Hayao Miyazaki is most notable for his many contributions to the world of anime, including such classics as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. However, he had a childhood dream of becoming a manga artist, and that dream never left him. In fact, he’s been working in that medium for as long as he’s been writing and directing films. His biggest work in manga is actually Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, which he started in 1981. It became extremely popular and has sold millions of copies around the world.
It was just four years later that he would turn this into the much beloved anime film that we know today.
What’s It About?
While we’ll discuss the basic plot of the film, we never want to give away too much. Even older films have those who are watching them for the first time, and there shouldn’t be a time limit on spoilers, particular for a film that’s so worth watching. Still, you need a basic overview of the plot to know whether it might be something you would like to watch.
This is a post apocalyptic fantasy that follows the titular character, the Valley of the Wind’s Princess Nausicaa, as she tries to stop another kingdom from destroying a jungle and the creatures that call it home. She’s attempting to find a cure for the Toxic Jungle and those that live within it.
One of the things to note about this film is that there is a US version, which is actually quite a bit different from the original Japanese version. The US edit makes the movie far more kid friendly, but it destroys the impact of the actual film. It’s a far better idea to go with the original Japanese version, especially if this happens to be the first time you are watching the film.
Why Should You Watch the Film?
If you haven’t seen it already, then you really do need to watch Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. This is true whether you simply want to watch all of the films from Miyazaki, or you are simply checking his work out for the first time. It is truly one of the classics, and like all of the work that comes from Studio Ghibli, it is beautiful. There’s something truly special about hand-drawn animation that so many of the CGI iterations today lack.
It also has a clear message about finding ways to work together, with tones of environmentalism thrown in for good measure.