Technically this wasn’t made by Studio Ghibli but most people think of it as a Studio Ghibli film, since this was the movie that got the studio started.
Hayao Miyazaki had worked on the 1978 anime TV show Future Boy Conan (director, character designs and storyboards.) This was a lightweight series with a rather simple-minded plot, set in a post-apocalyptic world.
In the early 1980s Miyazaki tried to get funding for an animated feature film that would also have a post-apocalyptic setting but with a more sophisticated story. Unfortunately, no one seemed interested in financing an animated film that was not based on a successful manga or light novel series.
Toshio Suzuki, the editor of Animage magazine, encouraged him to develop the story as a manga, which was serialized in Animage. The manga was a big hit, and suddenly financing for an animated movie became available. The success of the film exceeded all expectations, paving the way for Suzuki, Miyazaki and fellow director Isao Takahata to start Studio Ghibli.
This is one of Miyazaki’s earliest films. I wouldn’t say that it’s his greatest work, but it’s still well worth seeing. Many of the standard trademark elements of a Miyazaki film are visible, including ecological and anti-war themes, dramatic flying sequences, fantastic flying machines and a dynamic young heroine.
Original TitleKaze no Tani no NAUSHIKA
GenresScience Fiction, Adventure
LanguagesEnglish, Japanese with subtitles
Contents116 minutes plus bonus material in a 2-DVD set.
Based onA manga by Hayao Miyazaki
ScreenplayHayao Miyazaki and Kazunori Itou
Art DirectorMitsuki Nakamura
Animation DirectorKazuo Komatsubara
Animation StudioStudio Ghibli
Region 1 PublisherWalt Disney Home Entertainment
The initial fate of the movie outside of Japan was not as happy. It was licensed in America by New World Pictures, which released a horribly hacked-up dubbed version under the title Warriors of the Wind. About one quarter of the original material was cut out and the dub was rewritten in a way that altered the meaning of the story. This abomination was redubbed in other languages and released in a number of other countries.
Hayao Miyazaki was sufficiently annoyed that all subsequent licensing deals for Studio Ghibli films have included a strict “no edits” clause.
Fortunately, sleazy quick-buck artists tend to sign short-term licensing agreements. After New World’s license expired the movie was licensed by Disney, which released an uncut and faithfully translated version in 2005.
The movie includes a material likely to be frightening or disturbing to young children, including combat scenes, monsters and the deaths of sympathetic characters. It should be OK for most viewers aged 10 and up.
Premise and Characters
Nausicaa manages to pull a badly injured survivor from the wreckage: a finely dressed young woman in chains. This is Princess Lastel of the small kingdom of Pejite, which was conquered by the Tolmekians.
When he started work on the movie Miyazaki had completed only two volumes of the manga. Afterward he continued to work on the manga, completing it in 1994 with a total of seven volumes. The story in the movie is thus a small part of a much longer and more complex story.
Many fans have asked whether Miyazaki will ever do a sequel covering the rest of the manga, but he has firmly ruled this out. Apparently he found the process of cutting down the first two volumes to movie length so painful that he refuses to contemplate doing it for the rest of the manga.
The seven volumes of the manga are available in English from VIZ Media.
ANN Encyclopedia entry.
Wikipedia entry for the movie.
Wikipedia entry for the manga.
Movie page on nausicaa.net, an English-language Miyazaki fan site.
 kyoshinhei “great god soldier.”
 The DVD packaging and most English sources spell her name as “Nausicaä” like the princess in the Odyssey. Since the name is not given a Greek pronunciation on either the Japanese or English soundtracks, the use of the dieresis seems like a pointless affectation.