Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"The Wind Rises" Preview

Studio Ghibli Could Have Another Winner on its Hands

The Wind Rises poster
"The Wind Rises" (2013).
Studio Ghibli is popularly known as the "Disney of Asia," a title they no doubt they aren't too happy about. In any event, they have released a series of classic animation films aimed primarily (but by no means exclusively) at children. Their next, which debuted in Japan on July 20, 2013, is "The Wind Rises." It held the No. 1 position at the Japanese box office for a month after it opened.

The Wind Rises

Unfortunately for non-Japanese fans, most of the promotional material so far is in Japanese and is aimed at that market. There are no other worldwide release dates. Animation fans everywhere, though, should be able to appreciate the fine visuals and music.

You may read my full review of "The Wind Rises" here.

Below is the first trailer with English subtitles, released in anticipation of the film's coming debut at the Toronto Film Festival.

You may ask yourself, "Now why is Studio Ghibli selfishly limiting this exciting project to the Japanese market?" Well, the answer may partly have to do with the fact that the story is a look at the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II, Jiro Horikoshi. Now, we've all gotten past that 20th Century unpleasantness and it's a whole new world out there, but paying homage to the man who unleashed the Zero fighter on the world is still a bit edgy for an animated film aimed at children.

Personally, as a World War II buff, this sounds like a fascinating film which would be quite enjoyable for adults. Horikoshi was one of the top aircraft designers in the world at the time, producing designs out of nowhere that compared favorably to those in the leading air powers. However, everyone must realize that this whole period of history remains a very sensitive subject for people in many different countries. Perhaps Studio Ghibli wanted to roll the film out in a receptive market before the inevitable backlash occurred.

In any event, Disney has signed on to distribute the film, with no release date so far. Knowing Disney, expect it to appear in theaters sometime this winter.

Horikoshi was on a par with Kurt Tank of the famous Focke-Wulf 190 and Willy Messerschmidt. Apparently, he was not particularly war-like or bloodthirsty, any more than, say, Robert Oppenheimer or Albert Einstein. That any of those men's work had to be used to kill is a shame.

"The Wind Rises" will have its English-subtitled premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. This will take place in Toronto, Canada from September 5-15, 2013.

The top talent at Studio Ghibli is behind this, including the legendary Hayao Miyazaki ("My Neighbor Totoro") as director and Hideaki Anno making his animated feature film debut as Horikoshi. Others in the cast include Miori Takimoto, Steven Alpert, Morio Kazama, Keiko Takeshita, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Mirai Shida, Mansai Nomura, and Masahiko Nishimura.

This is rumored to be Miyazaki's final film. Incidentally, Miyazaki is a very strong pacifist who protested silently against the US invasion of Iraq and is openly critical of the current Japanese administration's intent to revise certain aspects of the Constitution to permit more war-like activity. He has a life-long interest in aviation, developed when his father was a worker at an aircraft parts plant.


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