We finally found time last weekend to watch the latest Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli film in a movie theatre. "Kaze Tachinu" - "The Wind Rises".
“Otaku” in Japanese is a term that can be translated in English as “nerd” although it doesn’t describe exactly the idiosyncrasy and the temperamental way of thinking that is the characteristic of all “otaku”. The main character of the movie, a combination of the famous Mitsubishi designer Horikoshi Jiro and writer Hori Tatsuo, is portrayed as an “otaku” obsessed with two things, airplanes and from some time onwards a particular girl and the movie chronicles his life in a world seen through the tunnel vision of his two obsessions. It has been hailed as “a visually sumptuous celebration of an unspoiled prewar Japan” but I beg to differ. Since nothing else matters in our hero’s perception of the world, Japan in the ‘30s has been portrayed as mystical, dreamlike and basically dull, ignoring all the fun people had at the time, the entertainment and the cool places as well as the hardships of the era. The voice of Horikoshi, lent by Anno Hideaki, is typical “otaku”, with a particularly annoying tone, constantly using extremely formal Japanese resulting in a totally emotionless voice that makes it very difficult to connect with. Having said that, I was not taken aback by the love story even though the girl is basically the same as in other Miyazaki movies. As an animated film I found it technically simply beautiful.