Over 30 years ago—in March of 1984—Hayao Miyazaki’s first original movie soared into theaters. This was Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, and it proved a watershed moment in the history of anime. Here was a film built around real thematic concerns, with a heroine who fronted an action movie without becoming an action cliché. Here monsters were revealed to be good, and humans were revealed to be… complicated. Here, Miyazaki created a film that would serve as a template for the rest of his career.
And maybe best of all, Nausicaä’s success led to the foundation of Studio Ghibli the following year.