Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Stars: Hideaki Anno, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Miori Takimoto,
Jiro Horikoshi (Anno) was an airplane designer inspired by the famed Italian Caprioni. The Wind Rises follows his life, including such events as a volcano and World War II. As he progresses in his career he has to deal with the struggle of his inventions being used for war, meanwhile he falls in love with a woman who is marred by tragedy.
This is different from other Studio Ghibli films as it’s not as imaginative or fantastical. It’s based on a true story, but it still retains the usual heart and warmth that Miyazaki weaves into his pictures. I love it when I see a film that educates me about something or something I previously knew nothing about, and after this film I did feel like I truly knew Horikoshi. The film encapsulates a great many things, it’s a love story, parts lean towards a spy thriller, and the flying scenes are filled with drama and excitement.
I particularly enjoyed how Horikoshi merely wanted to follow his dream and design beautiful planes, but how this kind of got perverted into war machines. Yet he continued to stay true to his ideals and design the most efficient planes he could. Touching moments were shown in dreams where he met his idol. I liked how Caproni’s influence didn’t just extend to the character but to the film as a whole, as early on the music had a distinct Italian flair.
The love story takes over about halfway through, and while the shifting between the wider implications of the war and the intimate nature of the love story can be jarring I felt they complemented each other well. It almost goes without saying that it’s beautifully animated, and it’s a film that I enjoyed a great deal. I do tend to prefer the more fantastical Studio Ghibli films but The Wind Rises is a strong addition to the pantheon.