Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind ★★★★

I didn't realize how many Studio Ghibli films have powerful female leads until I watched this. Miyazaki knows how to write female leads and it shows (Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, Kiki's Delivery Service etc.). Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds is brilliant, captivating, and sometimes just plain awesome. The film is deliberately slow-moving at points, yet undeniably exciting in and out of its action sequences.

This film has several similarities to Princess Mononoke, the most notable being a more nuanced take on the otherwise standard "human vs. nature" conflict. The world and creature design were extremely creative and unique. In particular, the image of the red-eyed Ohms still stays engraved in my mind. Apocalyptic landscapes are usually an overdone concept, but Nausicaa manages to be its own thing. I appreciate how the film makes no attempts to disguise the inherent harshness of nature nor the native ugliness that exists in humanity.

The score is absolutely phenomenal, as we have come to expect from Joe Hisaishi. The main themes have been stuck in my head all day. The protagonist Nausicaa is almost a perfect person-beautiful, kind, brave, strong, and tolerant, and all of the above reflect her wisdom and her greatness. I'm so glad I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. I highly recommend this film if you are watching Ghibli films. This is top tier Ghibli.

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