"Warrior/pacifist Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet," reads the IMDb tagline to Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984), which I saw with the family earlier this evening. I have not had such a crush on a cartoon character since watching Tangled (2010).
This is only the second Hayao Miyazaki film I have seen, the first being Spirited Away (2001), despite my smart students at the Pohang University of Science and Technology always singing the praises of the director's humanism, his strong heroines, his love of aviation, and his amazing creativity. Both films I saw as they were made to be seen, on the silver screen, here in Rochester.
The latter film seems to have been the more successful, both commercially and critically, but I prefer the earlier film. Shinto informs the 2001 film, Pure Land Buddhism the 1984 film. Nausicaä herself is a Christ figure, and owes a lot to St. Joan of Arc. The film's environmentalist message is early enough not to be dismissed with cynicism. This is simply a great movie.