Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind (Kaze no Tani no Naushika) is a post-apocalypic Science Fantasy manga and anime movie by Hayao Miyazaki. In a world dominated by a caustic jungle full of huge (horse-sized to town-hall-sized!) and dangerous insects, one of the few places left habitable is the Valley of the Wind Ė a place where toxic spores produced by the jungle are kept from settling by the incessant breeze. The crash of a gigantic airplane into the valley leads to an invasion by Torumekia and the revelation of a secret that could destroy what's left of humanity, if not the world...Visually inventive and quite gripping, the heroine Ė the eponymous Nausicaš Ė eventually learns a Green Aesop about living in harmony with Gaia.The success of the movie Ė Miyazaki's first independent work* The first film he directed was 1979's The Castle of Cagliostro, which he did for Tokyo Movie Shinsha. Ė led directly to the founding of Studio Ghibli and inspired Chocobos; it's also where Hideaki Anno got the prototype for the EVAs (since Anno was handpicked by Miyazaki to be the lead animator for the inspiring scene).Nausicaš suffered a tremendous Macekre in its first English dub: characters were renamed, the aesop was turned into a fragfest, and over half an hour of the film that lacked any sort of actionwas thoroughly excised. The resulting mess was titled Warriors of the Wind, and this particular Macekre led to Studio Ghibli's current policy to not allow their films to be cut for international distribution. (The current English version is provided by Ghibli's North American distributor Ė Disney Ė and it is uncut and unaltered.)Three video game adaptations of Nausicaš were released for the MS-X; two were top-down shooters but where Nausica does negotiations with human villages to prevent war and drop stun bombs (NOT bombs) on Ohmus as a strict self-defense measure. They were, however, mediocre in their gameplay, and flopped. As a result, besides a Future Boy Conan videogame adaptation, no further games based on Studio Ghibli movies were produced (not that it kept the studio from doing the art direction for other games, like Jade Cocoon for the PS1, among others). A very common Urban Legend has it that those games greatly offended Miyazaki, based on the wrong assumption that the games openly subverted the message of his film. The recent interviews following Ni no Kuni's release, and an actual look on those rare games by HG101, debunked these rumors, with Studio Ghibli even being open to a Castle in the Sky adaptation.
Alien Blood: The Ohmu have blue blood. This becomes relevant during the climax of the film, and early in the manga. Later on, the blue blood of the Crypt of Shuwa becomes just as significant.
Anachronism Stew: A sword-swinging cavalry charge is usually backed up with machine gun fire from levitating 'bell jars'. Not to mention that the Torumekian gunship pilot uniform consists of full medieval-style plate armour complete with a conical visor helmet.
Justified, as most of the more advanced technology in use is centuries old, and the making of things like the engines for airships and machine-guns is becoming a lost art. At best, some people have a working knowledge of how to repair them.
There are scenes in the manga where the characters make a point to salvage ship engines with one character remarking that the whole plane could be reconstructed around the salvaged engines. In addition most armor and swords are stated to be ceramic, containing futuristic metallic composite, or made from Ohmu shell (which is supposedly the hardest substance available and acts like a bulletproof ferro-ceramic composite making the plate and scale armors of the comic a sensible retro-modern adaptation). There is even a mine centered around a downed star ship that harvests the metal of the star ship for armor and blades.
Barehanded Blade Block: Lord Yupa does this to prevent a slaughter aboard a ship, taking a sword point in the forearm, through his armor. Despite Yupa's calm, unflinching demeanor, Nausicaš is the only one who notices the blood dripping from the hilt, and the shudder of pain in Yupa's body, showing the extent Yupa will go to to keep the peace.
Beware the Nice Ones: In the film, all semblance of the compassionate, loving and unconditionally kind Nausicaš gets ripped away when her father is murdered: In her place emerges a rampaging beast in the guise of a Princess, who proceeds to slaughter the soldiers responsible. This is even more pronounced in the manga, where Nausicaš's father only dies later of natural causes and she flies off the handle simply because the soldiers were trespassing on her kingdom and getting spores everywhere. She only kills one guy, though.
