Hayao Miyazaki’s 1984 Japanese post-apocalyptic animated feature Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is based on his 1982 manga. Topcraft animated it for Tokuma Shoten and Hakuhodo, and Toei Company released it.
The story takes place 1,000 years in the future, at the end of the ceramic age, following the Seven Days of Fire, a horrific worldwide conflict in which industrial civilization self-destructed. Despite the fact that humanity survived, the Earth’s land surface is still extensively polluted, and the waters have become poisoned. The Sea of Corruption, a toxic forest of fungal life and plants that is slowly encroaching on the remaining open land, covers the majority of the earth.
It is guarded by gigantic mutant insects, such as the massive Ohmu. Humanity clings to survival in the polluted fields beyond the forest, engaged in episodes of internecine violence for the few remaining resources.
The score was written by Joe Hisaishi, in his first collaboration with Miyazaki. Sumi Shimamoto, Gor Naya, Yuji Matsuda, Yoshiko Sakakibara, and Iemasa Kayumi lend their voices to the film. The story of Nausicaä (Shimamoto), the young teenage princess of the Valley of the Wind, is set in a post-nuclear future world. She becomes entangled in a conflict with Tolmekia, a country attempting to eliminate a rainforest full of huge mutant insects with an ancient weapon.
Miyazaki considered different names for the main character throughout production, but he settled on Nausicaä based on the name of the Greek princess of the same name from the Odyssey, as depicted in Bernard Evslin’s dictionary of Greek mythology, which Minoru Kobayashi translated into Japanese. Nausicaä’s personality was also influenced by Homer’s, particularly her love of nature and music, her imagination, and her disdain for material belongings.
Between 1982 to 1994, the manga was serialized in Tokuma Shoten’s monthly Animage magazine. The series first ran from the February 1982 issue to the November 1982 issue, when it was interrupted by Miyazaki’s work-related vacation to Europe. Serialization resumed in the December issue, and the series ran until June 1983, when it was put on hold again due to Miyazaki’s work on the series’ film adaptation.
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