After being released in Japan back in the summer of 2013 and later in America all the way back in Febuary, The Wind Rises the Oscar nominated animated film from the fabulous Studio Ghibli has finally gotten around to showing in UK cinemas. The film is an anti-war film that follows a fictionalised biography of Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, an infamous fighter plane used heavily by the Imperial Japanese Navy in the pacific conflict during World War 2, notorious for terrifying Kamikaze operations.
So why is this film worth talking about? Because it could be the last of it’s kind with legendary writer and director Hayao Miyazaki announcing his retirement from filmmaking. After heading production of some of the most fondly remembered animated classics to ever grace the sceen, Hayao Miyazaki aged 73 announced his retirement for the latest and supposedly final time last year on September 5th. The Japanese director has announced his retirement on several occasions, the first being in 1986 at age 45 after the release of his third film, Laputa: Castle in the sky (1986) and many times since due to a variety of reasons.
Talking in a Japanese news conference Miyazaki explained “I know I’ve said I would retire many times in the past. Many of you must think, `Once again.’ But this time I am quite serious.” and went on to mention that “It’s best not to wait to retire when one is already in a decline.” The decline that Miyazaki refers to is unlikely to resemble a commercial drop as The Wind Rises managed to secure the highest grossing film of the year in Japan where it was also showered with rewards, treatment that has become almost traditional for the films of Studio Ghibli.
Although being highly renown in the western hemisphere, Miyazaki left a bad impression on the Academy Awards in 2003 after refusing to attend the awards ceremony in which he would be presented the Oscar for best animated feature for his film Spirited Away (2001) because he did not want to travel to a country that was “bombing Iraq” and to no one’s surprise has not earned an Academy Award since despite receiving nominations for Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) and The Wind Rises.
However the future of Studio Ghibli is still very promising with proven collaborators continuing to carry the famous company into the future. Hayao Miyazaki’s own son Gorō Miyazaki has already directed a couple of projects for the studio, although their reception is severely lacking in comparison to the rampant acclaim of the films of his father, the studio remains a legend of animation that we are bound to see more from.