- In what ways is Nausicaä intended as a warning, and what attitudes does it express towards humanity, nature and the future?
Nausicaä is very much a reminder of what happens when we forget the past mistakes of humanity and misuse technology to destroy nature. In Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, we see two countries at war, attempting to destroy nature with the help of a giant insect. By doing this, we can see that they disrupt the shaky balance of the world’s ecosystem. “Chan (2015) suggests that by rendering the landscape as majestic and a site of biological diversity and ecological importance, the forest landscapes of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind encourage audiences to care about environmental concerns”. (Mumchu & Yilmaz, 2018, p. 10). The groups of people still alive in the film at present, forget or wave off the treacherous damage of the past. Director of the film, Hayao Miyazaki is known for bringing his environments and landscapes to life as living entities. We see this in Nausicaä through the insects. This helps him to express the interconnectedness of humans and nature and to give the landscapes their own sense of power and force that they can use against humans to express what is causing them harm [ref here].
- Is anime a high or low cultural genre/media, according to Napier (2005)? How does she frame her discussion and argue her case?
According to Napier (2005), anime is a high cultural media. She argues this by mentioning that the genre is seen to be building on high class Japanese traditions, and shows influences from other high class Japanese art forms such as Kabuki. In Japanese culture, anime resides within the main stream popular culture, but it also has an outreach across the globe. “Its products are popular in countries such as Korea and Taiwan, and also in South East Asia,” (Napier, 2005, p. 5). Napier also goes onto mention the names of some European countries who have adopted anime into their sub-cultures, such as France and the United Kingdom. Anime has had an incredible outreach in the past 30 years and is now being seen as an intellectually challenging art form. Anime has a way of being completely surprising, and makes use of a lot of different storylines that Western viewers may not be used to, this would explain why it has become such a phenomenon even outside of its original cultural sphere. Napier summarises that “the medium is both different in a way that is appealing to a Western audience… and also remarkably approachable in its universal themes and images,” (Napier, 2005, p. 10).
Chan, M. 2015. Environmentalism and the Animated Landscape in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) and Princess Mononoke (1997). New York: Bloomsbury, pp. 93–108.
Mumchu, S., & Yilmaz, S. 2018 (April 17). Anime Landscapes as a Tool for Analyzing the Human–Environment Relationship: Hayao Miyazaki Films. Arts 7(2), 1-16. https://doi.org/10.3390/arts7020016
Napier, S. J, (2005). Anime: from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle. Hampshire: Palgrave/ Macmillan.