daniel thomas Categories: castle of cagliostro, lupin iii, nausicaa, riffs
Here's a riff that Miyazaki fans will easily spot. A shot from the ending of 1979's Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro, the Miyazaki Heroine being joyously greeted by her pet, is revisited again in Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind, five years later.
This is a good riff because not only do both films share the same shot, they share the same actress - the great Sumi Shimamoto. The passion and range of her performance as Nausicaa never ceases to amaze, shock and astound me. I think Shimamoto's Clarisse, the imprisoned heroine in Castle of Cagliostro, has a hidden dimension, buried just beneath the surface. She's clearly not a sexual object nor a MacGuffin to move the plot. She has an extra...something. You can sense that in her performance as the Heroine in the 1980 finale episode, Farewell, Beloved Lupin. But it's really as Nausicaa where her emotional qualities explode. She dominates everyone and everything around you.
I don't believe that either film is half as good without Sumi Shimamoto. And none of the American actresses who have played her roles could fill her shoes. I find that fascinating, because as an American, I never considered animation voice acting to be, well, real acting. Nausicaa forced me to completely reexamine that belief when I first watched it a decade ago, on an ancient, beat-up bootleg fansub. The picture was so worn out that I could barely make out anything. But Shimamoto...she just bowled me over. She's anime's answer to Falconetti.