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Archive for January, 2015

The Wind Rises

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I don’t think any of my regular followers will be surprised that I couldn’t resist seeing Hayao Miyazaki’s last work. It is about a boy, Jiro Horikoshi, who dreams of flying. Since he has terrible eyesight and wears glasses, he decides if he can’t fly planes, he can at least build them. We see him as his dream comes true, from school to college to working for Mitsubishi. Along the way, we meet a number of people whose lives he touches and who touch his life. There is his friend at Mitsubishi who works on designing bombers, as opposed to Jiro’s fighters. There is the German man who encourages a budding romance between Jiro and Naoko, who had met years earlier during an earthquake. There is Naoko herself, which features some of the sweetest and saddest sequences in the entire movie. There are dream sequences with Italian aircraft designer Caproni which inspire Jiro. Over all of this is overlaid the fact that World War II is coming. This movie asks the question at the end, was it worth it for Jiro to design the fighter that Japan used in World War II? It is a complicated question with no easy answers.

While this movie has fun moments, its tone over all is more somber. It never goes into Grave of the Firefly¬†territory.¬†Fitting, considering the topic. The music by Joe Hisaishi is splendid as always. The animation is superb, and the dream sequences are some of the best. I don’t think I can say this is my absolutely favorite Miyazaki film. But it is up there, and was a great way for him to end his movie career. If you enjoy Studio Ghibli films, then this is a must see.

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