I watched the Japanese blu-ray version of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind last night. For the Blu-ray version the movie has been restored and the picture quality is great. They haven’t retouched things like the film grain and the occasional crooked animation cell, but left it as it was in the original film, which keeps an “authentic” feel.

What’s good about this release is that it’s region free, full HD and has good English subtitles. The Japanese audio is linear PCM stereo. Dubs and subtitles in more languages are also included, but the menus are all in Japanese (even the audio and subtitle options).

It’s been a while since I last saw this movie (I have it on DVD too), so I noticed some things that I had kind of forgotten. I really like the story about Nausicaä. I’ve read Miyazaki’s original manga too (a few years ago). I highly recommend it. The story there is much more complex and detailed than in the movie, but the essence is there in the movie too.

Some things that are clearer in the manga is how much people respect Nausicaä — I was really moved by this while reading it — and the rage she feels when her village is attacked. It’s there in the movie too. The scene where her rage wells up and she loses control leaves an impression.

There are some things that aren’t in the movie that I found interesting. For instance how they obtain technology by excavating the ruins of the old fallen civilization. There’s also more details about how the Sea of Decay works and how it came to be. I also “liked” the notion that if the people in Nausicaä’s polluted world were to breathe clean air, their lungs would bleed. I feel like reading the manga again now :) .

Is that a fox-squirrel in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

To go back to this particular release, the blu-ray disc is pretty expensive. It’s a Japanese release after all. I bought it since this is one of my favourite movies. It will most likely be released in other countries at a lower price and other language options, but for me this version is perfect.

The disc comes in a nice packaging that also includes a miniature version of the (Japanese) Nausicaä guide book. The book is really small. Like a match box.

You can check out High-Def Digest or Asian Blu-ray Guide for full resolution screen shots.