Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’s Plea for Peace

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind title card
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Title Card | GKIDS

Director — Hayao Miyazaki

Year of Release — 1984

Language — English

How Many Times Watched? — 2 times

Rating — ★★★★½

This is a Must Watch. Stop standing around. Sit your butt down and watch this film.

Thoughts on ‘Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’

I absolutely loved this movie, especially on a second viewing. It was interesting watching this with more context into Miyazaki’s broader work. You can see the influence that Nausicaä had. It set the tone for the studio that would be birthed out of its production.

a photo of Nausicaä from behind, showing off her pants
look like pants to me | GKIDS

At first, I couldn’t tell if she was wearing tan pants or just a short dress. Though I was leaning toward no pants, which concerned me. And I’ve seen this before! How could I not remember if she was wearing pants? As it turns out, she is in fact wearing pants, and now I can rest peacefully.

Shia LaBeouf as Asbel was a thing of miracles. He was the perfect amount of angsty teen boy, especially back in 2005 when it was dubbed by Disney. No other voice would have worked. Young Shia was too precious. We didn’t deserve him.

The music simultaneously feels dated yet classic. It wouldn’t be the same film without the 80’s music and strong synth drums.

Throughout the beginning, I could not stop thinking about how it feels just like the beginning of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. You should go watch both back to back and see for yourself.

Nausicaä’s Plea for Peace

spoilers below for Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind; glide at your own risk

With Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Hayao Miyazaki builds a world that’s well past the brink of collapse. Everywhere you look there is turmoil, war, and ravaged lands. The people are vying for superiority over the world and its people. There is no peace to be found.

However, through the brokenness, there is a pervading sense of hope. The despaired world is still filled with beauty. The blooming flowers. The flowing water. The blowing wind. At its heart, Nausicaä is a story about peace, returning the land to its former glory.

Now it’s no secret that Hayao Miyazaki is anti-war, and if you didn’t know it yet, you definitely do after watching Nausicaä. The hero of the story will not stand for violence. She stands eye to eye with evil until it backs down. She would take a bullet to ensure harmony. She is the harbinger of peace in a world full of conflict.

A fox-squirrel biting Nausicaä
Nausicaä remains calm as the fox-squirrel bites her | GKIDS

Nausicaä herself sees the beauty in everything. Ever since she was a child she saw good in the insects, trying to keep a baby ohmu (the ‘u’ is silent) as a pet. Near the start of the film, Nausicaä attempts to tame a wild fox-squirrel. Now if you don’t know what a fox-squirrel is, it’s only the most adorable thing you have ever laid your eyes on. But this one is wild and presumably dangerous. Nausicaä, being the peace-seeking woman she is, lets it bite her to prove that she is not a threat. It turns out, the fox-squirrel was only scared. All it needed was a bit of love and care, something which Nausicaä gives freely to anyone whether they ask or not.

Nausicaä does not need a reason to love. She sees the beauty in everything, even a nasty-looking bug. It is this mindset that informs every single action Nausicaä takes. From taking her gas mask off to save her friends to taking two bullets to save an ohmu from certain death.

Nausicaä and an ohmu
Nausicaä and the ohmu she saved | GKIDS

Despite all odds stacked against her, she perseveres until her very last breath, diving headfirst into a stampede of raging ohmu. To Nausicaä, nothing is expendable. Every life is sacred, from the people that killed her friends to the ohmu and insects that live in the toxic forest. Everything deserves life regardless of the cost. To give her life was only a small sacrifice if it meant peace would fill the Earth again.

I’m not one to try to force religious symbolism into something where it doesn’t belong, but something must be said for Nausicaä as a potential messiah / Christ figure. On multiple occasions, Nausicaä stands in the way of flying bullets standing with her arms spread out. It looks rather reminiscent of a cross.

Nausicaä standing with her arms spread out
Nausicaä standing with her arms spread out
Nausicaä with her arms spread out | GKIDS

She is willingly sacrificing herself, taking whatever consequence is necessary to ensure the safety of those around her. She “puts herself on the cross,” per se, for the sake of the Earth. But the real kicker is the moment of her ultimate sacrifice. In order to stop the war between man and insect, she throws herself into the middle of the ohmu stampede. Immediately the world became silent, bewildered at what just occurred. By offering herself up, she ended the violence and brought peace to the world.

But it still isn’t over. It wouldn’t be a messiah story without a resurrection.

With the ohmu at peace, they use the power of nature to bring Nausicaä back to life, raising her into the sky on a field of gold.

Nausicaä being raised into the air on gold
Nausicaä’s resurrection | GKIDS

I don’t know Miyazaki’s intent with this imagery, and I’m not too sure he’s trying to convert you to Christianity. But one thing is clear, Nausicaä embodies Miyazaki’s perfect world. If humanity was like Nausicaä, Earth would be a much better place. No war is worth the world. Nausicaä is a call to action. We must put an end to all violence and begin to see the beauty in the world. We must strive to be the good in the world, seeing life for what it is: miraculous, awe-inspiring, and utterly beautiful. It is then, and only then, will there be any meaningful change.

It’s worth it.

The Quiet Beauty of Nausicaä

Nausicaä in a cave
Nausicaä sitting on an ohmu shell
a new plant growing
GKIDS

Favorite Quotes

“The earth knows it’s wrong for us to survive”

“No, it hasn’t done anything wrong.”

“What a magnificent tree.”

“And whatever lucky man becomes my husband will see worse than that.”

“This guy’s tough.”

“Too much fire gives birth to nothing. Fire can reduce a forest to ashes in a day, while it takes the water and the wind 100 years to grow one anew.”

Up next: Castle in the Sky (1986)

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