“A thousand years have passed since the collapse of industrialized civilization. A toxic jungle now spreads, threatening the survival of the last of the human race.”

We hear these words after Lord Yupa leaves another village consumed by the toxic spores.

This is how the film introduces us to this terrible future.

Humanity is on the brink of extinction and its future is the hands of the unlikeliest of heroes.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is one of the first films directed by world-renowned Hayao Miyazaki.

The film hit theaters in 1984 and the success led to the creation of Studio Ghibli.

In the U.S New World Pictures in 1985 and Disney in 2003, both dubbed the film in English.

Disney’s version outshines the New World Picture’s version (Warriors of the Wind) because it had no cuts.

Of all the Ghibli films and Miyazaki films, this one is my favorite.

Let’s get started with the analysis of the film.

Two disclaimers before starting.

  • Spoilers will be part of this review but there will be a non-spoiler review linked if you want a quick synopsis.
  • This will be analysis driven so do not expect the traditional review format.

“A thousand years have passed since the collapse of industrialized civilization. A toxic jungle now spreads, threatening the survival of the last of the human race.”

We hear these words after Lord Yupa leaves another village consumed by the toxic spores.

This is how the film introduces us to this terrible future.

Humanity is on the brink of extinction and its future is the hands of the unlikeliest of heroes.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is one of the first films directed by world-renowned Hayao Miyazaki.

The film hit theaters in 1984 and the success led to the creation of Studio Ghibli.

In the U.S New World Pictures in 1985 and Disney in 2003, both dubbed the film in English.

Disney’s version outshines the New World Picture’s version (Warriors of the Wind) because it had no cuts.

Of all the Ghibli films and Miyazaki films, this one is my favorite.

Let’s get started with the analysis of the film.

Two disclaimers before starting.

  • Spoilers will be part of this review but there will be a non-spoiler review linked if you want a quick synopsis.
  • This will be analysis driven so do not expect the traditional review format.

Nausicaa

Nausicaa is the main character the protagonist of this story.

She is the princess of the Valley of the Wind hence the title of the film.

Nausicaa’s character affected me the most and is the best part of this film.

She has many great traits including:

  • bravery
  • kindness
  • leadership
  • relatability

It amazed me that Nausicaa’s “male” dominated traits did not overshadow or replace her “female” ones.

I relate to her love and compassion for the planet and all living things on it.

She uses this love to fuel her acts of bravery throughout the story.

But let’s not forget about Nausicaa’s Intelligence which also an important character trait.

Almost by accident and with the desire to save her father Nausicaa figured out why the jungle is toxic.

It all came down to the soil, not the trees and in fact, trees could be grown to produce non-toxic spores.

I wish the film had come back to this moment later on but the discovery alone was impressive.

Currently, everyone believed that the forest is toxic and the only solution is to destroy it.

In reality, there could be a way to coexist and grow non-toxic trees.

Nausicaa is explaning real cause of the toxic forest
Nausicaa is explaining the real cause of the toxic forest

Nausicaa belongs on a top ten list of the most relatable characters in anime.

I relate to her ability to hold her beliefs even if leads to conflicts with other people.

She stands alone a lot in these conflicts and sometimes even among her own people.

My lifestyle choices tend to conflict with modern society and I often have to defend myself.

Sometimes it’s can be one vs many in this conflict but regardless I stand my ground.

Nausicaa is the princess in her “kingdom” but due to her father’s illness, she is practically queen.

She can handle the pressures of leadership at such a young age.

Even when missteps occur she can bounce back and regain her composure.

Nausicaa attacks the Tolmekian soldiers that surrounded her recently deceased father.

Thankfully Lord Yupa was able to calm down Nausicaa and stop the fighting.

She stopped her people from fighting with the Tolmekians after regaining her composure.

So yes she lost control but was able to calm down and make rational decisions.

You could even argue that Nausicaa’s reactions were completely understandable given what happened.

Nausicaa is standing in front of the Ohm charging eventhough she knows they will run her over
Nausicaa is standing in front of the Ohmu charging even though she knows they will run her over
Nausicaa was kind to these girls eventhough she was in a hurry
Nausicaa was kind to these girls even though she was in a hurry.
Nausicaa’s greatest leadership quality is that she treats everyone with respect and dignity.

