The initial few minutes of the film induced a lot of cognitive dissonance due to the discrepancy and a charp contrast between the lush background and minimalistic character rendering. It was not as profound as the new version of Akage no Anne, but the effect was quite similar. Compare and contrast with the above version of Kiki. The backgrounds are also detailed, but the characters blend in much more naturally and the entire viewing experience is much more coherent!
One interesting feature of a film is an extensive use of human sound effects, as can be seen in this clip of the earthquake. I was quite surprised to hear it initially.
Hideaki Anno is a good director and actor, but… No, just no. His voice didn’t fit the character at all!
I recall seeing this instrument at my grandfather’s home. It is called the slide rule, a mechanical analog computer. The above video shows how it works.
Treatment of women
There was one point in the film where I almost stopped watching because the scene was absolutely disgusting, and I lost all respect for the protagonist. I had to pause the film because I could not believe what just have happened.
Jiro wants to go away to smoke, but Naoko interferes, asking him to stay. He says that he can’t because of her condition, but she says that it is ok. So that’s what he does! He stays in the room, sitting right next to her and starts smoking!!! He is aware that it can be harmful to her, but does it anyway!
The full impact of smoking on health has not been established at the time, but that is not the point. The point is that he is consciously harming another person, unable to postpone smoking at all. Some may say that this scene is important because it shows him as a human being who makes mistakes like the rest of us or highlight the love between the characters, but this is certainly not the best way to do it…
Another moment was a comment by Jiro’s friend. He said that he is getting married because it will help him to be more productive, as if your wife is just a tool to get things done. That’s terrible!
That’s what I thought of watching the film. It would have been much better this way, but Miyazaki’s stance was not to go there at all, focusing primarily on the positive side.
Overall, although I did cry a little bit, and found learning about the history while doing research after the film interesting, it is one of the weakest Ghibli films. But let us end on a positive note. The main message of the film is a good one: we must try to go on living, in spite of the adversity we face, and reach for our dreams.
“I know I should not glorify them, but they were really cool ariplanes.”
Miyazaki was born in Showa 16 (1941) – he can not avoid the war. His generation likes fighters and tanks, but Japan lost the war, and his youth was a time of pacifism. Miyazaki has lived in the contradiction: weapons and pacifism. Miyazaki told Suzuki that he would like to clarify with the film why a human being like him was born. (Ghibli Press Conference)
“Jiro Horikoshi and Tatsuo Hori lived in the 30s and my preferred Japanese of this era. They had talent, were brave, and had a good state of mind. For that, I admire them… It is easy to accuse people decades after the fact, but I think that to deny their acts, including their mistakes, and the way they acted despite themselves, risks to glance over something important… They lived in an era where nobody foresaw the future. I think that we must live proud like they did…. “The wind is rising. We must try to live!” – these words are always valuable.”
Resources and Further Reading: