Starring: Sumi Shimamoto, Mahito Tsujimara, Hisako Kyôda
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Running Time: 117 mins
Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind is a Japanese film about a rural princess warrior in a dying world who struggles to prevent two warring states from wiping each other out and destroying their planet.
This is a very engaging and entertaining fantasy-war movie. It’s not a particularly family-friendly film from Studio Ghibli, but nor is it in the realms of the weirdest anime around, it’s got an interesting concept that holds strong throughout and makes for a very enjoyable watch.
Set in some sort of dystopian future, the eeriness of the world of the ‘Sea of Decay’ and ‘Valley of the Wind’ is immediately attention-grabbing, seeming both incredibly picturesque as well as perilous.
The giant woodlouse-like creatures that roam the plains, the Ohm, are initially terrifying to look at, testament to the excellent animation here, but also fit into the almost majestic and magical image that Miyazaki is portraying of this seemingly terrible world.
The portrayal of the world is one of the most interesting parts of the film, as although it is at times presented as a magical, fantastical place, Miyazaki also brings across some strong environmental and political Cold War undertones about mankind wiping itself out and leaving the world to perish as a result.
Princess Nausicaä, the protagonist, is another excellent feature here. She’s a very likeable and supportable heroine, and one that is incredibly strong and competent. It’s a real delight to follow her story of preventing total war between these two tribes, because she fights for peace and freedom for all, even the disgusting animals of the world, with such convincing passion that it’s impossible not to want to will her on.
Let’s talk a little about the animation here, which is, as always from Studio Ghibli, flawlessly beautiful. The animators do an incredible job of creating vast landscapes that are a wonder to marvel at, as well as making some fascinating creatures and characters, such as the Ohm, which are mesmerising to watch, and the stunningly detailed aircraft.
Overall, this is a very enjoyable fantasy-war film, which, although not being either dark or family-friendly, is consistently engaging to watch, and an absolute beauty to look at.