She genuinely value’s everyone and does not brush people aside when it’s convenient.

This is something that I appreciate a lot and I know that I am not alone on this.

Nausicaa demonstrates this many times in this film here is my favorite example.

Before leaving as a hostage with the Tolmekians three young girls go to Nausicaa in tears.

Despite the guards rushing Nausicaa to get on the ship, she takes her time gives them a hug and a thoughtful goodbye.

Nausicaa is not afraid to put herself in harm’s way to help her people.

This inspires loyalty because everyone knows that Nausicaa would not give orders that she would not do.

She leads by example. Here are two great examples of this.

She took off her mask and breathed in the toxic spores to convince her men to dump their cargo.

Despite smiling at them she was actually in real pain.

Towards the end of the film, Nausicaa was with the baby Ohmu and they both stood before a stampede of Ohmu.

Nausicaa knows this is suicide but does this because she wants to protect her people.

Nausicaa

Nausicaa is the main character the protagonist of this story.

She is the princess of the Valley of the Wind hence the title of the film.

Nausicaa’s character affected me the most and is the best part of this film.

She has many great traits including:

  • bravery
  • kindness
  • leadership
  • relatability

It amazed me that Nausicaa’s “male” dominated traits did not overshadow or replace her “female” ones.

I relate to her love and compassion for the planet and all living things on it.

She uses this love to fuel her acts of bravery throughout the story.

But let’s not forget about Nausicaa’s Intelligence which also an important character trait.

Almost by accident and with the desire to save her father Nausicaa figured out why the jungle is toxic.

It all came down to the soil, not the trees and in fact, trees could be grown to produce non-toxic spores.

I wish the film had come back to this moment later on but the discovery alone was impressive.

Currently, everyone believed that the forest is toxic and the only solution is to destroy it.

In reality, there could be a way to coexist and grow non-toxic trees.

Nausicaa is explaning real cause of the toxic forest
Nausicaa is explaining the real cause of the toxic forest

Nausicaa belongs on a top ten list of the most relatable characters in anime.

I relate to her ability to hold her beliefs even if leads to conflicts with other people.

She stands alone a lot in these conflicts and sometimes even among her own people.

My lifestyle choices tend to conflict with modern society and I often have to defend myself.

Sometimes it’s can be one vs many in this conflict but regardless I stand my ground.

Nausicaa is the princess in her “kingdom” but due to her father’s illness, she is practically queen.

She can handle the pressures of leadership at such a young age.

Even when missteps occur she can bounce back and regain her composure.

Nausicaa attacks the Tolmekian soldiers that surrounded her recently deceased father.

Thankfully Lord Yupa was able to calm down Nausicaa and stop the fighting.

She stopped her people from fighting with the Tolmekians after regaining her composure.

So yes she lost control but was able to calm down and make rational decisions.

You could even argue that Nausicaa’s reactions were completely understandable given what happened.

Nausicaa is standing in front of the Ohm charging eventhough she knows they will run her over
Nausicaa is standing in front of the Ohmu charging even though she knows they will run her over
Nausicaa was kind to these girls eventhough she was in a hurry
Nausicaa was kind to these girls even though she was in a hurry.
Nausicaa’s greatest leadership quality is that she treats everyone with respect and dignity.

She genuinely value’s everyone and does not brush people aside when it’s convenient.

This is something that I appreciate a lot and I know that I am not alone on this.

Nausicaa demonstrates this many times in this film here is my favorite example.

Before leaving as a hostage with the Tolmekians three young girls go to Nausicaa in tears.

Despite the guards rushing Nausicaa to get on the ship, she takes her time gives them a hug and a thoughtful goodbye.

Nausicaa is not afraid to put herself in harm’s way to help her people.

This inspires loyalty because everyone knows that Nausicaa would not give orders that she would not do.

She leads by example. Here are two great examples of this.

She took off her mask and breathed in the toxic spores to convince her men to dump their cargo.

Despite smiling at them she was actually in real pain.

Towards the end of the film, Nausicaa was with the baby Ohmu and they both stood before a stampede of Ohmu.

Nausicaa knows this is suicide but does this because she wants to protect her people.