BFG: Averted, for the most part. A notable exception is when Nausicaš briefly hefts a heavy machine gun to enforce compliance. It's a good bet that the thing weighs only a little less than she does.
Honorable mention goes to the Valley's gunship, which is less a fighter plane and more a derringer on wings that fires artillery shells for bullets.
Bug War: In the film, anyways. Torumekia is trying to destroy the bugs because the spores they spread are swallowing up their territory. In the manga they're at least smart enough to realize the futility of fighting against a force of nature and start a war with the Doroks to try and take their territory instead. Either way, the typical portrayal of the bugs as mindless monsters is subverted six ways from Sunday. The giant bugs are probably some of the nicest folks in the entire story, and this shows by the end of the movie.
Butt Monkey: Kurotowa early in the story. Whenever things seem to go his way or he gets a good line, something blows up. Usually right beside him.
Charm Person: Nausicaš, which is why the Ohmu listen to her and no other human.
Cool Old Guy: Master Yupa, in times of peace. He's seen as a wise and experienced mentor whose advice everyone seeks, from mothers who want to name their babies to kings and chieftains older than he is.
Coat, Hat, Mask: Master Yupa wears an outfit like this when Nausicaš first meets him, which makes sense since humans have to wear gas masks at all times to protect themselves from the Toxic Jungle.
Evil Is Visceral: The Giant Warrior is very much this. Subverted with the rest of the creatures, when it turns out that humans can live together with them peacefully.
Even the God Warrior's evilness is subverted in the manga. It's not so much evil as a child, and its death by its own radiation while Nausicaa comforts it is one of the sadder moments of the story.
Expy: Nausicaš is one of Maki Oyamada, a character in the final episode of Lupin III (Red Jacket), "Aloha Lupin". She even shares the same voice actor, Sumi Shimamoto. Of course, this episode was made by Hayao Miyazaki.
Whilst almost any 'generic enemy' is faceless behind their masks or armour, the amount of headgear (or lack thereof) that they wear in more casual situations is pretty much inversely proportionate to how friendly they are with Nausicaš. Including a Torumekian princess, a Dorok high priest... hell, even a small unit of Worm Handlers.
Master Yupa explicitly alludes to this when Nausicaš, consumed by rage, takes on the exact same attitude as an angry Ohmu.
Friend to All Living Things: Nausicaš takes this much further than most. She's able to calm the rage of rampaging giant insects in addition to being able to befriend cute-looking animals.
Friend to Bugs: Nausicaš is sympathetic toward the giant insects of the poisonous forest, particularly the dinosaur - sized Ohmu. In a flashback scene, she's shown trying to keep a tiny ohmu as a pet as a small child, and tried to hide it from adults.
Gaia's Lament: The Earth has been devastated by what appears to be a nuclear war and remains heavily polluted and almost unlivable. The humans' inability to get along with the Ohmu (attempting to destroy their home) leads to Gaia's Vengeance.
Implausible Fencing Powers: Nausicaš. Whether wielding an ancestralBFS longer than she is tall, or her signature Ohmu-shell blade, she's a whirl of destruction all on her own. Only Master Yupa stands above her.
Lost Technology: Pretty much all the technology, actually, including the God Warriors and the MŲwe: light enough to be carried, strong enough to survive hundred-foot drops, and apparently runs on Aether. Not much for safety, though. Its fuel consumption is also probably quite low, as it only fires its thruster in short, periodic bursts for acceleration and takeoff.
Missing Mom: Nausicaš's mother appears in a flashback, but at the time of the story in both manga and film only her father is alive. And not for long, either.
Modest Royalty: Nausicaa is a princess, but you'd never know it by looking at her.
Keep in mind that Nausicaa is princess for a kingdom of under a thousand people. In a larger kingdom, she'd only be the equivalent of a petty noble with a small fief, and not living that much above the means of the common folk anyway.
