“Seas Of Destruction” – Nausicaä Valley of the of the Wind (anime) – 10/10 Black Cats

Brotherhood is the very price and condition of man’s survival. ~Carlos P. Romulo

Genre: Sci-fi/Action

Review Status: Complete (1 Movie/1 Movie)

Licensed: Yes, this anime is licensed in the US

Art/Animation: It’s Ghibli. Soft faces, large eyes, pretty girls and guys with mustaches.

Dub Vs. Sub: Both are wonderful. There might be a wince-worthy moment or two in the dub, when Nausicaa says her own name (and fails to pronounce it correctly), but nothing that should really be a deterrent.

Summary: A thousand years after a global war, a seaside kingdom known as the Valley of the Wind remains one of only a few areas still populated. Led by the courageous Princess Nausicaä, the people of the valley are engaged in a constant struggle with powerful insects called Ohmu, who guard a poisonous jungle that is spreading across the Earth. Nausicaä and her brave companions, together with the people of the Valley, strive to restore the bond between humanity and the Earth. (back of DVD cover)

Review: Nausicaä is right up there in Ghibli’s darkest films, second only to Grave of the Fireflies. This is a land almost overtaken by desolation- one where breathing the air for too long will send you to an early grave, as is happening with Nausicaä’s father, one where the hardest struggle may not guarantee your survival.

Even in the face of this, Nausicaä remains optimistic- that perhaps she can cure her father’s disease, and that they can live in peace with the creatures of the forest if humans take the time to understand them instead of simply fighting against them. Her fairly peaceful world is shattered when a warship carrying an important prisoner crashes in her valley with a weapon of devastating power left from the war that destroyed the world.

Nausicaä is a powerful work of anti-war, pro-environmentalist themes that never is preachy or condescending or takes it to a level that would make people unconfortable. The story is strong enough that it feels as natural and obvious as anything- and not in a bad way. Even looking back, there are lessons that are true in it. Nausicaä brings the conflict home in her character- in a fit of rage, she ends up killing others, but hates herself for it and vows to never allow it to happen again. She also tries her hardest to protect others from death. Since she understands the motivations behind how the creatures of the forest act (and they are animals, acting on mostly natural instinct), Nausicaa teaches others how to respect them and shares her knowledge- they can live together on each other’s periphery if humans can learn to calm down.

There’s action, adventure, and the plot threads are tied together very nicely. It’s a wonderful film in its own right- no need to actually read the manga it’s based off of. (Side note: The manga and the anime are quite different. The movie is the adaptation of the first volume or so- the manga goes its own route after that).

Overall, this is one of the best of Ghibli’s films, and it shows.

Recommended: Yes! 13+, since the ideas of death are very prevalent. Nausicaä’s father is killed onscreen, a girl dies from injuries, there’s the implication of the Sea of Decay killing the inhabitants of a kingdom. The reminders that this is a deadly world are everywhere. No death is graphic or gory. No language is in the movie. There is a scene where Nausicaä unbuttons a girl’s shirt to see the extent of the injuries- you only see the shirt- the angle lets you see Nausicaä’s face before she buttons it back up.

Other titles you might enjoy:
Real Drive (anime)
+Anima (manga)
Princess Mononoke (anime)
Origin: Spirits of the Past (anime)
Erin (anime)
Earth Maiden Arjuna (anime)


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