Enviromentalism

Baby Ohm healing Nausicaa after its treatment
Baby Ohmu healing Nausicaa even after it's the treatment
Some of the main themes in this film include veganism, anti-war, pro-environment, etc, etc.

This film expresses social commentary with the conflict between Humanity and the Ohmu.

Humanity as tried to remove the bugs thinking it is the solution to the problem.

Ironically enough it is actually the opposite and the bugs are trying to save the planet.

Only Nausicaa and her people realized that living in harmony with the bugs is the path to survival.

I think the message from this is clear and the symbolism is obvious.

If humanity hopes to survive we have to live in harmony with the planet and its inhabitants instead of destroying it.

Of the large bugs, the Ohmu are the first we meet.

If you asked me what I thought of them after the first ten minutes.

The response would be they are terrifying, angry, and mindless creatures.

But as the film progresses we start to learn more about the Ohmu.

These creatures prove that they are intelligent, compassionate, and show forgiveness.

The Pejites captured a baby Ohmu and punctured it with nails to attach it to a flying device.

What for you might ask?

They did this to lure out the entire herd of Ohmu.

After Nausicaa saves the creature it heals her bullet wounds and burns from the acid water.

It’s a powerful scene.

The Ohm healing Nausicaa
The Ohm healing Nausicaa
The Ohm is first shown as an angry creature
The Ohmu is first shown as an angry creature
After the stampede, the rage in the Ohmu stops and they heal Nausicaa.
 
The entire herd returns home with their baby as fast as they arrived.
 
The Ohmu only became enraged when they home or children are under attack something we can all relate to.
 
Ohmu demonstrated their ability to understand English and interact with the subconscious of other living things.
 
Ohmu serves as a metaphor that one should not judge people by outward appearances.
 

Enviromentalism

Baby Ohm healing Nausicaa after its treatment
Baby Ohmu healing Nausicaa even after it's the treatment
Some of the main themes in this film include veganism, anti-war, pro-environment, etc, etc.

This film expresses social commentary with the conflict between Humanity and the Ohmu.

Humanity as tried to remove the bugs thinking it is the solution to the problem.

Ironically enough it is actually the opposite and the bugs are trying to save the planet.

Only Nausicaa and her people realized that living in harmony with the bugs is the path to survival.

I think the message from this is clear and the symbolism is obvious.

If humanity hopes to survive we have to live in harmony with the planet and its inhabitants instead of destroying it.

Of the large bugs, the Ohmu are the first we meet.

If you asked me what I thought of them after the first ten minutes.

The response would be they are terrifying, angry, and mindless creatures.

But as the film progresses we start to learn more about the Ohmu.

These creatures prove that they are intelligent, compassionate, and show forgiveness.

The Pejites captured a baby Ohmu and punctured it with nails to attach it to a flying device.

What for you might ask?

They did this to lure out the entire herd of Ohmu.

After Nausicaa saves the creature it heals her bullet wounds and burns from the acid water.

It’s a powerful scene.

The Ohm healing Nausicaa
The Ohm healing Nausicaa
The Ohm is first shown as an angry creature
The Ohmu is first shown as an angry creature
After the stampede, the rage in the Ohmu stops and they heal Nausicaa.
 
The entire herd returns home with their baby as fast as they arrived.
 
The Ohmu only became enraged when they home or children are under attack something we can all relate to.
 
Ohmu demonstrated their ability to understand English and interact with the subconscious of other living things.
 
Ohmu serves as a metaphor that one should not judge people by outward appearances.
 

Characters

No story is complete without great characters and this film is no exception.

The villains of this story are just as interesting as the heroes.

Why?

Because they are not doing evil things because they are simply evil.

They are reasons and some of them from their point of view are completely unreasonable

We first meet Asbel a Pejite youth in one of his less appealing moments.

He shoots down several Tolmekian ships and only stops after being shot down himself.

Much like the Ohmu, Asbel is first shown to be violent and full of rage.

Asbel is actually a kind and spiritual person who is loyal to his people much like Nausicaa.

He tells Nausicaa that Princess Lastelle of Pejite was on the Tolmekian ship that crashed earlier.

Lastelle also was his sister and she died because of this so you can understand why he attacked the Tolmekian ships.

