I love Studio Ghibli. LOVE. I mean, I’m a devoted animation fan, and a lot of devoted animation fans love Studio Ghibli. So, obviously I was psyched to watch this film. What did I think of it? Was it a Hayao Miyazaki masterpiece, or another pretentious bore-fest? Let’s see.
Story: This is usually the part where I give the synopsis of the story, but there really isn’t much of a plot. There’s Jiro, a genius aeronautics engineer, and we watch him go through his life. That’s really it.
While that seems really boring, there’s something so nice about Jiro and the people that he meets that really suck you in. Not only that, but there are undertones of subjects like the importance of art versus technology and the ethics of war. It really is a thought provoking film.
It does remind me of a lot of other Studio Ghibli films, where there’s not much story but more of watching the everyday lives of the characters. My Neighbor Totoro, a film that follows this formula, is a film that I said that I didn’t enjoy due to its lack of story. But looking back, I think I didn’t understand the power of just watching your characters live through the natural obstacle of life. I really might want to rewatch My Neighbor Totoro to see if it has the same impact this movie gave me.
I couple gripes I have is the constant timeline jumping. Sometimes it gets hard to follow, and you can easily go back to asking, “Where are we again?” It can get pretty confusing at times.
Animation: Studio Ghibli has done it again. The animation is gorgeous. The colors are vivid and well chosen. The characters are designed beautifully. The slight mixture of CG and hand-drawn techniques is genius. All of these things remind me why hand-drawn animation should never truly die out completely. Studio Ghibli shows that hand-drawn animation has the same impact and power as CG animation does.
Characters: All the characters are likable in this film. There are so many though, and it can get hard to keep track at times. Studio Ghibli loves to pack their films with a ton of different side characters that have a charming, quirky personality.
Jiro is great as a main character. He is very smart, but is a dreamer. He has a determination to get things done, even if the outcome isn’t something he quite believes in. He’s a very charming character, and has a very warm personality.
In conclusion, The Wind Rises is a whimsical, thought-provoking about life, love, technology, and innovation. Who would like it? Certainly fans of Hayao Miyazaki will like it, animation fans will adore the visuals, and film snobs will love to analyze the film’s meanings and themes. It’s a great tale to unwind and relax, like a nice summer vacation. That’s how a lot of Hayao Miyazaki films are: a vacation. They’re relaxing and exciting at the same time. I couldn’t have it any other way.
See you later, Animators!