Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

is a 1984 film about a princess, Nausicaa, who must save her people in the Valley of the Wind from the toxins and enormous insects of the Toxic Jungle, which is rapidly spreading and killing off the human race.

While entertaining, this film is also meaningful as well as educational.  It is available in its original Japanese version with English subtitles which can promote reading as entertainment as well as a full length version dubbed over into the English language by a variety of Hollywood names.  The major theme within this film is that the dangers of pollution and destruction created by humans will ultimately destroy them if they do not change their ways.

The time period in which this film was released reflects a time period when Japan was struggling environmentally.  The nation had undergone a change from an agricultural society to an industrial society and in the process a great amount of Japan’s natural beauty was destroyed.  More specifically, in 1984, the year in which this film was released, Japanese citizens were proven through government surveys to be less concerned about environmental problems than the majority of European nations who resembled them and their scenarios.

This theme is displayed throughout the film through the use of the visual trope (an image repeated throughout the film) of the colors red and blue.  Red appears whenever Miyazaki wants to connotate anger, war, danger, or destruction, whereas blue appears in moments of tranquility, peace, and purification throughout the film.  Some uses of the color red include the eyes of angry insects, destructive fire, and blood.  Some uses of the color blue include the eyes of insects when they are at peace, unpolluted underground caverns, and the clothing of both the noble Nausicaa and the legend of a man in blue who will save the Earth.

Through the uses of color, Miyazaki is blatantly making the statement that there is inherently far too much red in the world that is overtaking the blue.  If an end is not put to it, then mankind is destined to destroy itself.  Through an animated PG film Miyazaki is successful in communicating that we need to be conscious of our actions in the real world.  While the destruction of the Earth is a huge statement that teenage and pre-teen viewers are in no way capable of tackling, it presents them with the possibility of the issue.  They can make a start of dealing with this issue by making an effort to recycle, not littering, and being respectful to the environment.  If they take it to heart, these young viewers can grow up making a difference that could potentially effect their futures.  After watching this film, you can talk to your child about these issues.  Click on the link below to see what other kids have been doing as well as some things your child can do. http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/action/way04.html

(Posted by: Beth Costello)

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