Asbel risks his life on several occasions to help Nausicaa even going as far as to betray his own people.

This is the best Asbel quote; “Why is it that everything that’s good for you tastes so bad?”.

Asbel shown here as a nice person
Asbel is shown here as a nice person
Kushana's design
Kushana's design

Kushana is interesting because her initial plan seems harmless and altruistic.

But then you find out that she threatens the people of the valley and kills their king.

She also tried to come across as noble by suggesting that Lord Yupa should use the weapon or the Pejites will.

Of course, she leaves out the important detail that she originally brought the weapon.

Some of the reasons for her actions are understandable.

For example Ohmu damage some of her limbs and that’s why she wears the armor.

This is why she hates the bugs and wants them dead.

She is obviously wrong but I can’t really blame her for feeling that way.

Lord Yupa is an interesting character.

He is the best sword fighter in the land, an excellent strategist, super suave, and owns every scene he is in.

The scene of Lord Yupa returning to the Valley gives a similar feel to Gandalf returning to the shire in the “Fellowship of the Ring.”

He is a good example of the classic sage and legendary warrior trope.

With a unique design, Lord Yupa is one character that will not be forgotten anytime soon.

Lord Yupa
Lord Yupa

Characters

No story is complete without great characters and this film is no exception.

The villains of this story are just as interesting as the heroes.

Why?

Because they are not doing evil things because they are simply evil.

They are reasons and some of them from their point of view are completely unreasonable

We first meet Asbel a Pejite youth in one of his less appealing moments.

He shoots down several Tolmekian ships and only stops after being shot down himself.

Much like the Ohmu, Asbel is first shown to be violent and full of rage.

Asbel is actually a kind and spiritual person who is loyal to his people much like Nausicaa.

He tells Nausicaa that Princess Lastelle of Pejite was on the Tolmekian ship that crashed earlier.

Lastelle also was his sister and she died because of this so you can understand why he attacked the Tolmekian ships.

Asbel risks his life on several occasions to help Nausicaa even going as far as to betray his own people.

This is the best Asbel quote; “Why is it that everything that’s good for you tastes so bad?”.

Asbel shown here as a nice person
Asbel is shown here as a nice person
Kushana's design
Kushana's design

Kushana is interesting because her initial plan seems harmless and altruistic.

But then you find out that she threatens the people of the valley and kills their king.

She also tried to come across as noble by suggesting that Lord Yupa should use the weapon or the Pejites will.

Of course, she leaves out the important detail that she originally brought the weapon.

Some of the reasons for her actions are understandable.

For example Ohmu damage some of her limbs and that’s why she wears the armor.

This is why she hates the bugs and wants them dead.

She is obviously wrong but I can’t really blame her for feeling that way.

Lord Yupa is an interesting character.

He is the best sword fighter in the land, an excellent strategist, super suave, and owns every scene he is in.

The scene of Lord Yupa returning to the Valley gives a similar feel to Gandalf returning to the shire in the “Fellowship of the Ring.”

He is a good example of the classic sage and legendary warrior trope.

With a unique design, Lord Yupa is one character that will not be forgotten anytime soon.

Lord Yupa
Lord Yupa

Art, Music and Sound

Production values are always something to discuss in films.

In anime production, this takes on a new level.

Because beyond the story the art of the film is a thing all to itself.

This film’s art, music, and sound brings this fantastic story to life.

This nausicaa's father as shown in the dream sequence
Nausicaa's dad from her memories
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is an old film that came out in 1984, so the art is old fashion but not of poor quality.

The characters all have a unique design.

Lord Yupa’s design is special having aspects of a cowboy, wizard, and a medieval knight all combined into one. He has an epic beard to boot.

Kushana has an interesting design to her look in both her hairstyle and attire.

She wears a traditional royal outfit with robotic parts on some of her limbs.

The animators made each faction unique so when all three are in conflict you can distinguish each one.

I love how the film mixes modern technology with medieval aspects like knights in armor.

It really immerses you in this dystopian world.

Nausicaa’s glider is the best art asset in this film.

The Ohmu are able to show expression despite no face articulation that are like animals.

When thinking of something similar I immediately thought of Star Wars The Return of the Jedi.

When Emperor Palpatine is electrifying Luke with his force lighting, Darth Vader watches.

