Title: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (風の谷のナウシカ)
Released: 1984

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Class Superlative: The Ambitious Trendsetter

In a Land of Pure Imagination

(While this isn’t a Ghibli joint, it’s pretty much the launching point for the studio. Plus, it makes the total movie count into a nice, round number to work with, so it stays!)

A thousand years in the future, Earth has been decimated by mankind and overrun by the lethal Toxic Jungle. Nausicaä, princess of the Valley of the Wind, has learned to coexist with the Toxic Jungle critters. But she happens to be the exception: this is one TJ that humans don’t like at all. The creatures — and the Valley of the Wind — are caught in the crossfires between the feuding kingdoms of Tolmekia and Pejite. And Tolmekia is also hellbent on eradicating the Toxic Jungle. But standing in the way of further destruction is brave and fearless Nausicaä, who puts herself in harm’s way to restore man’s connection to nature.

Also: the score is suuuuper ’80s (and by Studio Ghibli mainstay, Joe Hisaishi), i.e. I LOVE IT. And there’s a semi Dirty Dancing moment — even though Nausicaä predates that movie, so maybe it should be the other way around.

Adorable Children Alert

The seeing eye, mini Greek chorus exposition fairies for Obaba.

Lovable Anthropomorphic Sidekick

Teto, the fox-squirrel Eevee lookalike (or, again, the reverse is more accurate).

And also, Lord Yupa’s… these things.

Wait, WTF?

Why don’t I have a jet glider!? But real talk: it took me ten minutes to figure out that Nausicaä is definitely wearing pants. Although the biggest “Did that just happen!?” moment occurred when Nausicaä whips out her previously unseen cleavage to hide Teto during an attack.

Famous Voices

OMG EVERYONE (which will be an oft-uttered phrase in this series). 

Class Superlative: The Ambitious Trendsetter

Nausicaä isn’t really my cup of tea, but I respect it a heckuva lot and I can see why others would love it. Nausicaä herself is pretty kickass; she’s the rare hero that cries all the time (understandable, since she carries mankind’s guilt towards nature and all), but her compassion is a strength, not a weakness. Anyway, it was neat to recognize things in Nausicaä that I had only known from works that it influenced. Plus, it dispensed words of immense wisdom such as this:

Exploring the Studio Ghibli Vault

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.