The Wind Rises is no exception. Adapted from various written and graphic versions of the tale, the film is a romanticised, semi-fictional biography of famed aviation engineer Jiro Horikoshi, lead designer of Mitsubishi’s Second World War-era fighter planes. The A5M, featured in the film, was the first monoplane to launch from a carrier and was known for its inverted gull-wing shape, something we see a young Horikoshi feverishly sketching and building after finding a smoothly curved fish bone in his soup. Any musings on Imperial Japan’s behaviour at this time aside, it’s an inspiring story of a young boy finding ideas in the colourful world around him and turning them into a dream come true: to be able to fly. There’s a love story too, of course, and much catching of hats.
Aside from the slightly off-putting J-pop soundtrack, then, the trailer has much to offer. But it is also has one momentous downside: near the end, amidst the five-star blurbs and heaps of praise from critics, come the words THE FAREWELL MASTERPIECE. After a 40-year career in film, director and Ghibli lead animator Hayao Miyazaki will be retiring and has announced The Wind Rises as his final feature.
There’s always the chance that streams of acclaim are related to this but, considering Miyazaki’s fantastic track record, they probably aren’t. His films are already deeply sentimental in tone, balancing a sense of wonder that appeals to kids and grown-ups alike. It’s going to be a weepy day for Ghibli fans when the credits roll. For everyone else, this is your very last chance to see one in the cinema. Do yourself a favour.