SF elements: post-apocalyptic anime
Nausicaä is the teenaged princess of the idyllically pastoral Valley of the Wind, one of the few remaining kingdoms after the war a thousand years earlier that poisoned the planet. The people live in uneasy coexistence with the Toxic Forest and its hordes of giant insects. Nausicaa herself has an affinity for living things, including the insects. We meet her in the forest, where she has travelled on her jet-powered glider (yes, I know that makes no sense, but this is anime).
A great airship crash-lands in the valley, and events spiral out of control, as invaders come to capture the giant killing monster on board -- one of the original ones that destroyed the Earth. Some of them want to unleash its powers to destroy the Toxic Forest, others want to destroy their enemies. Mayhem ensues, during which Nausicaä's bed-ridden father is slain, and she goes into a sword-fighting killing rage in return. Horrified by what she has done, she urges the villagers to submit, and goes off with her captors as a hostage.
But they are attacked, and Nausicaä finds herself lost in the Toxic Forest, where she discovers an awful truth -- she must save the forest, or everyone will die. But the invaders have stampeded the giant insects, who will destroy everything. Can Nausicaä save the day, the Forest, and the planet?
Like much anime, this is part bonkers, part wild imagination, and part sheer great fun. The forest scenes, and the hordes of giant insects (and I mean giant : bigger than tanks!) are great. One part puzzled me: at the end Nausicaä is wearing a blue costume, but a little earlier it had been red. The fact that it was blue was very important, but when did she change? There wasn't time. I had to go back and look: it transformed itself at a critical moment, but I hadn't noticed. Presumably this is because I'm not anime-savvy enough to read these kind of events properly. But nevertheless, great fun. (I watched it dubbed: some reviews say you should watch it subtitled. That would have helped me not get perturbed by Lord Yupa sounded eerily like Captain Jean-Luc Picard.)
reviewed 26 February 2011