Hayao Miyazaki intended to finish his directing career with his 2013 animated film The Wind Rises.
Now, while Miyazaki is actually returning to direct another film soon, this would have been a great way for him to finish because The Wind Rises is easily one of my favourite of his movies, alongside Princess Mononoke.
The film tells a fictionalized version of the life of Jiro Horikoshi (Hideaki Anno), a plane designer during the second world war.
However, despite Jiro being a wartime plane designer, the film does not focus on this.
Instead, Miyazaki chooses to focus on Jiro’s life, his passions, his dreams, and his relationship with the love of his life Naoko (Miori Takimoto).
This could have easily ended badly, with the film sweeping what Jiro’s planes were used for during the war under the rug.
Thankfully, this is not the route Miyazaki took as the planes’ use in war is fully acknowledged, yet Jiro’s success in making his “beautiful dream” into a reality is also portrayed as a departure from this.
It is also in these dreams that we see Jiro interacting with his hero and inspiration, Giovanni Battista Caproni (Nomura Mansai).
The bond Jiro has with his mentor, even if this bond is only his head, is very touching, with Caproni delivering many inspirational lines.
Just as touching is Jiro’s relationship with Naoko and the struggles they experience with her illness.
This creates a moving ending that is tear inducing and leaves you sad yet satisfied.
Other great aspects about The Wind Rises include its animation, sound design, and score.
Being a Studio Ghibli film, the animation is once again stellar but it is the sound design and score that really drew my attention upon watching it.
A lot of the sound effects are actually created vocally, with people making the sound for planes and other features.
This could have easily come off as silly but it somehow works completely.
And then there is the score by Joe Hisashi which, along with his score from Princess Mononoke, may be my favourite score in any Studio Ghibli film.
The Wind Rises is a fantastic film and one of Hayaok Miyazaki’s best.
I am truly glad he is returning to direct his new film How Do You Live?
The Wind Rises is an emotionally compelling film with a great story, animation, soun design score, and some inspirational quotes like, “The wind is rising. We must try to live.”