The students of HST 4380 Environmental Philosophy are invited to view the film

Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind (Kaze no Tani no Nausicaa)

(Hayao Miyazaki, 1984) with the AH 3300 Natural Wonders class. There will be two showing of the film: Wednesday April 5th at 7 pm and Thursday April 6th at 12:30pm. Both showing will be in the Galaxy Rooms in the Student Union so there will be plenty of room for both classes and guests. As the film runs just under two hours in length, we will start promptly in order to fit it into the class period, so please arrive on time. The film will be in the original Japanese with English subtitles. We will be using a video projector system so the image will be on the wall and should be large enough to make reading the subtitles very easy for the viewers.
To give you some background on the film, it is one of the most popular animated films (anime) ever made in Japan. The story is set far in the future after a war and the ensuing ecological holocaust have destroyed most of the Earth and wiped out almost all of humanity. The destruction occurred during the now-legendary Seven Days of Fire when genetically designed monsters called God Warriors destroyed the world in a horrific war. A thousand years later there are only small kingdoms and fiefdoms that remain along the edge of the Sea of Corruption, a vast forest of fungus and plants that give off poisonous gases and cover most of the Earth. The people of these kingdoms must fight a continual battle to keep the fungi and the giant insects who also live in the forest from contaminating their meager farmlands. Most of the knowledge of earlier technology has been long lost. There are still some technological items such as airplanes and airships and tanks, but they are kludged together from ancient pieces of other machines dug up from the ruins of ancient cities.

Nausicaa is the princess of the kingdom of the Valley of Wind, a coastal kingdom where the continual winds from the sea provide power (via windmills) and keep the fungi spores and poisonous gases from the Sea of Corruption at bay. Nausicaa explores the forests (wearing a gasmask) studying the plants and giant insects that live there trying to understand their meaning. But the uneasy peace is broken when Kushana, a princess from another kingdom, and her troops invade the Valley. Treaty obligations force Nausicaa and her people to join Kushana on her crusade, an attempt to revive one of the God Warriors from the past. Kushana's vision is to use the God Warrior to destroy the forests and retake those lands for the humans. Torn between following her duty as her people's leader and her obsession to prevent Kushana's war from spilling into her Valley, she stumbles onto the true secrets of the ecology of the poisonous forests and the insects.

Many of the themes you have studied in your class will be touched upon in this film. Although Nausicaa ultimately presents a simple view of nature and humans, "the good guys vs. the bad guys", it is an extremely powerful film. Miyazaki's manga (comic book) version continued for almost a decade after he completed the film version, and his story and themes became more complex. He worked some of these more complex and ambiguous views of humans and nature into his 1997 film Princess Mononoke which premiered in the US last fall and will be released on video this coming June. You are also invited to attend the talk by Dr. Susan Napier from UT- Austin at 12:30pm Wed. March 29th in MP 3.226 sponsored by A&H and the Gender Studies Work Group. Dr. Napier's talk is entitled [Super]girl Power: Women and Fantasy in the Worlds of Japanese Animation. This will be general talk for the public about the image and roles of women in Japanese animation. You are also invited to visit the AH 3300 class that evening at 7:00pm in the Galaxy Room in the Student Union. There Dr. Napier will be our guest speaker and will be talking specifically about Nausicaa.

For more information, please check out the following webpages.
Nausicaa (the film):
http://www.nausicaa.net/miyazaki/nausicaa/
Nausicaa (the manga):
http://www.nausicaa.net/miyazaki/manga/nausicaa/
http://www.viz.com/products/products.php?series_id=120 (updated 2007 link)
Background on AH 3300 and our study of Nausicaa:
http://www.utdallas.edu/research/spacesciences/hairston/ah3300.html

Drs. Pam Gossin and Marc Hairston