NausicaÃ¤ of the Valley of the Wind
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
Starring Sumi Shimamoto, Mahito Tsujimura, Hisako KyÃ´da, GorÃ´ Naya, IchirÃ´ Nagai and KÃ´hei Miyauchi.
Most of the geeky kids of my generation were introduced to feature-length Japanese animation with Katsuhiro Otomo’s apocalypticÂ Akira, a stunning apocalyptic masterpiece. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, my own introduction to it was when I was in the sixth grade or thereabouts. Lazing about the house one afternoon, I noticed that an animated feature calledÂ Warriors of the Wind was playing on HBO in a few minutes, so — budding animation buff that I was — I decided to give it a try. To put it mildly, it blew my little brain out the back of my skull.
I had never before seen anything even remotely like it. I couldn’t have. American cartoons were nothing like this. There were Disney cartoons, amusing fluff likeÂ Smurfs and embarrassing garbage likeÂ The Last Unicorn. Even action cartoons likeÂ Transformers (which I didn’t realize was also Japanese until many years later),Â G.I. Joe and the sadly short-livedÂ Dungeons & Dragons were so kiddie-fied that even as I watched them, I knew they weren’t even remotely on the same level asÂ Star Wars or other live-action films.Â Warriors of the Wind was on an entirely different level: it was an animated film for people with brains.