Thoughts on Kaze Tachinu

I just saw the latest animation film by Hayao Miyazaki. This film is very anticipated movie for all Ghibli fans. Kaze Tachinu (Wind Rises)┬áis dramatized biography of Jiro Horikoshi, designer of Zero fighter plane for WWII. I haven’t yet read the manga which this movie is based on.

The movie begins with a dream-like sequence from the main character’s childhood. He sleeps, dreaming of flying. In his dream he climbs on roof of his house on which there is a fantasy airplane waiting. He takes off enjoying the breeze, but suddenly finds huge bomber ready to deliver it’s payload, sinister dark creatures on huge black bombs. The boy’s glasses are torn away by the wind, and the boy falls, then wakes up.

In overall Kaze Tachinu is a great movie; this is genuine Ghibli production. Hand drawn old-fashioned animation is great and is occasionally complemented by CG-aided sequences. As you might expect, level of detail is amazing.

I love the way how CG techniques were used only to aid the main storyline, they were never too obvious to steal the attention. This is exactly how it should be done.

The overall style of the film is so elegant and true to the era it depicts, furniture and houses for example looks so real; significant effort must have been done to research and ensure the authenticity of the environments.

The movie doesn’t really show war but wartime is just a context or environment for this film. It would be wrong to call this romantic movie although the story contains tear-jerking romance. It feels appropriate, warm and human.

It would be easy to imagine that Miyazaki wanted to make more stronger anti-war movie but couldn’t because of pressure from sponsors. So he might have had to choose more subtle method; reference to the horror of war via metaphors such as natural disaster, injury or death of a loved one. Even though this is huge Ghibli production, Kaze Tachinu Has received a little attention in mass media. It just seems that in present day Japan, war or recent history isn’t very popular topic. Some TV channels seem to have even decided not to mention the movie at all.

It is curious that Miyazaki chose this topic, in this very moment in Japan. The Liberal Democratic Party had landslide victory in the two last elections, and the party has been very open about it’s intentions of changing the pacifist article in Japanese constitution and arming Japan with military and possibly nuclear weapons. Anti-war theme couldn’t be more unpopular.

But then, it might be the reason why Miyazaki decided to make this film.

I did notice that some of the scenes were cut, probably by some other factor than Ghibli or Miyazaki, maybe sponsor forced edits. If there is ever going to be director’s cut, it will be a must-see!

I really recommend this film. Bravo, Miyazaki Hayao!

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