The Three Nausicaäs

Out of all of the Hayao Miyazaki films I have known and loved, only one has remained my favorite over the years: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Nausicaä is famous for a number of reasons, not least of which is for being the film that more or less is the reason Studio Ghibli got off the ground, as its success led to the formation of the studio. It is also the first feature-length film that Miyazaki based on an original property, following his entry into the Lupin III series, The Castle of Cagliostro. In Nausicaä, several motifs and themes that would dominate Miyazaki’s work would be established: flying, an inclination toward pacifism and eco-consciousness, a strong female protagonist (and antagonist in the case of this film). All of these things would be featured repeatedly in Miyazaki’s films, but Nausicaä featured them first.

But the most curious thing about Nausicaä is how it has existed in the US. There have been three distinctly different portrayals of the property, each with their own quirks and interests, that have been given to American audiences, and it’s worth examining what each of them represent.

Continue reading “The Three Nausicaäs”

In Which I Seek My Father

The Lion King. Disney. Safe bet,” I hear my mom say in the other room. And with that, my family is off to the movies.

Movies seem safe. An escape, a way to forget about everything that has just happened.

The Lion King opened in June, but it’s now October. Only one small theater near us is still playing it, but tickets are only a couple of dollars. The theater is empty except for my mother, my brother, my sister, and me. My sister has just turned six. My brother is seven. I am thirteen.

The lights dim and the film begins. Everything is fine. This feels good; it’s a nice escape. The colors are bright, the music pleasant.

And then…

Continue reading “In Which I Seek My Father”