(On DVD, October 2018) Criticizing Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is tantamount to blasphemy in animation circles: the film has become a classic throughout the decades, and its impact in the kind of fantasy imagination as displayed in 1984 is only blunted by it being one of many incredibly imaginative feature films from the mind of Hayao Miyazaki. Taking place in a far future where humanity struggles to survive in a post-apocalyptic environment, it offers still-unique visions of repulsive creatures, intense combat, war between tribes, cognitive breakthrough leading to peacemaking. It’s very much in-line with other Miyazaki films such as Howl’s Moving Castle or Castle in the Sky. While we’ve seen similar offering in the decades since its initial production, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind remains unique viewing today. This being said, I can’t say that I enjoyed it all that much—I still have trouble processing the lower frame rates of even top-tier 1980s animation, the creatures are designed to be disgusting and there have been far more interesting twists on the post-apocalyptic genre since then. But that may actually be part of Nausicaä’s heritage: I have a feeling that its success allowed the unbridled go-for-broke fantasy world-building of much of modern anime, ironically making it feel a bit staid compared to its progeny. Still, it’s a classic for a reason … although I’d be wary of showing it to the pre-teen set.