Animated Movies, Reviews, Rotoscopers, Studio Ghibli, Studios

Studio Ghibli Countdown: ‘The Wind Rises’

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The 2013 Studio Ghibli film, The Wind Rises, is a special addition to the canon as it’s the only one (loosely) based on a true story. To be precise, it’s an adaptation of a manga created by the film’s director, Hayao Miyazaki, which in turn is (loosely) based on a short story entitled, The Wind Has Risen, by Tatsuo Hori.

The film is about a Japanese man named Jiro Horikoshi who lived from 1903 to 1982. Ever since he was a young boy, he had dreams of embracing the relatively new field of aviation. His #1 dream was to become a pilot, but his eyesight was too poor for that. But, when he learns of the Italian aeronautical engineer and aircraft designer, Giovanni Caproni, he realizes that he can get into the field via that path. As he grows older, he studies aeronautical engineering at a university and eventually gets a job designing aircraft for the Mitsubishi company.

Following Jiro along his journey of designing aircraft is only one half of the film’s focus, the other half is about his eventual romance with a girl named Nahoko. Jiro first met Nahoko when she was a young girl during the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. He then meets her again years later at a resort where he realizes that she has been in love with him since that incident. Their romance eventually blossoms although there is a tragic streak to it which I won’t spoil in this review.

The Wind Rises is one of the more slower Studio Ghibli films, but it really gives you the opportunity to sink into the atmosphere. You can identify with Jiro as someone who wants to get into a certain field, but through a different pathway into it; you can identify with Nahoko as someone struggling with something saddening, but still able to find love through it all. And in my opinion, the relationship that Jiro and Nahoko have is one of the most romantic, sweetest, and selfless relationships that I’ve ever seen in fiction!

In terms of the technical side, the film boasts and incredible voice cast in the English dub which adds another level of realism to the characters. Some of the voice actors include Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Martin Short, Werner Herzog, William H. Macy, and Mandy Patinkin. And the animation? Like all Studio Ghibli films, the animation simply blows your mind away, especially with all the detailed drawings of the various aircraft.

The film is considered to be one of the best Studio Ghibli films today and it was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. If a simple story about romance and following your dreams mixed in with dashes of sadness and gorgeous animation sounds good to you, I strongly recommend you checking this one out!

Are you a fan of The Wind Rises? What do you think of Jiro and Nahoko’s relationship? Let us know in the comments below!

Edited by: MJ Edwards

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About Mark Brown

Mark is currently a university student in his early 20s pursuing a degree in computer science. He grew up watching many of the films from the Disney Renaissance, which further fueled his passion for animated films (as well as for Disney itself). And as a result of that, his favorite animated film of all time is Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

  • Roy K.

    I loved this film! It was so different to other Miyazaki films, yet I can recognise the whimsical charm anywhere!

  • One of Ghibli’s best indeed! In fact, it may even too good! (It felt like there were two movies packaged into one)

  • Jordan Briskin

    The nuanced relationships between the characters is one of the main reasons why I consider this to be one of Miyazaki-san’s finest films.

    On a side note, I’ve always had this uneasy feeling about the character of Hans Castorp (voiced by Werner Herzog in the English dub). He seems to appear out of nowhere, and he’s always watching Jiro; as a result, he gives off this very suspicious vibe that makes me not trust him very much…

  • I really enjoyed this one so much!! A lot for the animation and the heart of the story, even if some was romanticized, but honestly I never would have known who Jiro actually was if it hadn’t been for this movie.
    Really is worth the praise :DD

  • Marielle

    This is my favorite Miyazaki film (second is Porco Rosso). I’m not a fan of the direction the wife’s story takes because that’s not based on Jiro’s life at all, but other than that the movie is awesome.