The Wind Rises
There is a beauty within flight. Birds fight the wind to take to the sky as their view of world suddenly becomes larger. They are no longer just another animal; they have been given a view of the world that can only be matched by the angels. For the longest time, people were forced by gravity to stay below the birds. For generations, we had dreams of joining the winged creatures for a taste of the upward frontier. Inventors and even artists like Leonardo Da Vinci had longed to find a way to let mankind fly. Out of a sketchy blueprint and some imagination, the airplane was born.
The Wright brothers had finally created a design that could place a person in the skies. From that fateful twelve seconds of airtime, several ideas came about to continue the new mode of flying. Most of the new ideas were to continue on the leisure point or creating new jobs, but ones that were also interested in planes were the military. Now that they could cross enemy lines, they brought engineers to build planes that could soar faster and allow for multiple hits. The life of one builder is created through Japanese anime in The Wind Rises.
A young boy Jiro Horikoshi (played by Joseph Gordon Levitt) has dreams about flying planes, but is held back by his need to wear glasses. After reading an English language magazine about planes and dream where he meats Caproni (played by Stanley Tuccci) where he’s encouraged to follow his dreams, Jiro decides that he wants to design the best planes. He grows up into a young man where he studies engineering at a university. He manages to help during an earthquake to save some books and a young girl Naoko (played by Emily Blunt) whose maid breaks a leg.
Jiro and his friend Honjo (played by John Krasinski) begins work at an airplane manufacturer, assigned to a fighter design team under the eye of Kurokawa (played by Martin Short). Years go by as he works in Germany, and is then promoted as Chief designer for a Navy Competition that ends in failure. Disappointed, Jiro travels to a summer resort where he encounters Naoko as a grown woman. The two seem to be falling in love, though Naoko is diagnosed with tuberculosis. The two marry to spend as much with each other as possible while Jiro finally creates his first successful aircraft, the Mitsubishi A5M.
It’s always nice to see some good old fashioned traditional animation on the big screen, and The Wind Rises reminds me why this format can still work for a biopic like this. The film is directed by Hayao Miyazaki, who also made My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Spirited Away. Even though those films are amazing, The Wind Rises is his most different as there are no supernatural or fantasy elements (apart from dream sequences) and there’s nothing really geared towards children; this is an adult story about aircraft design. This movie may also be the closest to Miyazaki’s heart.
Jiro is a likable optimist who may talk a lot about his dreams, but you see the work he puts that make his result the more deserving. Setting his romance with Naoko along side his work with the Japanese army may seem corny, but I thought it was sweet. Now if you know your history, then you know where a story about aircraft in Japan is already going to go. But wouldn’t call the ending sad; in fact, it felt just as optimistic as Jiro is building his planes. I hope that his dreams can encourage new dreams out of the audience that sees this.
I’ll give this five Mitsubishi A5Ms out of five. The Wind Rises is a beautifully animated story that shows that not all animated movies have to be geared towards families; it can be for adults as well. I would definitely recommend this, though I would encourage to catch this in theaters before it leaves; you’ll see why traditional animation can still look as nice as computer animation.