No OSHA Compliance: Justified in that the OSHA died out along with Industrialized Civilization. The Pejiti excavation is really not safe and has a lot of accidents, including one of Kurotowa's soldiers falling a hundred or so feet to his death in front of him.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Every single time an insect, particularly an Ohmu, is hurt, it will bring on an onslaught from the bugs. See Implacable Man above for how it's deliberately used by the warring nations.
Science Hero: Nausicaš, to an extent. As the scene in her underground greenhouse shows, she's able to solve the problems between humanity and the Ohmu because she understands them and realizes why the balance of nature needs to be preserved.
In the manga, while the scientists who are responsible for the world's current state almost certainly caused more problems than they solved, their creations are shown to be just as capable of kindness and wisdom as any natural lifeform.
In both versions, Nausicaš dabbles in botany and chemistry, using science to determine that the plants of the Sea of Corruption are not actually toxic; the soil is.
Surrounded by Idiots: The men under Kurotowa's command seem to be rather incompetent, which annoys him to no end.
Sword and Gun: All over the place, including the knife and rifle carried by Nausicaš herself. Guns are used as ranged weapons and swords as melee weapons (and in an interesting twist, the guns are rather archaic but swords are incredibly durable).
At the very end of the manga, it's revealed that the Heart of the Crypt was programmed this way. It was built to raise an entire ecosystem that would wipe Earth clean of its creators' mistakes, and then destroy said ecosystem so the original humankind could be resuscitated to rule the world again. And it's willing to kill the current humans to do so.
The Holy Emperor also started out like this, thinking he could fix the world's problems and bring peace to everyone. Sadly, he was only the Heart of Shuwa's Unwitting Pawn and quickly slipped into authoritarian (and genocidal) rule.
In the film, the Pejitei were this. They were prepared to destroy their own capital city and the Valley of the Wind if it meant annihilating the Ohmu.
Specific to the manga
Adipose Rex: The king of Torumekia and all of his sons.
Armour Is Useless: Subverted and played straight. Various armor are demonstrated to be capable of holding up under direct hits from rifles and machine guns at various points in the manga. OTOH, an Ohmu shell blade will cut through ceramic armor like cardboard.
Badass Preacher: The Dorok priest Chiruka leads most of the Dorokian campaign. Might also qualify as High Priest, since he was partial to the Council of Monks that ruled just below the Emperor.
Barbie Doll Anatomy: A few panels of Nausicaš topless while coming out of a bath in the Hidden Garden.
Bare Your Midriff: Nausicaš at the end of Book 6 and part of Book 7, thanks to Heedra tearing her shirt off during an attack.
Blinded by the Light: Nausicaš uses flash grenades to stun the Ohmu and convince them to leave her people alone, since she's not willing to kill them. It works much better than trying to do so anyway.
Later on in the film, the people of the Valley use them against the Torumekians and capture a tank.
Blob Monster: The Doroks genetically engineer a mold that escapes containment, becomes semi-sentient, and could attack airships by stretching from the ground upward.
Blood-Splattered Innocents: A variation: Nausicaš's borrowed Dorok outfit, originally sienna red, is completely drenched in Ohmu blood when she tries to pacify the kidnapped Ohmu larva and keep it from plunging into the Acid Sea, fulfilling the Messianic prophecy of a person "clad in blue". Add some trimmings and modifications, and it becomes her signature outfit until near the end of the manga. Then, her new outfit is covered in the blood of the Heart of the Crypt, which is a shade of blue even deeper and more vibrant than the Ohmu's.
Bulletproof Human Shield: When Nausicaa uses Siren shells to allow a Tourmekian cavalry company to escape an encirclement, 4 riders from the company break off to shield her from gunfire as she rides to safety. Justified, since they and their mounts are far more heavily armored than she is.
