New on Blu-ray and DVD today is Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.

Nausicaä was Director Hayao Miyazaki’s second feature-length animated film and the success of it helped him launch Studio Ghibli.

Not everyone I talk to recognizes Miyazaki by name, but all I have to do is mention some of his other movies (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke or My Neighbor Totoro) and most people nod their head and respond with “Oh yeah, I know his movies!”

The video quality on the Blu-ray is very impressive considering the original print would be around 26 years old by now.  Sadly, no surround sound on this one folks!  2.1 front channel only.  But I’m sure it takes a lot of work to re-engineer an older film’s audio into surround sound.

Nausicaä is the central character in this movie and the story centers around her kingdom’s ability to thrive in a world that has been badly ravaged.  The poisonous jungle and its giant insects are spreading throughout the world and infected plant spores have the ability to infect healthy plant life and thus, the poisonous jungle continues to spread.  The spores are also dangerous to humans too and they need to wear face protection to keep from breathing them in, lest they too may die.

Like many of Miyazaki’s films, there is a strong, free-spirited female lead and  an imbalance in nature that threatens the world.  His fascination with flight is also very prominent from the insects, to giant airships and Nausicaä’s own glider.

With familiar character voicing by Alison Lohman, Uma Thurman, Patrick Stewart, Edward James Olmos, Shia LeBeouf and Mark Hamill, you’ll already have voices you know and love as you get to know the characters of Nausicaä’s world.

I won’t give away the whole movie here since I don’t want to ruin it for you, but if your a fan of Miyazaki’s work or just an animation buff (American or Japanese) then you should go pick this one up.  Suitable for the entire family.

Also worth checking out are the bonus features.

Exclusive Blu-ray Bonus Features:

  • World of Ghibli including
  • Behind the Studio
  • Enter the Lands Studio
  • Ghibli Trivia Challenge
  • Original Japanese storyboards

General Blu-ray & DVD Bonus Features:

  • Behind the Microphone
  • The Birth Story of Studio Ghibli
  • Original TV trailers