Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hayao Miyazaki Favorites Part Two: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind


All this week I'll be blogging about my five favorite animated feature films written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki is a Japanese film director, animator, manga artist and screenwriter. He also co-founded Studio Ghibli, one of Japan's most well known animation film studios.

1984's Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is one of the first Science-Fantasy tales I ever came across (as in guns, motorized gliders, giant-airships, but also knights and swords and monsters). Technically, it's actually a post-apocalyptic setting, but you wouldn't necessarily know that unless you'd read the manga. From IMDB:

Warrior/pacifist Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet.

Nausicaä is a young princess, who rules the Valley of the Wind, and spends much of her time researching the mutant giant insects in the poisonous jungles surrounding her homeland. When the kingdom of Tolmekia invades, and tries to use ancient technology they don't understand to destroy the jungle, Nausicaä must convince them of the errors of their ways.

Set in one of the most fabulous landscapes, and containing some of the most iconic creatures ever to grace the animated silver screen, including the gigantic, armored caterpillars/trilobites called Ohmu, Valley of the Wind is Miyazaki's second feature film. And though it is not technically a Studio Ghibli production, it is considered by most the spiritual antecedent to that studio's rise to fame.

Upon it's English re-release, the film continued in the Miyazaki tradition of casting famous actors to voice the adaptations, and included such heavyweights as Patrick Stewart, Uma Thurman, Mark Hamill, and Eward James Olmos.

I could not actually find an official trailer, because this movie is old and somewhat rare, but this one will give you a good idea of the tone of the film:

14 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It does look cool. Kids or adults? Looks like it has elements of Avatar and Heavy Metal. Yeah, odd combination, huh?

Em-Musing said...

Very cool animation. The name, Nauscicaa though, hmm?

Joe Lunievicz said...

I bought the movie after reading the manga. Didn't he not have enough money to do this and wrote the manga in order to raise money to make the movie? In any case I agree it's visully stunning and when you place it in order of production it really does make sense to see it as a spiritual antecedent. It makes me smile just saying those two words together. What will be movie 3?

Adam Heine said...

Best. Movie. Ever.

And oh my gosh, I'm just getting reminded of so many Post-Apoc, Dying Earth settings from my past. No wonder I love this subgenre so much!

mshatch said...

So far I am in complete agreement on the order of your Miyazaki films...curious to see 3, 2, 1 :)

Andrew Leon said...

Shia also voiced a part... he wasn't a someone yet when he did Nausicaa.

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

I need to rewatch this movie.

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

I'm such a huge Miyazaki fan. My young kids love this movie, too. They ask for it all the time. It has really great story telling.

Sarah Ahiers said...

LOVE this one!
Though i do see a lot of similarities between this and Mononoke and since i saw that one first (and i like the themes better) it wins out for me.

BUT! We live next to a park, and in the summer the wind blows into our yard, and i stand out on my patio and am always reminded of Nausicaa

Elena - Adriana Dascalu said...

It seems we have something in common: Japanese culture. I just love, love, love Haiku and you like animee. I must say I was a big fan myself for about two years then I thought I should diversify. So, I kept the love for haiku writing and reading and started watching all kinds of paranormal TV shows and movies.

Al Diaz said...

I will have to watch this one. Looks really cool.

Christine Tyler said...

This is my absolute favorite Miyazaki creation. Last time I recommended it to someone I started crying. Glad it's in your top five, and thanks for sharing it with everyone else! I always wish more people knew about this movie.

farawayeyes said...

This looks very interesting.

Elise Fallson said...

Ok, yet another I haven't seen and have added to my list. Sounds/looks great.