Miyazaki’s “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind”

Close on the heels of the announcement that filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki may be preparing a sequel to his 1992 animated film Porco Rosso, Roger Ebert posts some well-deserved, effusive praise of Miyazaki and his first masterpiece, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind:

Much of anime in the past 20 years has concentrated on a utopian future, filled with technological wizardry and innovation, which is abundant in Japanese culture. But Miyazaki tends to look back instead of looking forward, inward instead of outward, looking at treasures of futures past that might have been. Like most of his films, his timeline here isn’t technological, but pastoral, with people relying more on each other and the Earth.  He favors gorgeous green panoramas usually near blue bodies of water. He is in love with flight with his heroes soaring through the sky, representing our dreams of breaking through our limitations. We sense his hope in women more than men, believing them to be the key to humanity’s progress as opposed to man’s history of violence. These creeds and themes are held dearly and instinctively by the young and hopeful, and its Miyazaki’s ability to convey these naturalistic ideas through his visual imagination, which makes him unique.

Only Pixar has been able to rival Miyazaki’s creative energies in forming entirely new sights, sounds, and stories with each subsequent film. But Pixar is a collection of talent (all of whom pretty much worship him), while Miyazaki is a singular force. While even the greatest of directors have to rely on cast and crew to carry out their visions, Miyazaki pretty much IS the film. He might be the closest thing to the idea of an “auteur” which filmdom has.

Ebert has pointed his readership in the direction of Google Video to watch Nausicaa for free –and apparently guilt free– online. Hooray!

Previously on Coilhouse:

8 Responses to “Miyazaki’s “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind””

  1. Angeliska Says:

    Hooray! This is one of my favorites of Miyazaki’s, if not my most favorite. I’m glad it’s being shared so widely – it’s such an important piece of work.

  2. Mer Says:

    Mine too, Angelkins. I have a LOT of trouble picking favorites with Miyazaki, but this one is definitely closest to my heart in many, many ways.

  3. Ben Morris Says:

    The Nausicaa film is great, there are several films of his I like better, but its damn great. The Nausicaa manga however (written and drawn by Miyazaki over a period of twelve years) probably has the richest characters and most interesting plot of anything he has ever done. Much of this I think comes of it being a much more long-form work than his films, since it is five volumes long.

    I don’t know if that makes it my favorite work of his, since his films have so much richness that comes of his mastery of animation but anyone who loves Nausicaa the film owes it to themselves to read the manga because they are only getting ~1/5 of the overall story (and a completely different ending).

    All this aside, that the film is available online free and legally is wonderful.

  4. Santnamor2013 Says:

    Thanks for providing me with the possibility to watch this amazing Anime…FREE.
    Basically, it really touched me…because I am an environmentalist.
    I connected the anime to GMO…and what could happen if we completely loose the control of GMO. Weeks ago it has been stated by NGO´s that lots of GMO has been found growing in the wild and in urban sites (USA,Italy and more).
    Apparently GMO is capable of outcompete certain wild species, and also cross-pollinate with domesticated and wild species of plants, so on creating a new sub-species with distinct characteristics, uncommon to the environment. This could rupture the food chain in the future…
    I ended up crying a bit during the movie (heheh!), and then becoming very energized. After watching I went to the beach (cleaned a bit as usual) and came back talking to street cleaners, firefighters and sanitation agents that came across alerting them of env.problems that I see all around…they all know it quite well, but they could not do much because “the system” and institutions are not really interested on it (I knew it, but I really try sometimes)…then I called the institutions (again), but did not get any attention at all, because one says that it is the problem of the other institution…
    Only the police hears me when I complain of env.problems.(strange!isn´t? they are investigating 2 already)
    I do allert authorities, clean up myself, talk about it to people…for a long time…in different places…not only in Brazil.
    Thanks so much for the extra-energy…I want to do something, it is so hard…but I feel like doing the right thing! yeah! :D!
    Best regards…I luv this magazine! one day I gonna buy it! (when I get a job…hehehe)
    ps. Sorry for writing so much, but I do that ALL the time with everyone…I have time.

  5. gmoke Says:

    I read the Nausicaa manga first. It is deeper than the film, not least because the manga is much longer and explains things better than the anime. The anime is still Miyazaki though and thus, by definition, very good if not great.

  6. meardearna Says:

    This was the first film I had ever watched! Seeing it as a toddler has definitely done something funny to me: crying every time I see this film is not something I would like to have carried into my adult life. It is still close to my heart

  7. lizzelizzel Says:

    I loved the movie and manga. Miyazaki’s focus on female leads, and not in a disney princess way, always touched me.

  8. Mer Says:

    I’ve read the manga, too. It’s magnificent, yes… but luckily that doesn’t prevent me from appreciating the magnificence of the film adaptation as well. :)

    I regularly give copies of Nausicaa, Totoro and Kiki’s as birthday and holiday gifts to kids. I too feel like they’re a wonderful antidote to Disney pap!