The Order of Ghiblis #10 - Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Join us as we watch and rank every Studio Ghibli movie!
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
"Warrior and pacifist Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet."
Technically coming out the year before Studio Ghibli was officially formed, Nausicaa was none the less created by Hayao Mitazaki, Isao Takahata, and the first score by Joe Hisaishi, so has now been sort of looped into the Ghibli canon as their first movie in most collections.
The movie primarily follows the story of Nausicaa, princess of the Valley of the Wind, as she battles warring nearby nations, and the massive creatures of the toxic forests that ravage the land. We get dropped into the middle of the world with very little explanation of what's going on and who each of the factions are or even why they are at war, which can be ok for a films immersion but here feels like some parts are missing. The overall direction of the adventure is quite an interesting story, and again shows a lot of the things that Miyazaki movies are now well known for, including a strong main female lead, flying machines of loads of different varieties, and an anti-pollution message that pits the world against the characters. The movie is set a thousand years after a huge human made catastrophe and the forests are poisoned still due to the radiated soil, so, slightly less subtle than some of his later works.
The move does start quite strong, with an interesting concept in the forests and giant creatures, with Nausicaa being a great character left to fend for herself. However it then starts to meander slowly through the rest of it's plot points, introducing various nations and characters with little reason to be there. The second half is definitely "1980s slow", and in this it shows its age a lot more than other early Ghibli works.
Even though the idea of the order is to start at the bottom and work up, we just couldn't help but initially compare this movie to Laputa, another very early Ghibli work trying to tell a similar adventure for the main character.
Unfortunately Nausicaa comes off worse in almost every area, where we loved Laputa for it's grand adventure, super characters, and amazing journey that stood the test of time, we felt Nausicaa really didn't shine in any of those areas. In fact, getting back to the order, we felt that the lovely, familiar, and funny tales of the Yamada family were more enjoyable overall, so Nausicaa stays exactly where it starts, as our new last place.
NEW FULL ORDER
1. My Neighbour Totoro
2. Kiki's Delivery Service
3. Laputa Castle in the Sky
4. Whisper of the Heart
5. Howl's Moving Castle
6. Grave of the Fireflies
7. Cat Returns
9. My Neighbours the Yamadas
10. [NEW] Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind