resources are wind, sunlight, and humans.
But it is also a world of enormous dangers, including airborne bandits and the strange, mutated creatures that have evolved to control the barren and scarred earth. When our heroine's valley home is attacked by raiders, she embarks on an adventure against them that will lead her, and some unlikely allies found along the way, to an eventual confrontation combining warring armies of bandits, ancient machines of infernal destruction, and the implacable, mysterious, threatening beasts which roam the badlands. The pace is swashbuckling - if this were a book, it would be one you could not stop reading.
It has the feel of the original comic books, but plays out wonderfully on the screen - you don't need to know the comics. The style is very unique. Even though it is very stylized (no photorealism here), you immediately get the feeling of the world and the characters. The story works for children of all ages (mine both first saw this before they were 6, and have memorized it long since), and combined with the wonderful visuals it is a treat for adults too. As a genre I would classify it as soft (no attempt at scientific correctness) sci-fi rather than fantasy, though some might think it more a work of fantasy. It is fascinating partly because its roots in style and action are unexpected for a western viewer. Japanese manga and stories had evolved in their own way, and although this is early Miyazake, it is already a product of that mature and distinct art form.
As always with Miyazake - if you haven't seen his work, well you haven't seen anything like it, and it is time you did.
The first thing to establish is that this is a science fiction epic. It
has more in common with 'Dune' or any number of SF novels - Brian
Aldiss's 'Hothouse' springs to mind for one- than it does with a
typical western animated children's film. Therefore one's expectations
should be a little different, and ultimately it was the SF aspect which
gave the movie such a high grade in my books. Whereas it didn't have
quite the emotional clout that I look for in an animated feature, it
was a stupendously told SF story.
Technically not a Ghibli film (Miyazaki actually used the studio which did most of 'The Last Unicorn', and which more or less became Ghibli when 'Laputa' was made a couple of years later), 'Nausicaa' is a far-future SF story with a princess/warrior/nature-lover heroine and strong environmental themes. There's also an opposing princess/leader trying to use technology to overcome the apparently hostile environment. If you're starting to think 'Princess Mononoke', you'd be on the right track. In some ways 'Nausicaa' seems like an early stab in the direction of 'Mononoke', though the latter would delve far more into spirituality and mythology, eschewing the SF aspects.
There aren't really any major weak points in Nausicaa - unless you count the frustrating 12 drawings per second animation which I constantly complain about in Japanese animation. The backgrounds aren't as amazing and the animation not as good as the last few Ghibli films, but for 1984 it was plenty good enough. I have a fairly trivial complaint in that the character of Kuratowa is drawn in a slightly more 'anime' style, ala Lupin III, whereas all of the other characters are done in a realistic style. He just seems a little out of place, though he's quite delightfully drawn.
The really strong points of the movie are its pacing (at least until the very end. Miyazaki was unhappy with the end too), its story telling, which manages to be sophisticated without being impossibly complex, its engrossing background drawings and settings, - and most of all in the amazing attention to detail in the fully realized post-apocalypse SF-fantasy world in which the story is set. Every little thing is worked out and placed such that you find yourself admiring inventions, ideas, structures, creatures, etc which don't draw attention to themselves, but simply exist as part of the backdrop of the movie. Of course 'Nausicaa' had existed for several years as a serialised Manga, so Miyazaki no doubt knew its universe inside-out.
There's a very clever plot, which I won't give away, but which involves humanity's relationship with the Earth and nature.
It's the sort of movie which you can get thoroughly caught up in, and which will stand repeated viewings. It really is a film which is perfectly pitched at both a young and an adult audience. As Miyazaki's second feature film it is also, rightly or wrongly, usually considered the start of Studio Ghibli, and is arguably worth watching for historical reasons, too.
Not the very best from Miyazaki or Ghibli, but an auspicious beginning.
PS, in case you didn't know, there was a heavily butchered US version floating around called 'Warriors of the Wind', which is universally reviled as a disgrace. Just to make it confusing, some of the Japanese copies are also called 'Warriors of the Wind'. The thing to look for is the 116 minute running length. If you get that, you've got the right one. At the moment the only way you can get the film is in Japanese dialog with English subtitles. Personally I'd go ahead and do that, rather than wait while Disney squats on the US distribution rights (Amazon gives it a release date of 2010 for God's sake). You can always replace it later.