You have to give credit to George here because the camera angle and lighting reflecting in Vader’s mask shows that he is in conflict.

Even though there is no actual expression coming from the mask we understand what he is thinking.

a scene of the Ohm returning to the forest
Nausicaa's glider and all it's glory
a scene of the Ohm returning to the forest
The Ohmu returning to the forest

The film’s sense of scale is impressive for its time. Here are some examples;

  • The Ohmu returning to the forest at the end of the film,
  • Nausicaa looking back at all of the Ohmu charging towards the Valley from her glider,
  • Lord Yupa watching the herd of Ohmu calming down
  • the scene where the Ohmu are moving from the forest with the flies above them.

The flies are the size of people but in comparison to Ohmu are comparable to the size difference between people and fruit flies.

Nausicaa’s dream sequences are great and authentic.

In the scene where her father is holding Nausicaa as a child, he looks strong and powerful, which is how most children see their parents.

The drawings on the tablets during the opening credits which tell legends of the valley are a nice touch.

There is not much use of music in this film but when it is used it’s great.

The music of the last scene creates a sense of accomplishment and paints a picture of hope.

There is girl singing in Nausicaa’s dream sequence and that song is my favorite in the whole film.

The song used in the glider chase sequence got me excited for the action that was about to happen.

From characters walking, gunshots, etc. the sound is on point.

The voice acting is fantastic one cannot go wrong with either Japanese or English dubbing (stick to Disney’s version).

Art, Music and Sound

Production values are always something to discuss in films.

In anime production, this takes on a new level.

Because beyond the story the art of the film is a thing all to itself.

This film’s art, music, and sound brings this fantastic story to life.

This nausicaa's father as shown in the dream sequence
Nausicaa's dad from her memories
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is an old film that came out in 1984, so the art is old fashion but not of poor quality.

The characters all have a unique design.

Lord Yupa’s design is special having aspects of a cowboy, wizard, and a medieval knight all combined into one. He has an epic beard to boot.

Kushana has an interesting design to her look in both her hairstyle and attire.

She wears a traditional royal outfit with robotic parts on some of her limbs.

The animators made each faction unique so when all three are in conflict you can distinguish each one.

a scene of the Ohm returning to the forest
Nausicaa's glider and all it's glory

I love how the film mixes modern technology with medieval aspects like knights in armor.

It really immerses you in this dystopian world.

Nausicaa’s glider is the best art asset in this film.

The Ohmu are able to show expression despite no face articulation that are like animals.

When thinking of something similar I immediately thought of Star Wars The Return of the Jedi.

When Emperor Palpatine is electrifying Luke with his force lighting, Darth Vader watches.

You have to give credit to George here because the camera angle and lighting reflecting in Vader’s mask shows that he is in conflict.

Even though there is no actual expression coming from the mask we understand what he is thinking.

a scene of the Ohm returning to the forest
The Ohmu returning to the forest

The film’s sense of scale is impressive for its time. Here are some examples;

  • The Ohmu returning to the forest at the end of the film,
  • Nausicaa looking back at all of the Ohmu charging towards the Valley from her glider,
  • Lord Yupa watching the herd of Ohmu calming down
  • the scene where the Ohmu are moving from the forest with the flies above them.

The flies are the size of people but in comparison to Ohmu are comparable to the size difference between people and fruit flies.

Nausicaa’s dream sequences are great and authentic.

In the scene where her father is holding Nausicaa as a child, he looks strong and powerful, which is how most children see their parents.

The drawings on the tablets during the opening credits which tell legends of the valley are a nice touch.

There is not much use of music in this film but when it is used it’s great.

The music of the last scene creates a sense of accomplishment and paints a picture of hope.

There is girl singing in Nausicaa’s dream sequence and that song is my favorite in the whole film.

The song used in the glider chase sequence got me excited for the action that was about to happen.

From characters walking, gunshots, etc. the sound is on point.

The voice acting is fantastic one cannot go wrong with either Japanese or English dubbing (stick to Disney’s version).

