Hayao Miyazaki's movie based on his own highly acclaimed manga, Kaze no Tani no Nausika, was his break out film. The manga consisted of seven volumes which were completed over 13 years! The movie covers the first two with some modification to the story line.
The story is set in a future Earth which is war torn and polluted from a holocaust called The Seven Days of Fire. Only small pockets of humanity remain in existence from this war one millennium ago.
Vast swaths of the Earth having been taken over by a fungi forest called the Fukai. The spores and plant life of this forest are toxic to humans and are avoided and feared by humanity. In these forests, gaint mutated insects rule supreme. The giant ohmu (or king insect) are this forests masters and protectors.
Nausicaa is the princess of a small nation called the Valley of Wind. The Valley of the Wind is protected from the spores due to a strong coastal breeze which carries the spores over it. The valley allows for the protected life Nausicaa and her people live but they live in constant fear that the forest may someday spread to their valley.
Nausicaa is a bit odd because she isn't terrified by the forest like the others. In fact, she seems to find a certain beauty in it. While she is not afraid of a fight she is a pacifist by nature and tries desperately to keep the remaining factions of humanity from destroying themselves.
I highly recommend this film. Miyazaki is a master of using animation to extend the real world instead of simply replacing it. This movie will undoubtedly make you believe that her world is real and somewhat sad that you have to leave so soon.
North American Distribution
Disney holds the rights to distribution of this and many other Tokuma films. It will be released on Disney DVD in English (with Japanese audio) on February 22, 2005.
Before the Disney distribution deal, a rather horrific mess was made of it by New World Pictures called 'Warriors of the Wind'. Studio Ghibili asks all those who have seen it "to dismiss it from your minds." This version of Nausicaa is one of the reasons in the Disney deal they cannot make any cuts or revisions to the films included in it.
Next: Totoro (1988)