Culture Chop Suey: At first blush the Torumekians and Doroks seem to be generically "Western" and "Eastern" cultures, respectively, but on closer inspection the Doroks have many similarities to America of all places. Their nation is made up of fifty tribes or principalities, their ruling class came from a foreign land and subjugated the natives and they even have similar militaries, using an odd combination of high tech weapons and vehicles and brutish, fanatical footsoldiers. The Torumekians, meanwhile, have a lot of what appear to be Mayincatec influences in their art and designs and several characters with Japanese-sounding names. This last bit is particularly strange, as the series' Fantasy World Map appears to be somewhere in the vicinity of the American South and the upper part of Central America.
Disney Villain Death: Subverted with the Holy Emperor's still-living head last seen talking jovially whilst falling from an airship into the Sea of Corruption. Subverted because he claims his head must also be destroyed by force before he can die.
Dressing as the Enemy: After she's captured by the Dorok refugees, Nausicaš trades clothes with a sympathetic Dorok girl in order to escape and stop the Ohmu from rampaging into the Valley.
The Final Temptation: Nausicaš's (involuntary) stay in the Garden. Just being there saps visitors of their determination, soothing their hearts to the point they forget their mission and even friends who have just died.
A God Am I: The Holy Emperor, as well as the Heart of the Crypt of Shuwa.
Heroic Sacrifice: More so in the manga, with the Holy One dying to buy Nausicaš and the others time to escape, and Lord Yupa first losing an arm to a grenade and then using his entire body to shield another person from several melee attacks.
Heroic RROD: Ohma's constant use of his power erodes his body by the second.
Hidden Depths: The two surviving sons of the King of Torumekia, at first glance, looked like two extremely lazy royals who don't do anything. But both of them actually have great appreciation for high culture and both of them are pretty good with musical instruments.
Hidden Elf Village: The Forest People, who live in quasi-mystical symbiosis with the Sea of Corruption.
Horse of a Different Color: Horseclaws, genetically reconstituted domesticated prehistoric flightless birds, serve as the primary mount of the Torumekians and most of former Eftal.
Not Quite Dead: Kurotowa, after being severely injured and thrown around like a rag doll from a moving airship, is rescued by Kushana. It takes him a while to recover completely.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: Rather spectacularly, Kurotowa manages to pull this off in the space of his first appearance, going from a seemingly buffoonish lackey to proving himself dangerously competent. If he pulled the switch any faster, he wouldn't count at all.
Nuclear Weapons Taboo: The God Warriors. Somewhat averted in that they are actually radioactive, and merely being in their presence is akin to standing next to an open reactor.
Offscreen Inertia: The twin princes of Torumekia that opt to stay in the Garden, playing the old world's music and reading the compiled literary classics, are never mentioned again once Nausicaš leaves.
Path of Inspiration: The religion founded around the Crypt of Shuwa. All "holiness" that radiates from it is actually a plotby the Heart of the Crypt to cleanse the world and bring the old mankind back.
Person of Mass Destruction: Again, the God Warriors. Made even more evident in the manga, when the single Warrior that awakens during the story is given an actual name (Ohma, "innocent") and personality (The Arbiter.)
Prophecy Twist: "And that one shall come to you garbed in raiment of blue and descending upon a field of gold..." But the prophecy didn't foresee that the "raiment of blue" would only be so because it was drenched in Ohmu blood, and the "field of gold" consisted of the shining, golden feelers of the innumerable Ohmu gathered below and around Nausicaš. Even the tapestry depicting the prophecy tries to subvert the audience's expectations by displaying a Messianic Archetype as a male figure of Middle Eastern appearance with some sort of brown pheasant perched on his shoulder.
Psychopathic Manchild: The God-Warrior that Nausicaš basically raises. When she has to raise her voice, the building sized radioactive engine of destruction starts cowering with its hands on its head, whimpering that Mommy is angry. She wasn't even yelling at him. After she named him, he became much more intelligent and controlled.
Senseless Sacrifice: Possibly. A squad of Tourmekian armored cavalry elect to protect Nausicaa from Dorok gunfire while she makes her escape, being killed in the process. Nausicaa is horrified, believing if she hadn't been slowed down by her Bulletproof Human Shields, she could have escaped without them dying. Though her reckless tendency towards trying to save others at her own expense makes her judgement here questionable.
