is a 1984 film by Japanese writer, illustrator, and filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, based on his manga of the same name. The movie has environmentalist undertones and was presented by the World Wide Fund for Nature when it was released in 1984. Nausicaä is ranked as one of the 50 greatest science fiction films by the Internet Movie Database. While created before Studio Ghibli was founded, the film is considered by some to be the studio's first film because of the involvement of Studio Ghibli's Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, Toshio Suzuki and Joe Hisaishi. It is often included as part of the Studio's works, including the Studio Ghibli Collection of DVDs.
The movie won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize in 1984.
The story takes place 1,000 years after the "Seven Days of Fire", an event which destroyed human civilization and most of the Earth's original ecosystem. Scattered human settlements survive, isolated from one another by the . Literally translating as the Rotting Sea, Sea of Fungus, Sea of Corruption or Toxic jungle in the English version, the Sea of Decay is a jungle of giant plants and fungi swarming with giant insects, which seem to come together only to wage war. Everything in the Sea of Decay, including the air, is lethally toxic.
The primary protagonist, Nausicaä, is a charismatic young princess of the peaceful Valley of the Wind. Her name comes from the princess Nausicaa in the Odyssey who assisted Odysseus, and is transcribed into Japanese as , . In English, the Greek name is normally , but in the soundtrack for the film it is /ˈnɔːsɨkə/. Part of her character comes from a Japanese folk hero known as "the princess who loved insects", while another part was inspired by the writings of Bernard Evslin, as he had written a more in-depth extrapolation of character of Odyssey's Nausicaa.
Although a skillful fighter, Miyazaki's Nausicaä is humane and peace-loving. She has an unusual gift for communicating with the giant insects (particularly with the Ohmu, the gigantic, armored, caterpillar- or isopod-like insects who are the most intelligent creatures in the Sea of Decay). She is also noted for her empathy toward animals, humans, and other beings. An intelligent girl, and inspired by the mentor figure Yupa, a wandering samurai type possessed of great wisdom, Nausicaä frequently explores the Sea of Decay and conducts scientific experiments in an attempt to define the true nature and origins of the toxic world in which she lives. Her explorations are facilitated by her skill at "windriding"; flying with an advanced glider-like craft with a jet assist called a möwe. Yupa is searching for the mythological man in blue who, according to the legend, will appear surrounded by a sea of gold and reunite the people and nature.
One day, an airship (a kind of large cargo airplane) crashes onto the cliffs near the Valley of the Wind. Nausicaä tries to rescue a hand-cuffed girl of her age from the burning wreck, but she dies after telling that she is Princess Lastelle from the kingdom Pejite and that the cargo of the airship must be destroyed. The airship is from Tolmekia and the cargo turns out to be a God Warrior (kyoshinhei embryo, Giant Warrior in the English version), one of the lethal, giant, biological weapons used in the ancient war.
It is later revealed that the God Warrior embryo was unearthed by Pejite, but it was stolen by the more powerful state of Tolmekia (Torumekia in the manga). While transporting the Warrior back to their realm, the Tolmekians were attacked by insects and subsequently crash-land in the Valley. The very next day, the Tolmekians, under the leadership of princess Kushana, invade the Valley to kill the Valley king and to secure and revive the Warrior. Kushana explains that the God Warrior will be used to burn the Sea of Decay, although Obaba, an old and blind Valley woman warns that attempting so will only enrage the Ohmu and lead to more deaths.
Kushana attempts to return to Tolmekia, with Nausicaä and several others as hostages. Before their departure, Nausicaä reveals to Yupa a hidden garden of jungle plants, that are not toxic because they are growing in sand and water from a deep well. Nausicaä explains that the jungle is only toxic due to the toxic soil that is everywhere on the surface of the earth. The airships with Kushana and Nausicaä are attacked by a Pejitan gunship and several of the ships are forced to make an emergency landing in the Sea of Decay. There, Nausicaä communicates with several ohmus and discovers that the pilot of the Pejitan gunship is still alive. With the help of her glider, Nausicaä rescues the pilot from a swarm of enraged insects. However, they crash and end up in a strange, non-toxic world that is below the Sea of Decay; the plants in the Sea of Decay purify the polluted soil, and in this way produce clean water and sand, which remains hidden in this underground world. The pilot turns out to be Asbel of Pejite, the twin brother of princess Lastelle.
Nausicaä and Asbel return to Pejite, which turns out to be destroyed after the Pejite people lured the insects from the Sea of Decay into their town in order to kill the occupying Tolmekian forces. The Pejite people reveal that they will do the same thing to the Valley of the Winds in order to recapture the God Warrior. To prevent Nausicaä from alerting the Tolmekians, they capture her, but she escapes with the help of Asbel. With a gunship, she returns to the Valley, but along the way they encounter a enormous herd of enraged Ohmus who are on their way towards an injured baby Ohmu, which is used by the Pejite people to lure the Ohmus to the Valley. Nausicaä releases the baby ohmu and gains its trust.