The film of all times. My personal favorite of all films, anime and non-anime. It has it all, a great, involving story that holds many important lessons of life. Interesting characters. Action, adventure, and above all feeling, the mood just sucks me in and holds on till the very end and beyond. The music is epic, and the animation is top class. The setting is a futuristic kind of midevil inspired fantasy... if that says anything... but anyway it feels very real although fantastic and apeals to me. This movie is from the very heart of Hayao Miyazaki, the master of anime... Its so sad that the dubbed version was so butchered, it was the first version I saw(actualy the swedish dubbing of the american dubbing(sigh)) and I thaught it was great, but now that I have seen the original, a new door has opened and revealed a true masterpiece. I recomend this film to all and everyone. Average 10(10)
Director Hayao Miyazaki won a place in my heart after I saw his 2001
film Spirited Away. I'm in no position to claim to be an expert on
Miyazaki (I've only seen three of his films), nor am I really a big fan
of Japanese animation; but I can safely say that Nausicaä of the Valley
of the Wind is one of the very best animated films I have ever seen.
The beauty of the animation is stunning, with its close attention to
detail--every frame is constructed as a work of art--and the story is
enthralling. As with other Miyazaki films, the majority of characters
are much more three-dimensional that you typically get in Western
animated features, and nearly all of them aren't exactly what they seem
Nausicaä, which is based on Miyazaki's gargantuan Manga series, is set in the distant future, after fires destroyed much of the earth. The world is being consumed by the Sea of Decay, a toxic forest that spreads through airborne spores and is protected by giant insects called ohmu. The Valley of the Wind is one of the last pure places on earth, and its Princess, Nausicaä, is a strong-willed yet free-spirited young woman seeking to solve the mystery of the Sea of Decay. A nearby nation, which claims to have harnessed the power that allowed humans to rule the earth a thousand years before, takes over after a plane carrying a mysterious living cargo crashes in the valley. What follows in the film is a struggle, not of good versus evil, but of man versus nature. The story is complex, as is its message, and Miyazaki has ingeniously spun deep complexities into the animated characters: what look like foes may not be, and what look like friends may be a bit more dangerous.
The animation is colorful, sweeping, expansive, and beautiful, as are the plot and characters. There is an immediacy to the story that makes a big emotional impact and makes us question how we handle our position in nature. As one of the characters in the film asks, have humans become but a tribe destined to be swallowed by the Sea of Decay? It is ultimately a film about compassion in the face of violence and war, which is what makes it so different from Western features.
Disney's recent DVD release is excellent. The film can be watched either in the original Japanese audio or Pixar's dub with Patrick Stewart and Uma Thurman, and there are separate subtitles for each language track--a literal one (hallelujah!) for the Japanese track, and a more closed-captions style set for the English track. The film is so stunning in the Japanese that I have never considered watching the dub, though a fellow film buff has said that it is "not so bad." After this film was released in the US in the 1980s in a completely mangled version called Warriors of the Wind, Miyazaki suspended all US rights of all his other films until the distributor would honor the stipulation that they be released without any editing. The fact that Disney, which is known for watering down nearly everything it touches, has done this with such a non-Western-style movie is amazing.
Now that everyone knows Miyazaki is a great talent and he has been doing many great stuff, his earlier works are internationally popular. After Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi, Miyazaki's well deserved fame got huge. Since his fame increased, his older works has been taken from the drawers to upper shelves and this is leading to discussions of which of his works are better than which. Kaze no tani no Naushika has been compared many times with his Mononoke - hime, however regarding how Naushika formed a perfect background for the further works of Miyazaki, this comparison is not very fair. Kaze no tani no Naushika is the basis of Miyazaki's charming mastery which becomes more and more apparent in 1990s. It features one of the greatest heroines in anime history in an unusual sci-fi environment. The story of the film shows us how resourceful human imagination can be. What makes Naushika a cornerstone is not only this efficient story telling but also the visual fiesta that it has been presented in. So lose no time in comparing this film to another, instead savor it again and again.
Brilliant, captivating, and sometimes just plain awesome are some of
things that come to mind while watching yet another one of Miyazaki's
epic tales: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds. Deliberately
slow-moving at points, yet undeniably exciting in and out of it's
action sequences, it's one of those animes (a Japanese animated movie
or show) that deserve a second viewing, and a fantastic introduction to
Without revealing too much of the plot, it takes us through the life of Nausicaa, a princess of a small village, and her struggles to stop warring nations from destroying an important source that can save the planet. The planet has already gone through a major destruction that nearly wiped out humanity, and their are large insects called ohmu, that guard the source that is spreading through the world.
