Written by Zima Beck.
The Wind Rises: Hayao Miyazaki is the wind beneath the wings of this generation of youths
The movie has been kept unusually tightly under wraps, the promotion and publicity surprisingly low-key, and the teasers devoid of much action, even though the movie was filled with amazing scenes …
Well, now we know why, the Studio promoters must have been worried that the biopic story of the invention of the iconic Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter plane and the inventor Jiro Horikoshi would become a hot potato of controversy, given that it is the symbol of Japanese imperialism.
The movie, however, focused squarely, in the spirit and tradition of Miyazaki, on the development and fleshing out of the key characters … And the anime film has all the great hallmark stamps of the Miyazaki movie, masterful storytelling, and it was a story of young Jiro’s coming of age, his romance and love story with a girl from the other side of the tracks, beginning with the events of Great Kanto earthquake of 1923, following Jiro’s entry to the working world, and through to the days of rumours, rumblings of and the readying for WWII.
Jiro is a character that many kids will like or relate to, a boy forever with his head in the clouds literally, fixated on perfecting or improving his paper airplanes (incredibly like my son) and his later utter absorption and passion for his art/aviation engineering science. It is obvious that Miyazaki made this movie with a determination to reach and inspire the Japanese youths of today … to reach for the sky, follow their dreams in the face of adversity, poverty, disaster and against all the odds. The movie’s title (based on a French quote by Paul Valery) itself gives the imagery of rising on wings of an eagle, and of seizing the day… and living to the fullest.
All in all, a must-watch life-affirming movie inspite of the darker connected backdrop of war destruction and militarism. Kudos to Hayao Miyazaki for trying to help Japanese youth move past their dark demons of war history.