Set in the post-industrial landscape of mankind’s prosperous civilization, this movie illustrates a return to basics where there are technological advancements, but are limited by the world they live in. Nausicaa is set a thousand years after the destruction of the old world where giant warriors devastated and set light the civilizations once home to the human race. Now, just a remnant of the past, and most settlements fall to the entity known to the world as the Toxic Jungle, one valley settlement stands defiant and in peaceful harmony with the new nature that could kill them. Here is our Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Review.
The story is magnificent but puzzling at times. On one side you have the Valley of the Winds population, and on the other, you have the battling nation of Tolmekia. In between is always nature, which is mainly the insects and Ohm, from the viewer’s point of view it is hard to say who is in the right other than Narsicaa since she embodies the balance between the world and mankind perfectly.
Opening up this movie you are introduced to a time, after the fall of the industrial buildings, and the age of a toxic jungle where not much lives. The initial feeling that the characters emit is that of insects with the mounts that are risen and the somewhat hound appearance, although you can clearly see human aspects.
Although the world has fallen there is more of an organic vibe, like nature has reclaimed the world. First impressions with the characters included, it feels like it’s a final fantasy. The creatures and everything feel like what you will find in a final fantasy game, however, there is something off about it and you don’t place it until much later. Where everything seems fantastical and magical there are still common themes throughout like firearms, flying machines, and even tanks.
At first, the story seems to revolve around a legend from the village, however as events unfold it comes to light that it’s more of a lesson that there needs to be balance for the world to function, not unlike real life. Not all share this point of view like Tolmekia who invades the Valley of the Wind and plans to burn the toxic Jungle with the help of an ancient weapon. Although the toxic Jungle is a dangerous place it is a necessary one, and one that Nausicaa plans to protect.
Although highlighted as looking like animals, the characters are humanoid and different. Each character has a unique life too, which makes them that little bit more real and alive. Out of all the characters, the rouge-like Lord Yupa who holds sway over everyone is the most impressive. Where the story is Nausicaa’s and she is the heroine, Lord Yupa is equally impressive because he can disarm anyone through reputation alone, as seen in the attack on the village. He single-handedly guards against Nausicaa and prepares to kill her assailant, who is heavily armored, yet without conflict he resolves the situation in a peaceful manner.
Nausicaa on the other hand has two main states, which are her peaceful state and her agitated. Normally she is a calm character who wants the best outcome for everyone, but sometimes this isn’t possible. The attack on the village is an instance of this second side of her and it’s hard to believe that she can have anything but the caring side she always shows. The other thing about her is her unique power. Before every incident she is the first to sense something or even act, a prime example is when she acts to save the Ohm.
Although these 2 are important and driving characters within the story there are others who make the story what it is. Characters like the villagers, the army from Tolmekia, and even the insects make the story what it is, without even one of these the story would have flaws.
Unlike other animated movies, the Valley of the Wind is really something else. Made in 1984 this incredible tale features rather impressive animations and sequencing to tell the tale of Nausicaa, a princess who lives in the Valley of the Wind. There are so many impressive parts that make an impression, however, the best parts have to be the the aerial events.
The other good part is the sequencing with the Ohm, although they are massive creatures their animation is something extraordinary. In most scenes, they function as fast beasts that have one goal, when in fact they have a more robotic feel with how they move.
Although we have gone into the visuals of the film there is something else that should be addressed, which is the sounds. Although a lot of the time there is no overarching sound that highlights something happening when there is something it pierces the silence with deafening precision. Most films and even games use this kind of audio cue as a driving force which defines a change in events. With Valley of the Wind, however, this highlights mood changes within Nausicaa almost like her inner feelings are driving the sound cues. The best example is her realization of the Toxic Jungle’s true purpose compared to the beginning of the end battle.
Additionally, the Cinematography and flow of animated sequencing within the movie can feel, at times, like we have nowadays. This just goes to show the impressive abilities and quality that the animators and artists who worked on Nausicaa had. One thing that can be illustrated, only in combat situations, when slowing down the film is a technique called ghosting. This normally shows the past few frames to help an animator produce the next few events, however, in the below image you can see an example of this Ghosting Technique, although a primitive “be-tweening Frame”, it plays a role in making the film come together. As illustrated there is a slight ghosting happening where Nausicaa is switching keyframes to make the next action, in the instance of the image this is moving to make the next attack.
Overall the film is an inspiring story of some things that can’t function without the supporting balance. The characters are interesting and diverse, the environments are interesting too. Having mechanical and organic environments with interesting depth and shifting color schemes keeps the film interesting. Considering that it is a pre-Studio Ghibli development it had a lot of what we have seen in Ghibli’s works, including the uniqueness of the tale.
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