The Best Studio Ghibli Anime Is A Sci-Fi Fantasy Epic Unlike Any Other

By Nina Phillips | Published


Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Nausicaä for short) is a beautiful and classic anime with a focus on the environment and human survival far in the future after most of humanity is destroyed after a huge war. It has elements of science fiction, fantasy, and a hopeful theme throughout the story. This movie is my favorite by Ghibli, and I think it’s one everyone who likes this studio should give a chance. 

The Wars

There’s a lot to love about Nausicaä, but how the show focuses on war is the most interesting in my opinion. Most of the plants outside of a carefully cultivated areas are toxic, and people are constantly fighting to keep their space safe and keep out poisons and the oversized insects that roam the land. 

Additionally, even far in the future when many people are struggling just to survive, wars are going on. You have the Valley of the Wind people, where Nausicaä comes from, who have weapons but seem to mostly stay out of the fights.

Then there are the two main warring groups: the Torumekia, where the Valley of the Wind’s alliances technically lay, and the Dorok Empire. 

The Human Side Of The Combatants

As a result of the battles, several other groups and communities were harmed in the quest to be the winning country. Later on, there are even god warriors thrown into the mix that threaten everyone’s lives. 

What Nausicaä does well is show the actual human side of every group. As Nausicaä travels to try and stop the war, she sees the good and bad of all the people, and how they’re trying to survive and keep their people safe.

Throughout the movie, you also learn that there are no true winners to war, as everyone gives up something or sacrifices their morals to try and come out ahead. 

Similar To Mononoke

In a way, it’s a lot like Princess Mononoke, one of Ghibli’s later films. Both stories focus on a deteriorating planet, wars, and groups just trying to do the right thing. However, they take this premise and go in opposite directions. 

In Nausicaä, the story focuses more on hope. The story centers on an incredibly selfless princess whose hard work turns the world around and enables people to connect with nature and stop struggling to survive.

Nausicaa Is Not As Dark As Mononoke

However, in Princess Mononoke, the story is a little darker. Though characters are trying to save their people, a lot of their reasons are selfish. In the end, a lot of the hard work ends up being for nothing, and things have been permanently altered, and finding a happy medium between progress in society and nature feels impossible. 

Nausicaä is pretty well-rated on My Anime List. It’s got an average score of 8.36 and a popularity score of #620. Being one of the earlier movies from Studio Ghibli, it’s often not as popular as other Ghibli films but still loved by many. 

Stream It Now


If you want to check this film, Nausicaä is available to watch on Max. See for yourself how you feel about the movie, and compare it to other Ghibli movies, including Princess Mononoke. If you do end up loving this film, it is also a manga by Hayao Miyazaki himself that delves much deeper into the story.