FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: The Wind Rises (2013)

Wind Rises to the Occasion!

I’m a Fulya Kantarmaci and welcome to FRED Watch where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. To celebrate the thirty-fifth anniversary of its establishment this year, I will be reviewing the animated movies created by Studio Ghibli. Today’s film is The Wind Rises (風立ちぬ).

Studio Ghibli / Toho

Nearsighted from a young age and unable to be a pilot, Jiro Horikoshi (Kaichi Kaburagi) joins a major engineering company in 1927 and becomes one of the world’s most innovative and accomplished airplane designers.

“The wind is rising! We must try to live.” -Paul Valéry

A young boy dreams of becoming a pilot but because of his eyesight, he would never be able to make that dream a reality. One day, Jiro Horikoshi (Kaichi Kaburagi) reads about a famous Italian aircraft designer named Giovanni Battista Caproni (Nomura Mansai), who he later dreams about that night. Mr. Caproni tells Jiro that building planes is much better than flying them. Some years later, a now older Jiro (Hideaki Anno) travels to Tokyo by train to study aeronautical engineering. During his travels, he meets a young girl named Naoko Satomi (Mayo Iino) and her maid. This is the year the Great Kanto Earthquake hits Japan. Naoko’s maid breaks her leg because of this earthquake so Jiro helps her back to Naoko’s family and leaves without even mentioning his name.

After graduating from Tokyo Imperial University, Jiro and his friend Kiro Hanjo (Hidetoshi Nishijima) are both employed at the aircraft manufacturer Mitsubishi, and are assigned to design a fighter plane called the Falcon for their first project. After a failed test of the Falcon, where the plane breaks apart in mid-air and is thereby rejected by the Imperial Army, the pair are sent to Germany to research and obtain a production license for a Junkers G.38 aircraft.

The Spring of 1932 comes by and Jiro has been promoted to chief designer for a competition sponsored by the Imperial Navy. This aircraft also fails during testing and is likewise rejected. Following that disappointment, Jiro decides to head out to a summer resort for some well-needed rest and relaxation. He meets Naoko (Miori Takimoto) again and they fall in love. Jiro and Naoko decide to get engaged even though they both know how bad Naoko’s illness is; she has an incurable case of tuberculosis.

What a beautiful film! I felt very emotional when I first watched The Wind Rises a few years ago, and my feelings haven’t changed the second time around. This love story between Jiro’s passion for planes and his fiancée Naoko is absolutely wonderful. This was director Hayao Miyazaki’s final movie before his retirement in September 2013. His love for bringing stories to life through hand-drawn animations makes me feel lucky that we have such a talented man in our lives.

This particular film takes you back to World War II, a time where Japan was behind in its technology by up to ten years. Watching the different designs of fighter planes being brought to life reminds me of another engineer, one who is in my life: my younger sister. She is very talented with drawings and it is no surprise that she also decided to study the beauty of aircrafts.

The English dub cast consists of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Martin Short, Werner Herzog, William H. Macy, Mae Whitman, Stanley Tucci, Elijah Wood, and so many other great voice actors. I have to admit, watching the film in English is a lot easier for me and I get to marvel over the gorgeous work put into it.

If you get the chance to watch this piece of art, you won’t be disappointed. In fact, you will be in awe because of the aesthetics, the story, the characters, the airplanes, and everything else! 4½ / 5

 


Starring: Hideaki Anno, Miori Takimoto, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Masahiko Nishimura, Stephen Alpert, Morio Kazama, Keiko Takeshita, Mirai Shida, Jun Kunimura, Shinobu Otake, Nomura Mansai, Kaichi Kaburagi, Maki Shinta, Mayu Iino.

Director/Writer: Hayao Miyazaki (based on The Wind Has Risen by Tatsuo Hori) | Producer: Toru Hara | Music: Joe Hisaishi | Cinematographer: Atsushi Okui | Editor: Takeshi Seyama

 

Available: DVD and Blu-Ray.

Let us know what you thought of this film in the comments!

 

I’ve been a Fulya Kantarmaci and you’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

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