It’s apropos and yet somewhat inexplicable that Hayao Miyazaki would end his career on one what is easily his most divisive film. Miyazaki has spent so much of his career delivering masterpieces of animation that discuss the horrible fall out of war, destruction of the environment, and war machines. So it’s absolutely confounding that Miyazaki takes a more objective approach to Jirô Horikoshi and his creation of what would become certified weapons of war.
An aviation-obsessed engineer named Jirô Horikoshi has loved the aesthetics, spirit, and science of flight for as long as he can remember. For years he’s been designing and building his dream plane, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, and it’s finally completed. But Jiro’s dreams come crashing down when he learns, to his horror, that his creation will be used for combat in World War II.
“The Wind Rises” is surely not Miyazaki’s best film of his career, but it sure is an engaging and absorbing war time drama. Miyazaki and Ghibli’s work is astounding as always and explores the love of aviation and how that love is twisted for terrible means. There’s a lot of ballyhoo about what “The Wind Rises” puts on film and whether it attempts to humanize the idea of war and one of the individuals instrumental in contemporary warfare. Jiro’s journey is a relatable and engaging narrative about a young man with big aspirations who, like Miyazaki, just loves flying crafts, and Miyazaki tries to depict the idea of plane bigger than the fall out from war. “The Wind Rises” is an interesting statement and a rich exploration of the development of war and technology. It’s a fascinating note for Miyazaki to go out on, but it’ll spark conversation for years.
GKids and Shout! carries over all of the extras from the Disney Blu-ray and added something new. Included is an episode of NHK’s 10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki documentary series, directed by Kaku Arakawa. The series has four episodes in all. However, only Episode Four is included here, as it deals directly with the making of this film. (The other episodes focus on the making of Tales from Earthsea, Ponyo, and From Up on Poppy Hill—haven’t been released on disc yet here in the States).
Behind the Microphone which is a look at the efforts of Rydstrom and the English voice cast (including Joseph Gordon Levitt, Emily Blunt, and John Krasinski, respectively) to create the dubbed English audio. There are also two hours of storyboards and the original trailers and TV Spots for “The Wind Rises” clocking in at ten minutes total. The GKids/Shout! package also adds a DVD version of the film (same extras). Finally, there’s a booklet with a written statement by producer Toshio Suzuki and Miyazaki’s own Director’s Statement.