In 1920s Japan, young Jiro Horikoshi dreams of building planes and heads to an engineering school in Tokyo; his work will also take him to Nazi Germany… What was originally called Hayao Miyazaki’s last film before retiring is not for children, but an animated biography of the man who built the fighter planes that Japan would use in World War II. Imaginative and romantic, with dream sequences where Jiro meets the Italian designer who inspired him. But realism is also tangible, with a foreboding atmosphere as Jiro’s planes would be used for evil. Long but rewarding, with beautiful music; human voices are cleverly used as sound effects, for instance during an earthquake.
2013-Japan. Animated. 127 min. Color. Produced by Toshio Suzuki. Written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Music: Joe Hisaishi. Voices of Hideaki Anno (Jiro Horikoshi), Miori Takimoto (Nahoko Satomi), Hidetoshi Nishijima (Kiro Honjo), Masahiko Nishimura, Stephen Alpert, Morio Kazama.
Trivia: Original title: Kaze tachinu. Among the voices in the English-language version: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Martin Short, Werner Herzog, William H. Macy, Mandy Patinkin, Jennifer Grey, Stanley Tucci, Elijah Wood and Ronan Farrow.
Last word: “At first, I had drawn a Manga, as a hobby actually. My producer, Mr. Suzuki looked at it and said, ‘Why don’t you make a movie about this?’ That was the starting point. But I refused, many times, saying, ‘This won’t make a good movie’ because we would have to leave children aside. This movie would be more focused for adults. Also, the staff that we hire at Studio Ghibli, they don’t know that much about history. I thought it would be difficult to teach them history. It would take too much time to do that. To draw old airplanes would be difficult. But while continuing those conversations with my producer, we finally concluded that we would make it a movie.” (Miyazaki, Animation World Network)