Arts Movies

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind


Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is a Japanese animated film that was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.  It was made before the founding of Studio Ghibli, but is still considered a part of the studio’s catalog.  The movie is based on Miyazaki’s manga with the same and takes place in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic universe.  It follows the princess of the Valley of the Wind (Nausicaä) and her fight against the kingdom Tolmekia.  Isao Takahata produced the epic and it was released in Japan on March 11, 1984.  An edited cut titled Warriors of the Wind was released in the United States through Manson International.  Hayao disapproved of the edited version.  His disdain resulted in him adopting a stern “no-edits” clause for all future foreign releases.  Walt Disney redubbed and unveiled a truer cut in 2005.

The film received critical claim and is regarded as one of the best animated pictures of all time.  Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind grossed close to 1.48 billion yen at the box office and sold over nine hundred thousand tickets.  The theatrical overseas release made 1.7 million dollars between 2017 and 2006.  Tokuma Shoten Publishing Co., Ltd (Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan) brought the movie to Laserdisc and VHS in 1985 and 1996.  Buena Vista Home Entertainment reissued it on VHS during September, 1997 and on DVD in 2003.  Close to two million copies were sold in Japan by the end of 2003.  Walt Disney Studios Japan delivered the Blu-Ray version in the middle of 2010.

The Seven Days of Fire destroyed modern civilization.  The war’s fallout birthed the Sea of Decay.  The sea is a noxious jungle filled with oversized mutant insects, strange fungi and mysterious plants.  Every inhabitant and part of the Sea of Decay is lethal, including the air.  Princess Nausicaä spends her days exploring the jungle and talking with its creatures.  She does this to gain knowledge and pursue her monomaniacal goal of uniting humanity with the insects.

nausicaä comic
Nausicaä Manga – Photo Credit: Buster Benson

Nausicaä finds a fresh set of Ohmu (giant Armadillidiidae-like creature) tracks that lead her into the depths of the toxic landscape.  She uncovers an immaculate Ohmu shell that her village uses for weapons and tools.  She manages to pry off an eye and hears an explosion.  The commotion is investigated and Lord Yupa is fleeing an angered Ohmu.  Nausicaä mounts her glider and uses flares and a musical charm to sedate the bug.  The Ohmu’s eyes turn from red to blue and he pops back into the Sea of Decay.  Yupa thanks his young benefactor and gives her a pet Fox Squirrel named Teto.  Big T stays perched on Nausicaä’s shoulder throughout the rest of the film.

The pair head back to the Valley of the Wind.  Nausicaä greets her father King Jhil and recaps her adventure.  Obaba tells them about a prophecy that emerged deep in the kingdom of the Valley of the Wind.  A savior will arise ensconced in a blue robe and appear onto a golden field to lead the people.  Obaba is an old lady and blind, but her wisdom overcompensates her sensory deficiency.  Everyone goes to sleep.

Nausicaä is awakened by an aircraft carrier crashing into the valley.  It was piloted (poorly) by the kingdom of Tolmekia.  She rushes to the scene and fails to revive Princess Lastelle of Pejite.  The event is tragic and Lastelle’s dying wish is to destroy the payload.  Nausicaä lures an angry insect away from the wreckage.  She returns and the Tolmekia war nation appears.  Tolmekia kills Jhil and occupies the valley.  They secure the cargo (Giant Warrior embryo).  Their leader is Princess Kushana.  She is somewhat rude.

Nausicaä and Teto – Photo Credit: ignat.gorazd

Kushana prepares to journey home and selects some hostages.  Nausicaä shows Yupa her hidden garden before they leave.  The young botanist was able to purge the toxins from the Sea of Decay plant life by using sand and water from the bottom of a well.  Her innovation concluded that only the surface earth is dangerous and a vibrant ecosystem lives underneath.  The hostages and soldiers fly towards Tolmekia.

Pejitan gunships attack the Tolmekia ship.  It turns out if you kidnap a Princess you can expect retaliation.  The crew land into the sea.  Nausicaä saves one of the pilots on her glider and they are stranded in a non-poisonous alcove.  The two exchange pleasantries and N. realizes her forced companion is Asbel of Pejite (Lastelle’s twin brother).  They recover and visit his town.

Pejite is demolished.  The survivors elucidate that they maddened an Ohmu cluster in order to destroy the Tolmekia invaders and are now leading them towards the valley. They are doing it to regain the Giant Warrior and are using a baby Ohmu as bait.  Nausicaä is displeased and saves the wounded baby.  The valley is on the precipice of destruction and the warrior embryo is hatched to attack the cluster.  It kills a few Ohmus and evaporates.  Princess N. stands alone in front of the storming herd.  The Ohmu collide into her and she is flung up in the air.  They relax and use their yellow tendrils to revive her.  The tentacles create a field of gold and she traverses it drenched in blue Ohmu blood.  The prophecy is fulfilled and the decay is reversed. Everyone celebrates and the insects and humans live in peace. 

nausicaä of the valley of the wind
Nausicaä Promotional Poster – Photo Credit: Amal FM

The animation provided the groundwork for Studio Ghibli and turned Miyazaki into a household name.  Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind inspired artists from every medium, including the creator of Final Fantasy Hironobu Sakaguchi.  The Chocobos from his game’s universe were derived from animals in the film.  Hayao brought joy to a global audience and continues to do so today.

AsbelYōji MatsudaShia LaBeouf
GikkuriJōji YanamiJeff Bennett
JihlMahito TsujimuraMark Silverman
KurotowaIemasa KayumiChris Sarandon
KushanaYoshiko SakakibaraUma Thurman
Lord YupaGoro NayaPatrick Stewart
MitoIchirō NagaiEdward James Olmos
MuzuMahito TsujimuraJames Arnold Taylor
NausicaäSumi ShimamotoAlison Lohman
NigaMinoru YadaMark Silverman
ObabaHisako KyōdaTress MacNeille
Voice Cast of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
nausicaä credits
Film Credits – Photo Credit: Amal FM

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