Tag Archive: Hayao Miyazaki

Rating: PG-13

The Wind Rises was released in July 2013, in Japan and February 2014, in North America. It’s an animated historical fantasy directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It has been said that this was Miyazaki’s last film; however, there has been speculation that he’s not retired anymore. I’m not sure how accurate this information is, but if it’s true, I’m glad this wasn’t his last project.

The movie is about the life of Jiro Horikoshi and his accomplishments designing airplanes during World War II. He has dreamed of being involved with airplanes since he was a child, and even though he’s nearsighted and unable to become a pilot, he still joins a major Japanese engineering company to become an airplane designer. The Wind Rises covers a large portion of Jiro’s life while also showing historical events such as the Great Kanto Earthquake, the Great Depression, and Japan’s involvement in the war.

As the title hints at, I ended up watching the subbed version (Japanese with English subtitles) of The Wind Rises. This was not by choice but due to the theater’s poor advertising. Once I knew the movie would be subbed, I accepted and prepared myself for a Miyazaki film. However, there were a few problems. I’ve watched plenty of subbed animes, and I have quite a few favorites that I would not want to watch dubbed because I feel it would ruin the anime. With this film, however, I felt that the subbed dialogue was shortened so the audience was able to keep up. Since there is no option to pause the movie, there were only a few small lines of dialogue to read at a time. There were a lot of quiet moments, and at times, there were people mouthing words, but no sound came out and the audience received no subtitles. There were also no translations for the German dialogue, so I missed out on even more of the story. It sort of took me out of the movie because I had no idea what was being said, and I missed out on some of the sound that I normally get with a dubbed version. This will likely not be a problem for most viewers that saw the dubbed version, and I am planning on watching with English dialogue to see if my opinion changes at all.

Aside from the movie being subbed, I felt the story covered a bit too much in the time it was given. I know that it was about Jiro’s life from childhood to adulthood, but the viewers only saw small portions of each stage of his life. There was not a lot of time allotted to getting to know certain characters at different points. I wish it would have focused more on one time period of his life with hints at other stages. While I appreciated the representation of historical events in Japan, the movie seemed to only show the tragic events to a change in time periods because it was sometimes hard to know how much time had passed. Some of the events had little to no effect on the main character except to show what was happening around him.

On the other hand, I enjoyed the overall theme of the movie, to never give up and keep pushing forward no matter what happens. It was rather encouraging, and watching Jiro succeed at his dream was refreshing. The Wind Rises was beautifully crafted like always, and the visuals live up to Miyazaki’s other films. I always love watching his films because of this aspect. The dream sequences were a nice addition to show how passionate Jiro was about designing airplanes. While the animation was great, there were plenty of humorous moments and jokes about the Japanese airplanes that were funny. I liked how the creators were able to poke fun at the Japanese military and how far behind they were compared to other nations.

There was a romance between Jiro and Nahoko that was sweet, and I would have loved to see the movie focus on when he got involved with her and show his struggle trying to deal with work while being there for her. That brought up another issue I noticed while watching. There was no conflict. I never really knew when the movie was going to end because there was no build up or climax. While there were plenty of small issues, there was never anything to drive the story or the character besides Jiro’s passion for airplanes. There was nothing that was presented to the audience that hindered Jiro from following his dream besides his nearsightedness but that was only discussed during the beginning. 

I’m sad to say that The Wind Rises will not be added to my Favorite Hayao Miyazaki Films. I’m hoping that Miyazaki is back from retirement, so he can continue to make wonderful movies. Although, I was not a huge fan of this movie, I can’t wait to watch Miyazaki’s next film.

Feel free to let me know what you thought about the film or if you’re going to see it.

My Rating: ★★★

So far, I have loved every movie directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Of course I haven’t seen them all, but I’m hoping to change that. I just need more money to buy them. I have been slowly adding to my collection whenever I see a really good deal on one of the movies. Feel free to comment and let me know about any movies from Hayao Miyazaki or Studio Ghibli that I need to watch.

*All descriptions taken from IMDb.

Spirited Away
Rating: PG

In the middle of her family’s move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and monsters; where humans are changed into animals; and a bathhouse for these creatures.

Thoughts: This was the very first movie I saw by Miyazaki. I remember seeing the VHS in the store and asking my parents if I could get it. I didn’t know anything about the movie, but I knew I wanted it. I had seen anime before and enjoyed it. My parents let me get it along with Castle in the Sky, and as soon as I got home, I started watching them. I watched Castle in the Sky first, and I liked it, but it wasn’t one of my favorites. I immediately put in Spirited Away and instantly fell in love with the story. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I still own the VHS, and I love it. I’m surprised it isn’t broken with how many times I have watched it. I adore this movie.

Rating: G

An animated adventure about a five-year-old boy and his relationship with a goldfish princess who longs to become a human.

