- The Wind Rises
- by Hayao Miyazaki
- Studio Ghibli
The story is about the creation of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter (also called Zero), the most famous airplane in Japanese history. Jirō Horikoshi used to live in a world of dreams and peace meaning before the Great Kantō Earthquake and the war which tore Japan apart. He has big dreams of flights and wants to make the world a better place. Since being a child, Jirō dreams of designing flying machines like his hero Giovanni Battista Caproni (an aviation pioneer). The protagonist follows his dreams through war, romance and loss. Then he realizes that his dreams goes into a different direction as he has expected.
The movie is mainly filled with history elements. The depiction of the Great Kantō Earthquake is well done. It shows the aftermath and damages of this earthquake. People were surprised by it and most of them lost their homes. A further historical element is the Second World War and the famous Italian engineer Giovanni Caproni. He created bombers for the world war. Also the main protagonist Jirō Horikoshi has a significant role in the Japanese history. He is the engineer of the Japanese airplane fighter designs for WWII. Especially, his Zero fighters are the most famous planes in Japanese history. In fact, the movie tells his life and is honored to him.
The war elements depicted in the movie also shows negative sides of war. People are building airplanes only for wars, especially for WWII. Japanese engineers try everything to build the best and fastest airplanes ever meaning better than those from the naziregime.
The setting of ‘Kaze Tachinu’ switches between two worlds: Jirō’s dream and real world. In fact, his dreamworld is supposed to be also Caproni’s dreamworld. Their dream is about the planification and construction of airplanes. However, in the real world, Japan suffers from war and Jirō seems to escape to his dreamworld. He wants to build airplanes to make the world better but in the end they are used by the Navy to go to war.
An important message is the struggle of having a career and a family at the same time. It is incredibly difficult to even impossible to manage both. This was especially the case at that time where Japan was a poor country. A good example is the main protagonist Jirō who works hard and very late to achieve his goal. However, he neglects his fatally ill wife Naoko even though he tries hard to stay with her. He can not choose between his career and his wife but he does neither find a balance between both. The illness of his wife complicates and makes it even worse because she needs an allday care.
Another good aspect in ‘The Wind Rises’ are the characters. Jirō follows his ‘new’ dream: in fact he had to give up his former one of becoming a pilot due to his nearsightedness. On the other side, he never gives up on creating a perfect airplane for Japan. Jirō has a very kind personality. For example, he even helps Naoko (as she was not his wife yet) to catch her hat. However, during the end of the movie he seems to become more and more selfish by letting his wife suffering alone all day. As already speaking of Naoko, she is a lovely young woman who fell in love with Jirō. Afterwards, she suffers from tuberculosis and has a harsh fight against the illness. Her love to her later husband is very strong and she does everything to support him.
Furthermore, the art in the anime movie is really fantastic and fluid. There is nothing to complain about it since it is a Studio Ghibli movie. It contains very good sceneries and the environment is good depicted. Indeed, the characters and their emotions are the highlight and the detailed airplane sketches and the airplanes themselves are astonishing. Moreover, the sound and music are important to mention because they match to the scenes. Even the ending theme is a very good choice.
Nevermind, the movie also has its negative points. It is filled with too much information about airplanes which makes it boring. Those scenes are a bit too long which might have been fit into a smaller time span. We have to mention that at some points we were thinking the movie will never take an end. Especially the first half only shows airplanes and Jirō’s dream with his idol Caproni. The second half kinda includes a further topic: love. However, this is not a plot twist at all, the movie is still about airplanes and the design of them.
All in all, ‘Kaze Tachinu’ is very informative movie about airplanes. It also has a lot of historical events and it perfectly depicts Jirō’s live. However, there is in fact too much information about airplanes and their construction. This makes it a bit boring, because we are not interested in engineering stuff and airplanes at all.