Visually stunning - often breathtaking - with a superb story, this easily ranks alongside Miyazaki's finest. It's greatest asset is Nausicaä herself, one of the great fantasy protagonists, whose empowering, steely charisma is unique in animation. Joe Hisaishi never bettered his wonderful score, and even the international dub is passable.
Miyazaki brings us another strong female character in a visually poetic wonder. His studio was able to create a post-apocalyptic future with virtually none of the stereotypes, either conceptual or aesthetic, that sci-fi and fantasy are so prolific of. And even Nausicaä, the princess that fights the forces of evil, is not truly a warrior. She is a radical pacifist, trying to find her path. And the way back to nature.
Not my favorite Miyazaki film. I feel as though the film suffers from the same problem as Inception: it explains everything. The animation is not as good as his subsequent films, but the film itself is strong. The characters can be assigned in typical Miyazaki archetypes, and I love it. A young girl on a quest and an older, villanous woman. I think the complex Kushana is my favorite character.
I knew Miyazaki was marvelous, but this film exceeded my expectations... Gave us yet another show of magnificent animation and soundtrack and such a strong heroin to look up to - and, most importantly, a heroin that is not violent. A heroin that has violence and anger within herself but chooses not to act on it, despite everything. This film will always be important.
As far as I'm aware, this is the first major work of modern Japanese fantasy, a unique genre that became recognisable not just thanks to further Ghibli offerings, but thanks to videogames like Final Fantasy and Pokémon. Nausicaä encapsulates everything I love about those universes, too.
It's Miyazaki, so of course, it's a brilliantly imagined complete world. But the protagonist is a righteous bore from the beginning, and made an unconvincing martyr. These themes were eventually better realised in Princess Mononoke.