Thoughts: I know that Ponyo is not the best by Miyazaki, but there is just something so charming about it. It’s a cute movie that’s very entertaining. There are plenty of flaws in it, but I can’t help re-watching it. The details in the movie are just as good as any other Miyazaki film. I feel like the story is the only thing that is not up to par with the other fantastic movies. However, it’s still worth a watch.

Kiki’s Delivery Service
Rating: G

A young witch, on her mandatory year of independent life, finds fitting into a new community difficult while she supports herself by running an air courier service.

ThoughtsKiki’s Delivery Service is such a unique movie that brings up the struggle of a child growing into a young adult. Kiki must train away from home for a year to become a better witch. She brings along her cat named Jiji on her journey (Jiji is one of my favorite characters). Miyazaki has interesting ideas about what a young witch/girl would be going through during this important time of her life. In a sense, the movie reflects a young girl losing her childlike imagination as she grows older (the friendship between Kiki and Jiji). Near the end, there is a bittersweet moment as Kiki starts becoming a young adult and her relationship with Jiji changes.

Howl’s Moving Castle
Rating: PG

When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking home.

Thoughts: I love the message this movie sends to young women. When I watched this, I was an insecure teen. I related so much to what Sophie felt about herself, and the movie helped me see that even if you might feel like you’re not pretty enough, there is someone out there that will think you’re beautiful. Plus, it shows being pretty is not the only thing that matters. There is a lot of focus on the romance aspect of this film, but there is plenty of humor throughout. There are subtle scenes and dialogue that just make it a wonderful movie. It’s a nice romance story that I feel anyone could enjoy. 

My Neighbor Totoro
Rating: G

When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wonderous forest spirits who live nearby.

ThoughtsMy Neighbor Totoro is the most recent Miyazaki movie I have seen, and let me tell you, this one is a tearjerker. I was not prepared for all the emotions this movie put me through. There is so much raw emotion that the sisters feel, and it is portrayed amazingly well. It was as if the audience was watching the lives and struggles of these real life girls. It’s a beautifully told story. I loved that there was no bickering or drama between the sisters. They didn’t fight over silly stuff, and they actually got along. The movie mainly deals with the girls’ adventures with the forest spirits.

The Secret World of Arrietty
Rating: G

The Clock family are four-inch-tall people who live anonymously in another family’s residence, borrowing simple items to make their home. Life changes for the Clocks when their daughter, Arrietty, is discovered.

ThoughtsThe Secret World of Arrietty deals with loneliness that the two main characters face. This one is a bit sad because of the subject matter, and it doesn’t end in the way that I thought it would. One thing I like is that not every movie ends with a happily ever after, but there is hope and the promise of happiness. Even though the movie’s main character is a tiny borrower, the characters are realistic with the characterization and character development that takes place. This movie is a nice step away from cliches, and it’s a very entertaining film.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Rating: PG

Warrior/pacifist Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet.

Thoughts: One thing I really love about Miyazaki’s movies is that there is a deeper message in each of them. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind focuses on saving the environment and how important it is to protect the planet and animals. It’s also nice that in each of these movies, there are strong female leads, taking charge of their lives and not letting life just pass them by when times get hard.

Princess Mononoke
Rating: PG-13

On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami’s curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime.

Thoughts: If you want your friend/boyfriend/fiance/husband to watch a Miyazaki film with you, this would be the one to show them first. I’ve made Chad watch all of these films, and he says this one is his favorite. It has a higher rating than most because there is a lot more violence. I believe this adds to the struggles brought up in the film. There was a real threat/real bloodshed that had to be dealt with.

Favorite Movies

I had originally decided to do my top 20 movies of all time, but as I was going through my movies, I realized that I had way too many favorites to pick out 20. I’m such a movie girl, and I’ve seen so many amazing movies that I would love to share with others. My plan now is to make a series with different categories for my favorites such as: My Favorite Disney Movies or My Favorite Hayao Miyazaki Films. That way I can share my love for movies without trying to limit myself to only a few.

Rules of the Movie Favorites:

First – Don’t talk about Fight Club.

My Movie Shelf

Just Kidding. On to the actual rules.

First – Each list will not be in any order because my brain would explode if I tried to arrange them (unless stated otherwise, of course). I have way too many favorite movies to try and pick my number one favorite. This is probably because I’m indecisive, but I’m sticking with the idea that it’s because I have a lot of favorites.

Second – I will only be picking from the movies that I own personally. Trying to remember every movie I have watched would be impossible, and I figure if it was my favorite, I would have bought it by now. Of course, this doesn’t include new releases that I will purchase later.

Third – Sadly, I haven’t seen every fantastic movie, so I might not have everyone’s favorite on my list. I am open to suggestions and would love for others to recommend films to me.