Part of our special programming series "Studio Ghibli: Dispatches from the Dream Factory"
NAUSICAA OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND is one of [director and Studio Ghibli founder Hayao] Miyazaki's earliest efforts; he started it as a long-running comic epic, but in 1984, he produced a two-hour animated version.
All the Miyazaki hallmarks are in place: rapturous explorations of natural vistas, a fascination with flight and flying machines, and a spunky female lead out to change the world, or at least hold her corner of it together through sheer love.
Nausicaä is the princess of a rural valley that lives at peace on the edge of a deadly fungal wasteland, until a ship carrying a weapon from a bygone industrial age crash-lands nearby. When warriors from a far country come to retrieve the artifact, their invasion draws Nausicaä and her people into a sprawling political conflict.