Of all of Miyazaki's creations, the Ohmu are the least attractive at first glance. Looking like a strange cross between a pillbug and a crab, they are introduced initially as antagonists in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind - the opening sequence features the titular protagonist being run down by an aggressive Ohmu larger than a locomotive. Despite this violent introduction, these creatures later reveal themselves to be more three-dimensional than your average beast of the wilds. As revealed halfway through the film, these large armoured slugs protect the diseased (yet slowly recovering) forests and animals from harm in this post apocalyptic world. They are creatures of simple design, and simpler emotion - in their natural state they are docile creatures with blue eyes, but when they feel threatened, their eyes turn red and they attack in hordes, overwhelming any potential threats to their home. The simple indicator of their emotion - eye color - later comes back in the climax of the film for several key moments of suspense as Nausicaa tries to avert a horde of Ohmu from destroying her friends. Nausicaa's bond with a baby Ohmu (pictured above) gives the third act a sturdy emotional heft, and the inscrutable faces of these creatures makes their eventual compassion that much more surprising and rewarding. Not traditionally "cutesy" by any stretch of the imagination, their eventual acceptance of the human main characters is heartwarming nonetheless.
Self-evidently a man who writes for the Internet, Robert also writes films, plays, teleplays, and short stories when he's not working on a movie set somewhere. He lives somewhere behind the Hollywood sign.