Take That: Miyazaki's dim view of militaristic themes in anime probably had something to do with the fact that a city built around the pathetic, rusted-out shell of the Space Battleship Yamato features prominently in the manga.
Telepathy: Quite a bit, with the boy Chikuku, the Holy Emperor's brother Miralupa, the Forest People (Selm in particular), and Nausicaš to a small degree.
Winged Humanoid: Explicitly averted and ridiculed: when Nausicaš is identified as a Messianic Archetype by a throng of religious people, they wonder where her (prophesized) angel wings are. Chikoku angrily states that only a monster would have wings and that, instead, Nausicaa's white glider fills this role.
Youngest Child Wins: Nausicaš is the youngest of twelve children, and is the only one that lived long enough to become an adult.
Zip Me Up: Kushana asks Nausicaš to fasten her armour at one point in the manga. Les Yay? Of course.
Specific to the movie
Adaptational Badass: The Worm-Handlers in the manga were fairly ineffective forest-people used by the Torumekians because their worms could locate items of interest. In the film the group is reworked into an Elite Torumekian fighting squad, and probably the most competent of all the mooks. The group also absorbs some of Kurotawa's competence by being the ones who shoot down Asbel when he engages their airship.
Adaptation Distillation: The movie was released in 1984. The manga began in 1982 and was only finished in 1994. The first two volumes written when the movie was released contain no plot resolution. Thus the movie contains a neat two hour version of the critical themes Miyazaki wished to use, given that he made both manga and movie.
Body Horror: The incomplete God-Warrior melts as it fires.
Cool Old Lady: Obaba, when she's told to run and hide when the valley is being invading, immediately replies that she'd rather stay right there.
Creative Closing Credits: The film details life in the Valley returning to normal as the invaders peacefully leave. The final shot is of Nausicaa's cap lying next to a tree sprout, implying that the world is healing.
Crucified Hero Shot: When Nausicaš risks her life to stop the Pejite from destroying the Valley, she flies at them on her glider with her arms outstretched and gets shot twice. She gets better though.
Gecko Ending: Borderline example. Although the manga wouldn't be finished until a decade after this movie's release, the film still wraps things up nicely in its own way, even as many questions remain unanswered.
Hollywood Cyborg: Movie!Kushana's arm, legs and an unspecified portion of her lower body including where her reproductive organs used to be have been replaced with cybernetics after being eaten by a bug.
Infodump: At the beginning of the film, Nausicaš delivers a monologue about the world of the series in Expospeak.
Karma Houdini: Kushana and Kurotowa just walk away after all is said and done.
Not So Different: Nausicaš outright tells the Pejitei they aren't any better than the Torumekians when they reveal their plan to destroy the Valley, which they don't take kindly to hearing.
Nude-Colored Clothes: Nausicaš's tights are tan-coloured. For a while, there was a persistent belief that she was actually naked under her skirt (which would be unfortunate considering the number of times it flies up while she's piloting her glider). This can be attributed to the fact that the movie first came to the West in a cheaply-done VHS and poor-quality digisubs which distorted and washed out the colours. The rumour was finally put to rest when Disney released the movie themselves, showing once and for all that pants are pants.
Quicksand Sucks: Surprisingly, in this case, it doesn't kill Nausicaš but instead sucks her down into a subterranean world.
Save the Villain: Nausicaš rescues Kushana when their ship is going down. This turns out to have serious consequences later on.
Spell My Name with an S: There are some differences in terminology between the movie's subtitles and Studio Proteus's translation of the manga. There are significant differences between the movie's subtitles and Disney's dub script. Although the changes are never enough to declare the dub "unfaithful", in one case it led to a Dub Name Change (ie. the Toxic Jungle [dub] vs. Sea of Corruption [manga]).
The other major change is Tolmekia [movie] vs. Torumekia [manga].