Film review: The Wind Rises

Adapted by writer-director Hayao Miyazaki from his manga of the same name, The Wind Rises is reportedly the final work from the legendary Japanese filmmaker, who co-founded Studio Ghibli and crafted the animated fantasies My Neighbour Totoro, Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away.

Nearsighted from a young age, Jiro Horikoshi (voiced by Hideaki Anno) knows that he will never be able to take to the skies as a pilot.

But the young man still clings to his dream of designing planes inspired by Italian aeronautical designer Caproni.

Following the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923, Jiro joins the aircraft division of a major Japanese engineering company.

And his skills soon propel him to the fore as one of the world’s most accomplished airplane designers.

Meanwhile, he nurtures a deep friendship with his colleague Honjo (Hidetoshi Nishijima) and falls head over heels in love Naoko (Miori Takimoto).

These personal successes are set against a backdrop of strife and devastation for Japan including the great depression, the tuberculosis epidemic and the country’s steady descent into the Second World War.

The Wind Rises is also released in an English language dubbed version for audiences with an aversion to subtitles.

It features Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jiro, Emily Blunt as Naoko and John Krasinski as Honjo.