In this period of prolonged enclosure, I have been thinking about hope and apocalyptic bugs. While the calendar’s been melting, I’ve been crawling into childhood movies to pass the time, particularly the pre-Ghibli Hayao Miyazaki 1984 film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.
In this titular equation, Nausicaä is a princess, and the Valley of the Wind is her close-knit kingdom in some far future post-catastrophe tech-enabled feudal world. The distant catastrophe resulted from a week of mankind’s military obliteration of Earth by giants, which I’m inclined to conceptualize as nuclear fallout, and the resulting devastation created a bug-filled toxic jungle perpetually encroaching upon our human survivor settlements. Disney dubbed the film in 2005, which means that upon its release, I was a weird little eight-year-old—young enough that I incorporated story motifs into my narratological DNA without any impulse toward the critical or analytic, and old enough that I could follow the relatively violent plot. I watched it incessantly and then not at all for upwards of a decade. Then, the other day when I desperately needed literally anything to do, I saw it again.