Whilst on vacation I spent some time in the evenings watching Studio Ghibli's "The Wind Rises". This is a fictional biography of Jiro Horikoshi, creator of the "Zero" fighter which Japan used during WWII.
The story follows Jiro from his childhood, where his dreams of being a pilot are dashed by poor eyesight. After reading an aviation magazine he dreams of meeting a famous Italian aircraft design, Caprioni. In later dreams Caprioni tells him that building planes is better than flying them.
After an earthquake meets a girl called Nahoko and helps her and her maid to safety. Later on they meet again and a relationship blossoms.
Between his relationship with Nahoko, the work designing planes and the tense political atmosphere of wartime Japan, a lot happens to Jiro. That said, the story moves slowly, and I found my attention drifting away, hence watching this over a few evenings instead of all at once.
The animation and artwork are amongst the best of the Ghibli movies, most notably the dream sequences with Caprioni and a scene where Jiro and Nahoko play with a paper plane.
I really enjoyed the sound effects made by the planes as their propellors hum. They have an almost human quality to them.
The Wind Rises caused some controversy in South Korea and China, as it could be considered to be glorifying war and Japan's military. I didn't get that impression. The story is really about Jiro's dedication to building a beautiful airplane, whilst balancing taking care of Nahoko and his own ethical concerns about making a killing machine.
The Wind Rises is certainly watchable and enjoyable, though not as fast paced and action packed as many of the other films and, happily, not as sad as the other film Grave of the Fireflies.
Check out my other Studio Ghibli reviews:
2 years ago