The Wind Rises Now Available

The Wind Rises, the last feature film to be directed by Hayao Miyazaki, is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray. The film tells the story of Jiro Horikoshi, a airplane designer during World War II. The film is a fictionalized biography of his life, and an adaptation of both Miyazaki’s manga and Tatsuo Hori’s short story, “The Wind Has Risen.” Studio Ghibli is the same animation studio that has previously created Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Princess Mononoke. It is of significance both for being an amazing film and for being the final film Miyazaki directed before his retirement in September of 2013. The last film he had solely directed was Ponyo in 2008. He first created the manga in 2008 until 2010 and initially rejected the idea of adapting it into a animated film.

In the Japanese audio version of the film, the main character of Jiro is voiced by Hideaki Anno, famous for his work, Neon Genesis Evangelion. Anno got his start animating one of the final scenes in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind with Miyazaki. In the English audio, Jiro’s voicework is done by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who acts opposite Emily Blunt whom he starred with in the 2012 film “Looper.”

The film was successful at the box office and also with critical reception. Rotten Tomatoes has a 89%, stating, “The Wind Rises is a fittingly bittersweet swan song for director Hayao Miyazaki. The film was nominated for an Academy Award but lost to Frozen from Disney. The film did win about 17 awards from various outlets. Ben Sachs of the Chicago Reader said of the film, “By acknowledging his similarities with a warplane designer, Miyazaki notes our proximity to the atrocities of the 20th century and asks how we live contentedly with this knowledge.” Meanwhile Mark Kermode of The Observer states, “Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘final feature’ (the master announced his retirement last year) is a breathtaking dream of flying crafted with hand-drawn attention to detail – a rich treat for the eye and soul alike.” Lastly, The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw comments, “The film is arguably naive, but really exquisite in many ways, perhaps especially in the crowd scenes, in which tiny human figures cluster like bees. There is a real emotional charge in this life story of a Japanese pioneer. It is not too fanciful to link Miyazaki’s own artistry with this young engineer, passionately reaching for the sky.” Personally I loved the film, as the animation was gorgeous and the plot full of characters that caused many emotions, most of which being bittersweet. I would highly recommend you watch it.