Nausicäa at 30: as relevant as ever

Nausicaa posterHappy 30th, Nausicäa

I require all of my environmental science students to watch this film, in hopes that they’ll see it for the first time ever, or if they’ve seen this anime classic before, that they’ll reconsider its themes with new perspectives.

Nausicäa of the Valley of the Wind is an amazing film and has aged remarkably well. The world it immerses you has been so completely, enthrallingly crafted that soon, once you’ve oriented yourself in the post-apocalyptic landscape, you’ll relate to the characters and their circumstances. Then the action begins, and it’s a riveting ride to the end. And in all that—the huge, monstrous bugs, the fleets of massive warplanes, the Sea of Decay—Hayao Miyazaki shows us perspectives about what it means to be a human surrounded by and dependent upon nature, caught in the complexity of society, thrust into the struggle to shape the future. This is why I’ll be having future students in my classes watching this film as long as I’m involved in environmental education. It’s an epic masterpeice about environmental health, environmental justice, leadership, empathy and so much more.

Admittedly, Nausicäa is almost too perfect of a protagonist. Her will and values are unbelievably strong, but I think that incredulous mettle of hers is necessary. Nausicäa is the stuff of legend, of an ecological mythology that maybe we need now more than ever.

If you’re going to (re-)watch Nausicäa, I suggest going for the subtitled version.

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