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Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind [DVD]
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Classic Japanese anime feature directed by Hayao Miyazaki, set in a distant future after human civilisation has been wiped out in a global war known as the Seven Days of Fire. In the isolated Valley of the Wind, Princess Nausicaä (voice of Sumi Shimamoto) rules over a small group of survivors, the valley bordered on all sides by a toxic jungle guarded by monstrous insect creatures. This equilibrium is about to be disturbed though, as a new struggle for earthly domination threatens to unfold.
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Oscar Award winner Spirited Away is a remarkable fantasy adventure film quite unlike any other. It tells the story of Chihiro, a headstrong 10-year-old girl, who’s family have unwittingly strayed into the Land of the Spirits. Chihiro must use all her energy to overcome her fears and join an epic battle for her family’s freedom.
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Grave Of The Fireflies
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Find your next Ghibli adventure on the Official Studio Ghibli Amazon Store. From fairy tales such as Totoro to the Oscar Award winning animation Spirited Away, there are films for every generation.
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Top customer reviews
I have to say...this is probably the best film I have ever seen. There is a lot of violence and stuff similar to Princess Mononoke, but this is perfectly balanced by grace and beauty in form of Princess Nausicaa. From the very beginning I was really impressed (especially as she has a cute little sidekick).
This film is really emotional as well as being insanely capturing. Because it was originally released in 1984, the music is quite techno and amusing, but this doesn't really affect the quality of the movie.
I was absolutely taken with this film, and if you enjoy any anime's and animations at all, especially Studio Ghibli, I recommend this.
For those who didn't know, Nausicaa was originally a manga by Miyazaki, which he was persuaded to make into a film. The manga is actually very different to the anime, so is well worth checking out if you enjoyed the film but were put off the books due to fears of buying the same story (which I have done with some "film comics" in the past...)
The first thing that struck me about this film was the quality of the imagery. It was made in 1984, and back then the art hadn't really been developed very far, plus the team was on a tight budget, so what they have managed to do is very impressive, and still stands up to scrutiny today. The opening shots are very effective at setting the tone of the film, with ruined villages offset by lush jungle and sweeping barren plains. The art style is consistent throughout, although occasionally the characters seem a little too cartoony against the more detailed backgrounds.
The story is quite complicated, and I didn't get all of it the first time around. The film is set 1000 years after a global war that destroyed almost all of civilisation. The few remaining humans have survived alongside the Sea of Decay (Poison Jungle in some versions), that covers most of the planet, and is ruled by giant insects called ohmu. The titular Nausicaa is the princess of the Valley of the Wind, a small, peaceful kingdom by the sea. It is the wind blowing from the sea that prevents the jungle's spores coming into their land, and the people lead happy, safe lives alongside the Sea of Decay. However, one day an airship from another kingdom, Torumekia, crashes in the Valley, and (without spoiling the plot), is found to contain something that has been proven to have the power to change the future of the Earth, which the Torumekians plan to use to their own end.
Although you will probably lose track of who's from where (another kingdom called Pejite gets dragged in as well), the plot is thrilling, awe-inspiring and thought-provoking. Be sure to sit through the credits, as they play over some shots depicting the events after the film, and help to bring it to a satisfying, if slightly clichéd, conclusion.
The sound in the film is passable, with the opening theme being the only piece that really stands out. The American dub is alright, but some actors seem awkward in their roles, and the script is (like most dubbed anime) changed quite a bit, although the same general messages come through.
The film is rated PG, but there is quite a bit of senseless killing, and some scenes would be scary for very young children. There is a never-dying rumour that Nausicaa isn't wearing any underwear, and there are a few shots of her bare behind, but she is actually wearing pale-coloured trousers, and the skirt-type garment is just her coat (everyone else is wearing one in later scenes).
Despite this, I would recommend this film to everyone, as it delivers everything you would associate with Miyazaki's other films; beautiful imagery, thought-provoking plot, frantic action and engaging slower scenes. No-one can be called a Miyazaki fan until they've seen this original masterpiece.
After 25 years later, this movie still gives me the same strong inspiration: all of his consistent messages are here already. Nausicca embodies the greatest of human being: love and care for every creature without any preconception or discrimination; pure mind to see what is the most important things which make all of us to co-exist in the world; and courage to act on her belief. I always think of her when I hear all the difficulties which we are facing now for climate change and sustainability.
Mitazaki directed various TV cartoon series in Japan during the 1970s and I grew up with them (how lucky!). Of course, I did not care who was making these great anime shows. Many were broadcasted in other countries, so you may know them. I just enjoyed their beautiful stories, drawings and music. His first feature film, The Castle of Cagliostro, was released in 1979 in Japan (a very fun movie, although the story was not his original, I do strongly recommend this one too. This was the film version of a very popular TV anime series in Japan, Lupin the Third).
I do not go into the content of this film because other people already explained beautifully, but I really recommend Nausicca to everyone as the origin of Miyazaki films.
This film was also the first collaboration between Miyazaki and Joe Hisaishi (his music composer and director). Joe was very little known in Japan before this movie, but this film's immense success made him one of the most successful composers in Japan too! Please enjoy his music as well.