The animation world will always be indebted to Hayao Miyazaki. He’s the Kurosawa of animation films. Miyazaki’s last creation is a tale about love for life and an aircraft designer’s obsession with the airplanes. The film is loosely based on the life of Japanese aeronautical engineer, Jiro Horikoshi, who played a crucial role in shaping Japan’s aeronautical industry. The characters in the film are truly in love with their craft just like Miyazaki himself.
I always feel sad while watching even some of the more popular animation films from the west as it gives me an impression that animation is nothing more than just a plaything for them that helps their characters perform some wacky acts that may not be possible with real people behind a camera. The westerners mostly end up overdoing the animation while bombarding the viewer with as many tricks to impress as possible. The end product often seems like a mess and animation movies seem to be nothing more than a plaything.
Contrary, to the west the animations films from the east are so much down to earth, grounded and imagined with realism. Japanese don’t force a frame after another on you but let you rather ponder on the moment and move from one moment to another with grace. The Wind Rises, in this regard is a perfect contrast to the western style. It makes us realize that animation characters can be more real than real.
The film has a lyrical tone to it and celebrates the life of its protagonist from his childhood to youth. It’s a character with hardly any flaws and has a heart of gold. However, the film also has achingly sad undertones to it given to the fact that the airplanes Hiro would end up developing will be nothing more than objects of mass destruction. Hiro falls in love with Naoko, who had been secretly longing for him since they first met years ago, however, she has tuberculosis and is destined to die soon. Their love for each other seems to be beautiful and tragic at the same time, which perhaps is a reality of life itself.
Miyazaki’s last film is a beautiful portrayal of passion, obsession, dreams, vision and love. I loved this film to the very core of it and would like to take this opportunity to thank the Japanese master for showing us that animation can be ethereal and earthly at the same time.