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The Asian ApertureThe Wind Rises
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, March 9, 2014    Share

Hayao Miyazaki had finally called it quits and decided to retired after creating his last mega opus, The Wind Rises.

Nominated for an Academy Award, The Wind Rises tells the story of Jiro Horikoshi who designed the Mitsubishi A6M Zero Fighter that dominated the skies during World War II.

The movie is less about the role of the Zero Fighter and instead focuses on Jiro as he struggled to create the best aircraft that he could. We all have successes and failures through life and those who rise to the top have had countless failures. However, they never gave up and neither does Jiro as various problems arise around him.

First off, The Wind Rises is a gorgeous animated theatrical release that only an artist of Miyazakiís caliber can deliver. His love of transportation is used to great extent with beautiful sequences of people walking, trains speeding down the track, cars traveling, and of course planes flying.

In fact, a large portion of the movie shows engineers working long hours to create the best plane, considering the limitations of supplies, cost, and design problems that creep up.

Second, the growth of Jiro from a year boy with dreams in elementary school to going away to college and receiving a job working for an airplane manufacturer is the main narrative. His new boss isnít going to go easy on him and puts Jiro through the ringer and yells at him whenever the need arises. Anyone who has ever started working for a new company can relate to the level of frustration that Jiro must experience to make him stronger internally. His boss has only good intentions for his genius employee even though he comes across as hard and crotchety.

However what really causes Jiro to mature is his love for a young girl called Naoko who is a link to his past. Miyazaki handles their romance with gentleness and empathy that causes the viewer to really care for what happens to them in life without appearing hokey.

Overall, Miyazaki has done a wonderful job on his final project, The Wind Rises. I donít think it is his best film, to me that will always be Princess Mononoke. I place The Wind Rises as being slightly better than Ponyo but not as good or entertaining as My Neighbor Totoro or the Academy Award winning, Spirited Away.

The Wind Rises was released on July 20, 2013 by Toho for the Japanese market and in the US in a dubbed version distributed by Touchstone Pictures on Feburary 21st, 2014. At the box office in Japan, The Wind Rises was the highest grossing film for 2013. I saw it at Regency in Brandon with a small crowd of about 6 people during a limited theatrical release. The Wind Rises is worth your time because it is an enjoyable animated film and will be available on DVD and Blu-ray soon.

Highly Recommended

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2014 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2014 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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