MAD 04: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

Posted: January 2, 2013 in Movie-A-Day
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While my favorite film by Hayao Miyazaki will likely always be Princess Mononoke, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is absolutely a worthy addition to my library. Beautifully drawn and animated, the only thing holding it back is the monumental amount of source material that they tried to put into the film. For better or worse, I was introduced to Nausicaa through the original comic, which is five volumes long and astounding in scope. To try and fit such an epic tale into a two hour movie, even a three hour movie, sounds impossible. Regardless, the key moments are there, and everything still works just fine, even if I wished they had the chance to spend more time with minor characters. It certainly feels like a predecessor to Princess Mononoke, touching on similar themes of the complicated morality of war and the need to protect the natural environment. While many of the Studio Ghibli films also use explore these themes, Mononoke and Nausicaa stick out to me because of their similarities. Both feature a hero of royalty caught in the middle of a war they want no part of, but will intervene at great risk to themselves to try and stop anyway. But where Mononoke deals more with a war against nature itself, Nausicaa is much more interested in the wars between people, even in the aftermath of a war devastating enough to remake the world. Seeing the characters and cultures that survive in this post-apocalypse is definitely one of my favorite parts of the mythos, so I highly encourage you to find the original comic if you can. The film is still beautiful on its own, but the comic presents such a deeper and more involved narrative with the characters, it’s hard not to gravitate towards the source material.

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