Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind – Anime Review

Japanese Title: Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä

 

Similar: Princess Mononoke

The Beast Player Erin

 

Watched in: Japanese & English

Genre: Fantasy Adventure

Length: 1 hr. 57 min. movie

 

Positives:

  • The Ghibli seal of quality in art and audio.
  • Insects and fungus make for a new and unusual environmental adversary.
  • Patience in pacing and exploration.

Negatives:

  • Script isn’t the sharpest.
  • Dated music may be off-putting.

Sometimes, hype and praise for a film or series can lessen the enjoyment of said film or series – everyone can relate to this phenomenon. It can happen with any piece of fiction, regardless of quality. Perhaps a few too many friends set your expectations too high, to an unattainable height. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind suffered from this effect with me.

Nausicaä takes place in a post-apocalyptic world swarmed by fungus and giant insects after humanity’s industrial society pushed nature too far. Most prevalent is the Sea of Corruption, a massive fungi forest that contaminates the area with poisonous spores. Princess Nausicaä from one of few remaining human civilisations, where every man has a fabulous ‘stache, seeks to bring peace between humanity and the environment. Furthermore, fear has pushed other human settlements towards violence, which exacerbates the conflict.

I enjoyed Nausicaä’s tone most. The spore-infested world looks suitably disgusting, populated by monstrous insects and Miyazaki used patience in exploring this desolate landscape, allowing us to experience the world in full. The pacing is just right that it never feels like a slog.

The adventure and characters are fun, the tech is cool, making sense in this world, and the action flows well with the quieter scenes, all elements working well together. I didn’t find a wasted scene (perhaps the romance is a little empty, though the scenes still matter beyond the couple).

However, despite being a good film, after all the praise lauded at Nausicaä, I didn’t leave this adventure feeling as though I had found something special. It’s likely nothing from Nausicaä will remain memorable to me – still despite it being a good film, one I recommend. With every new scene, every new conflict, my excitement never rose as it should have, would have, had I seen this without prior praise. I expected…not more, just something…new. Perhaps Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind would have left a greater impact on me if it weren’t the same as Princess Mononoke.

Art – Very High

When isn’t Studio Ghibli’s artwork top-notch? I like the rustic technology design – can see where they inspired from in Howl’s Moving Castle. The vintage quality adds to the world’s spore-polluted effect.

Sound – High

While the acting is good (Captain Picard as the swordsmaster is great), as is the music (though 80s electro may weird out newer viewers), the script is weak in parts, particularly for Nausicaä herself. She states the obvious and exposition dumps far too often. “I am doing this as I do it.” “Now I’m talking to the cam- I mean to myself about what the aud- I mean someone might need to hear.”

Story – High

After civilisation’s collapse, fungi infest the world and giant insects roam the land. Princess Nausicaä seeks to bring balance back to the world. A good adventure that doesn’t try to force the moral lesson up your nose.

Overall Quality – High

Recommendation: An easy recommendation, though I would not say it’s a must watch. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is Princess Mononoke for a younger audience.

(Request reviews here. Find out more about the rating system here.)

 

Awards: (hover mouse over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)

Positive:

Fluid AnimationStunning Art Quality

Negative: None

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