Miyazaki introduces an empowerment of female characters in his animes, such as Princess Mononoke, Kiki's Delivery Service, and his most recent, Howl's Moving Castle (Hauru no ugoku shiro). The characters are done with style and care, and, in Nausicaa, there is no exception.
It amazes me that this film created some controversy when released, being banned in Poland because of it's depiction of an ecological disaster. Though the movie is obviously fantasy, it turns out that some may consider it a touchy subject. I didn't find any offense whatsoever with anything the movie showed, just a futuristic disaster no doubt caused by man.
Combining fantasy and science-fiction, Nausicaa is nice to look at. It certainly shows it's age when compared to some newer animes, not having the help from high-end computers. Considering it was done in the 80's, Miyazaki's production team did a great job. Little details, backgrounds, gadgets, & animals are drawn slightly better then some Japanese animes from that time.
Keep in mind that my review is based on the Disney release (Feb 2005). It's cleaned up, unedited, with new voices from well known actors that sound great (but I still prefer subtitles). Keep far away from the old version 'Warriors of the Wind', which chops off more then half-hour from the movie.
9 out of 10
Usually I try to compare one anime with another but I find it impossible to
do for Nausicaa. I doubt if any other anime tried to repeat (or at least not
successfully) the combination of science fiction, drama and medievalism
that's in this film. However the most captivating (yet stereotypical
perhaps) aspect of Nausicaa is her sympathy to all living things and her
uncanny intuition about the things around her. Her abilities are the only
drawback to this film because such characters can be found in most anime
involving a heroine, whereas the storyline makes it a most unique
I was somewhat dissappointed with the ending. I won't give it away but the character of the Princess was just made to conform to the "standards of a heroine". Animation was acceptable but not superb although the designs of some landscapes and characters were spectacular. Overall an 8.
"Nausicaa of the valley of the wind" is about an epic story of mankind
in the wastelands of polluted earth. Thousand years after the end of
industrialized civilization mankind is once again in the wrath of
nature as it is taking it's vengeance for the brutality it has received
from the human. Although being an action packed adventure, the main
story of the movie is one of the most humane stories ever told.
Nausicaa, one of the most powerful characters of modern motion picture,
tries to find a way to make the connection between earth and human to
save mankind from extinction. I will stop here for rest of the story
you have to find out yourself. I can assure you that you will not
regret it. And for movie lovers it is a movie that you just cannot
There are actually only three 100% real Hayao Miyazaki movies. They are 1.Nausicaa of the valley of the wind, 2.Laputa: Castle in the sky and 3.Princess Mononoke. All these films are considered as masterpieces of the history of animation. Of all the movies that Hayao Miyazaki has created "Nausicaa's" is the best. Many people will argue with me on that point because they have not seen the original uncut Disney version. If you are a people outside South America and speak in a different language than English and Disney's animations are available in your native language only then you can understand the quality of a dubbing of Disney. So please see the movie with the English dub by Disney, I am pretty much optimistic that you will surely say that "Nausicaa of the valley of the wind" is the greatest movie ever built.
NB1: Please try to watch only the Disney dubbed movies of studio Ghibli if that is not found it is better to watch it English subbed.
NB2: Try to watch the real Miyazaki movies (the three I mentioned here and whisper of the heart) in theaters or at night in a quiet place. Believe me I have tried this and I was able to understand the movies better.
NB3: one of the main problems in Miyazaki's movies is the expectation. Here are some tips the three movies I mentioned here are real movies (I don't like to degrade them by saying they are animes) not cartoons. Howls moving castle and Lupin the third are animation movies and the rest are cartoons just like cars or toy story.
NB4: Many people argue about the fact of watching foreign movies dubbed. I won't argue with them. I will just go with Miyazaki in the point, he told 20% of the movie will be lost if you read the subtitles instead of watching the movie.
Special request: because of the kidified version of "Nausicaa of the valley of the wind" many people have rated it quite badly. So please watch the movie rate it according to your enjoyment and rate my review too.
Many thank for viewing.
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