Tuesday 15 October 2013

"KAZE TACHINU" - "The Wind Rises"

  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.

  Airplanes. While this was a movie I went to see for Horikoshi and his aircraft, there were more German and Italian planes than actual Japanese. So, boo there. The Army Mitsubishi Hayabusa Experimental Fighter was somewhere for a few seconds, Horikoshi’s Navy 7-shi Carrier Fighter was given some coverage, with the Mitsubishi 8-shi Reconnaissance or G1M1 making an appearance but the movie basically ended with the development of the Navy Mitsubishi 9-shi Single-seat Fighter. In Japan there is still the perception that Japanese planes of that era are all “war planes” and therefore “bad”. When I mention my passion for the history of Japanese aviation to Japanese, sometimes I’m naively asked “so, you like war?” and I can understand why Miyazaki tried to avoid showing combat types. Nevertheless there could have been more scenes with actual Japanese planes getting designed, built and flown than the endless boring minutes staring paper and Italian planes.
  If you want to really enjoy planes then the other Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli film “Kurenai no Buta” (or Porco Rosso) is an unparallel masterpiece that should not be missed. “Kaze tachinu” is good for the small screen.


D. Chouinard said...

I have been wondering about this film, and also wondering how the creators would skirt the "war" issue.
It would be interesting to see how this movie would be handled in the U.S. (Voice actors, editing, and such.) The subject is very Japanese though, so I'm not sure I will be seeing through a major studio here.
Artwork looks great, I have always liked Studio Gibli's background art. A very rich canvas for the foreground animation.

Panagiotis said...

Hey Giorgos,
An exceptional description of the film that was..Much better than many other so called film critics.
I'd much rather prefer a real film rather than an anime about the life of the famous engineer..And lastly, being a Japanese cinema fan which actress lent her voice to the girl?

Anonymous said...

Disney has a release/distribution relationship for Miyazaki movies in North America.

"The Wind Rises" will have a limited release on November 8-14,2013 in LA and NY. It will be shown state wide on February 21, 2014.

Arawasi said...

her name is Takimoto Miori. She's on wiki.
Check her also:
Very nice voice.