Thursday, January 19, 2006

Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind

Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind
(Kaze no Tani no Naushika)

5/5 Stars

Author: Hayao Miyazaki
Serialized in Animage (Tokuma Shoten), 1982+

I don't read much manga, but being a fan of Hayao Miyazaki, Nausicaä jumped out at me. Valley of the Winds is set in the far future, in an Earth massively altered by war and ecological devastation. It has been thousands of years since the Seven Days of Fire and the immortal "God Warriors" (giant living combat robots) brought an end to the great technological civilization that once covered the earth. Humanity survived the devastation, but their future has been put in jeopardy by the creation of the "Sea of Corruption" a vast planet spanning forest of mutant fungus and insects. Spores and chemicals released by the fungal blooms make life near these impossible for non-insect life, only in places protected from the spread of the spores can life go on as before.

One such place is the Valley of the Winds, a small kingdom that is tributary to the larger Kingdom of Torumelka. Torumelka is at war with the Dorok Empire, a sinister nation which is ruled by an insane psychic and a sinister priesthood. As a subject nation, the Valley of the Winds is forced to send its few warriors and aircraft to aid in the war against the Dorok. Nausicaä, the princess of the Valley, goes along with the troops.

Far from being a simple war story, Nausicaä is show things on the way that make her question which side, if any, is right. The Dorok are using a secret weapon that gives them control over the Sea of Corruption, but their use of it threatens to spread the Sea across the few remaining clean lands and wipe out humanity. Along the way, Nausicaä discovers more about herself and her special link to the Sea and its creatures, and the possible role they play in the planet's future.

Like Hayao Miyazaki's other great work, Princess Mononoke, Valley of the Winds has a strong ecological and moral message. It question's humanity's responsibility to eachother and to the planet, and what the ultimate consequence of failing to live up to those responsibilities is. The artwork is well done, and has the characters have the same look as in many other Hayao Miyazaki works, especially Princess Mononoke. If you like that movie or any other works by him, you'll enjoy Valley of the Winds very much.

There are anime versions of the movie available, but I recommend staying away from them until you've read the anime, as there are many differences between the two. A horrible butchered English-language version was released in the US in the mid-80's under the title "Warriors of the Wind". About 20 minutes was cut from the Japanese version, and the dialog and plot was edited to take out any moral or ecological theme. So, be warned.


Post a Comment

» Home

Powered by Blogger
Design by Beccary

Watch the latest videos on