Opening 17 Jul 2014
Japanese Jiro Horikoshi was born in 1903. He attended university in Tokyo where he impressed as an exceptionally gifted engineering student. After graduation he developed airplanes at Mitsubishi. He lived in Germany several years and studied the making of Junker aircraft. He and his team created the Mitsubishi ASM and the Mitsubishi AGM Zero planes, beginning in the 1930s and continuing throughout World War II.
All this is documented in the animated, historical docudrama by Hayao Miyazaki, based on a Manga comic, also by Miyazaki. The life of Jiro Horikoshi deserves to be preserved for posterity. His achievements are true, as was the 1923 earthquake in the film. Some consider other details in the film to be interesting for the plot, but not necessarily true. For example, he had a brother, but not a sister; he had a child. The Italian airplane engineer Gianni Caproni really existed (died in 1957), but whether he was such a great influence on Jiro Horikoshi is not actually proven. However, his inclusion makes a good story, and we learn something more about international airplane engineers.
This is perhaps not Miyazaki’s best film, which would be a hard act to follow, considering his films Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle. It is sometimes too long and repetitive. However, it is always interesting to learn about important personalities from the past, and The Wind Rises gives us this excellent opportunity. Although this is a film about planes, trains are the most-popular transportation in the film -- an animated film for adults and older children. (Becky Tan)