In the meantime, the Tolmekians try stopping the herd with armored vehicles they brought with them but to no effect, later Kushana arrives with the God Warrior to stop the ohmu herd, but the Warrior, woken too early, dies in the process. However, Nausicaä, with the baby ohmu, is finally able to stop the ohmu herd, but she is overrun and slain in the process. In front of the Valley people and the Tolmekian forces, the ohmus use their gold-colored tentacles to revive Nausicaä, whose dress has turned blue by the baby ohmu's blood; thus Nausicaä turns out to be the mythological "man" in blue mentioned in the beginning. The film ends with fragments of a future where people and insects live in peace with each other.
The story holds deeper meaning than its depiction of war; there are both humanistic and ecological subtexts in Miyazaki's narrative. Even the insects seem to be working toward some secret harmony and the lethal fungal forest seems to have a vital role in Earth's new ecosystem.
A heavily edited and English dubbed version of the film was released theatrically in North America, shown on HBO and released on VHS by New World Pictures & Orion Pictures in the 1980s as Warriors of the Wind. According to Nausicaa.net, the voice actors and actresses were not even informed of the film's plotline and more than 30 minutes of the movie were cut from the film because New World felt that "the parts were slow moving". As a result, part of the film's narrative meaning was lost; some of the environmentalist themes were diluted as was the main subplot about the Ohmu, altered to turn them into aggressive enemies. Most of the characters were renamed (for example, Nausicaä became "Princess Zandra"). The cover for the VHS release featured a cadre of male characters, who are not part of the film, riding the resurrected God Warrior — including a still-living Warrior shown briefly in a flashback. It was released around the world under various different titles, such as Sternenkrieger (literally "Star Warriors") in Germany. It was rumored that June Foray provided the voice of Zandra, though this has been proven as untrue.
Many fans of Nausicaä, along with Miyazaki himself, dislike this version; Miyazaki suggested that people should put it "out of their minds." Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki have asked fans to forget its existence and later adopted a strict "no-edits" clause for future foreign releases of its films. On hearing that Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein would try to cut Princess Mononoke to make it more marketable, one of Studio Ghibli's producers sent an authentic katana with a simple message: "No cuts".
|Character||Japanese||English 2005 dub|
|Nausicaä||Sumi Shimamoto||Alison Lohman|
|Lord Yupa||Goro Naya||Patrick Stewart|
|Kushana||Yoshiko Sakakibara||Uma Thurman|
|Kurotowa||Iemasa Kayumi||Chris Sarandon|
|Mito||Ichirō Nagai||Edward James Olmos|
|Lastelle||Miina Tominaga||Emily Bauer|
|Asbel||Yōji Matsuda||Shia LaBeouf|
|Mayor of Pejite||Makoto Terada||Mark Hamill|
|Obaba||Hisako Kyōda||Tress MacNeille|
|King Jihl||Mahito Tsujimura||Mark Silverman|
|Muzu||James Arnold Taylor|
|Gikuri||Jōji Yanami||Jeff Bennett|
|Lastelle's Mother||Akiko Tsuboi||Jodi Benson|
|Gol||Kōhei Miyauchi||Frank Welker|
Miyazaki's manga version of Nausicaä was written over a period of 13 years, with breaks taken to work on Studio Ghibli films. Serialized in Tokuma Shoten's Animage magazine, the first chapter was published in February 1982, and the last chapter in March 1994. As can be expected, the story of the manga is far more complex than that of the film. The tale depicted in the film roughly corresponds to only the first quarter of the manga (which is all that had been written at the time the film was produced), with significant differences in plot.
In addition to the plot, there are other significant differences in the story – the characters are more developed and the environmentalist tone is more sophisticated, echoed in the complex worldview of Princess Mononoke. Nausicaä herself is portrayed as being much more potent, with abilities that are not always explained.
It is unarmed, though the pilot can deploy non-lethal flash grenades to disorient pursuers. It can store a rifle/shotgun on the back. It does not provide any protection from the elements for the pilot, who is completely exposed to the wind. Although its performance specifications are not clear, it is slow enough to allow the pilot to hold onto and control it with nothing more than his/her arms and body weight. The möwe also possesses V/STOL capabilities.
The möwe has an approximate wingspan of 5.8 meters (1/20 model measured to be 29cm), and is only 12 kg according to the design notes. In 2004, the Japanese-led OpenSky Aircraft Project began attempts to build a real-life, working Möwe.