The Film’s Relevance Today and Final Thoughts

This is the film's way of showing the dangers of nuclear war
This is the film's way of showing the dangers of nuclear war
You might think a movie celebrating its 35th anniversary is irrelevant today.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The films central themes are :

  • environmentalism,
  • feminism,
  • might makes right,
  • nuclear war,
  • anti-war

Global Warming is a widely discussed topic that has been the center of debates for years.

This entire film is a possible outcome for failing to preserve and take care of the planet.

While nuclear war may not be the center of attention but it’s still a contentious topic.

The resurrection of the warrior from the seven days of fire is this film’s version of Nuclear weapons and the danger they pose on the world.

Feminism has evolved in the last decade which has led to studios to create more female protagonists.

This film was ahead of its time having two female leads that are both in positions of power.

The women in this story have strong leadership skills, are brave and strong – but don’t sacrifice what makes them women.

The ultimate form of feminism.

two Females Lead This Movie
Two Females Lead This Movie
the major of pejite is arguing with Nausicaa
The major of pejite is arguing with Nausicaa

There are so many great qualities of this film here are just a few examples.

  • Pejite mayor is great because he was voiced by Mark Hammil.
  • The resurrected warrior firing at the Ohmu is the best action scene in the film.
  • It has a simple story that is easy to follow.
  • The film’s length is perfect it provides enough time to immerse in the world without dragging on.

For those who have never watched anime start here after all Miyazaki did. The film’s ideas and topics are so interesting and relatable. In ten years from now this film will be even more relevant than it is today.

For those that are still on the fence learn from this film’s greatest message and do not judge a book by its cover.

Anime is weird to some but its one of the greatest achievement’s mankind has created.

Have you seen or will see Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind? Who is your favorite character and what is your favorite scene in this movie?

Also tell what part of the film interests you the most. Let me know in the comments. If you want to read more interesting insights on anime join the reading list to stay up to date.

If you like this article please share it this helps me know what is popular and what people want.
Please give my facebook page a like it helps out alot.
Please join my email list to keep up with the current projects that I am working on.
Thanks so much for reading and have a great day

The Film’s Relevance Today and Final Thoughts

This is the film's way of showing the dangers of nuclear war
This is the film's way of showing the dangers of nuclear war
You might think a movie celebrating its 35th anniversary is irrelevant today.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The films central themes are :

  • environmentalism,
  • feminism,
  • might makes right,
  • nuclear war,
  • anti-war

Global Warming is a widely discussed topic that has been the center of debates for years.

This entire film is a possible outcome for failing to preserve and take care of the planet.

While nuclear war may not be the center of attention but it’s still a contentious topic.

The resurrection of the warrior from the seven days of fire is this film’s version of Nuclear weapons and the danger they pose on the world.

two Females Lead This Movie
Two Females Lead This Movie

Feminism has evolved in the last decade which has led to studios to create more female protagonists.

This film was ahead of its time having two female leads that are both in positions of power.

The women in this story have strong leadership skills, are brave and strong – but don’t sacrifice what makes them women.

The ultimate form of feminism.

the major of pejite is arguing with Nausicaa
The major of pejite is arguing with Nausicaa

There are so many great qualities of this film here are just a few examples.

  • Pejite mayor is great because he was voiced by Mark Hammil.
  • The resurrected warrior firing at the Ohmu is the best action scene in the film.
  • It has a simple story that is easy to follow.
  • The film’s length is perfect it provides enough time to immerse in the world without dragging on.

For those who have never watched anime start here after all Miyazaki did. The film’s ideas and topics are so interesting and relatable. In ten years from now this film will be even more relevant than it is today.

For those that are still on the fence learn from this film’s greatest message and do not judge a book by its cover.

Anime is weird to some but its one of the greatest achievement’s mankind has created.

Have you seen or will see Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind? Who is your favorite character and what is your favorite scene in this movie?

Also tell what part of the film interests you the most. Let me know in the comments. If you want to read more interesting insights on anime join the reading list to stay up to date.

If you like this article please share it this helps me know what is popular and what people want.
Please give my facebook page a like it helps out alot.
Please join my email list to keep up with the current projects that I am working on.
Thanks so much for reading and have a great day
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Guten Tag und Willkommen to MyMediaChops a blog created by a lifelong passionate anime fan. I discuss all kinds of anime and answer specific questions about anime. My goal is to prove that anime is for everyone.