back with a film that really takes a step back from the Studio Ghibli we know today. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was (technically) produced before Studio Ghibli was Studio Ghibli, but is still considered one of Ghibli’s collective works. Released in 1984, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind follows the story of Nausicaa, the princess of city-state known as the Valley of the Wind. An avid wind-rider, Nausicaa spends most of her free time exploring the Toxic Forest (or “Sea of Decay”, depending on which version you’re looking at), a poison-filled front by nature that stands as the primary threat to humanity, 1000 years after humanity was nearly destroyed by the Seven Days of Fire, the apocalyptic end to a devastating war that left the Earth’s ecosystem in despair, producing the Toxic Forest, and it’s giant insect guardians.
Unlike my previous 12 Days of Ghibli films, this film takes a more sci-fi approach to a different theme. Nausicaa focuses on the harm humanity does on the planet when we fight our wars and inevitably cause our own demise. Ghibli does a great job illustrating the alien-ness of humans on their own planet, because the spores poisonous to them, were actually the remnants of the forest’s purification process. Deep below the forest’s surface, petrified trees served as filters, cleaning the water and scrubbing the soil of pollutants, left by humans so many centuries ago.
Of all the Ghibli films, this one holds the most impact, in my opinion. Expressing the value of living in union with nature, understanding the symbiotic relationship of the planet is necessary for humans to continue living happily on it. It also shows the futility of man’s warfare against the raw, untethered wrath of nature, as shown when the revived Giant Warrior fails to stop the rampaging Ohma as they approach the Valley of the Wind.
I refuse to divulge the ultimate ending of this film, it’s too good to not be seen first-hand. Highly recommended to, well, anybody. Children will enjoy the epic adventure of Nausicaa and adults will appreciate the message presented in such a dynamic story of one girl’s journey to save her people, and humanity in the long run. Don’t count this one out just because of the old animation-style, Ghibli takes pre-digital methodology to a whole new level. I’m surprised there isn’t a bigger appreciative fanbase for this, but maybe the general “Japanese/foreign film” tag put people off. (You guys should know better, right? :3 )
Until next time,