This impressive work from acclaimed Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki represents a significant departure from traditional anime. Foregoing the gritty storylines, extreme violence, and adult content found throughout many anime, Miyazaki's works borrow as much from fairy tales as they do from science fiction. Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind is no exception.
Centuries after war has devastated the earth, Princess Nausicaa leads the people of the Valley of the Wind. Feuding clans fight with planes and tanks as well as swords in a world that is both primitive and futuristic.
In addition to her people's conflicts with other factions, Nausicaa must also contend with the insects of the jungle including the Ohmu, a race of giant, intelligent bugs that poisons the surrounding atmosphere - and is spreading rapidly.
The setting of this 1984 animation owes much to the post-apocalypse genre spawned by Mad Max and other films, and the political subplot is often compared to Frank Herbert's Dune.
However, the heroine here has more in common with the female protagonists of the Disney musicals such as Pocohantas and Mulan; Nausicaa is more concerned with harmony and communication than with conquest and revenge. Sympathetic to the Ohmu, she learns she must approach them with understanding to achieve peace and restore the dying world.
This film is beautifully animated and written, and the moral to this ecological fable is difficult to miss.