Brain Food: Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises

Ok, let me start off by saying that I'm a HUGE Hayao Miyazaki fan. If you've never heard of him, drop everything and go watch all his films. If you don't have an entire week or two to dedicate to the most amazing animated movies you've ever experienced, hold on till the end of this post to read my top 10 favorites.

Hayao Miyazaki is a visionary (director, animator, illustrator, produced, screenwriter, so on, so forth) and has held me in this kind grasp since I was about 5 years old with his numerous movies ranging from the coming of age story of a witch to the defeats and victories of a warrior princess to the tale of a famed pilot who is cursed to look like a pig. The list goes on, but one thing is for sure…every film had a lesson. Every film tapped into that sweet elixir of childhood wonderment while also carrying the heavy weight of the human condition.

I can safely say his worked did a good amount of shaping who I am today and I'm proud of it. I can also admit that I can still watch almost every single film and feel the same emotions I did as a little girl.

So, of course I was beyond-words excited about his latest (and final - sad face) film: The Wind Rises.

I went to go see it last week and, what can I say, it was moving. Excruciatingly moving. I came out of the theatre feeling a sense of inspiration, love, loss, and a heaviness in my heart that was a result of two things: 1) realizing that this was likely his last film (he's "retired" in the past, but this feels final) and 2) feeling the sorrow of knowing a man who was an artist, an engineer, a dreamer, ended up becoming a tool of war.

I had the same feeling after watching Fat Man and Little Boy. A movie about the Manhattan Project - Fat Man and Little Boy being the names of the two atomic bombs that were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima during WWII. Needless to say, at the end of the movie, I was sitting on my bed, sobbing my eyes out. Completely inconsolable by my husband.

Now, The Wind Rises didn't leave me sobbing uncontrollably. That would've been very awkward and I would've felt horrible for my friend, Jeremy, who was nice enough to keep me company. However, the sadness was the same.

This movie follows the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man behind the design of the Mitsubishi A5M and Mitsubishi A6M Zero, both of which would end up being the aircrafts used by Japan during WWII.

The film sits on neutral ground, not siding with any of the parties involved. It was more of an honest observation of the unfortunate things that happen, despite the best intentions. Horikoshi is shown as a man who just "wants to make beautiful planes." A dreamer and a genius and so, you can taste the anti-war sentiment through subtle dialogue and slow-burning events. The feeling creeps up on you and then washes over you in a pretty astounding way. Not surprisingly, this film created some controversy in Japan, but you could say that a lot of great art sparks controversy. So, I'll leave it at that.

This was the perfect ending to Miyazaki's long career of superb work. I wish I could thank him in person for everything he's done for me. He's kept my inner child from withering away for decades…however, let me make a point in saying that this particular film isn't meant for children. At least not little kids.

Now, for any non-Miyazaki people, I would recommend watching his other films first to get a sense for who this man is and what kinds of messages he wants to convey to the world. To get you started, try getting your hands on my top 10 favorite movies:
  1. Kiki's Delivery Service
  2. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
  3. My Neighbor Totoro
  4. Whisper of the Heart
  5. Princess Mononoke
  6. Porco Rosso
  7. Howl's Moving Castle
  8. Only Yesterday
  9. Spirited Away
  10. Castle in the Sky
Now then, has anyone else seen the film? And if so, what did you think? xo!


  1. I haven't seen this film yet, but I am a HUGE Miyazaki fan (I am wearing my Totoro slippers as I type this comment). I have to agree with you when it comes to the emotional aspects of his films. Each one has moved me in some way shape or form and I am so grateful to that man for creating such beautiful films. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, it only increases my anticipation to see this film.

    Btw, I loved your bun tutorial. It's the only way I put my hair up now! I always hated having a "sock" or donut on my head anyway. =)

    1. Stephanie! So sorry it took me so long to respond! So happy to meet another Miyazaki enthusiast!
      Have you seen the film yet? Curious to hear what you think of it. :)

      And so glad to hear you're rockin' the bun! I had to take a break for a bit. Too much teasing and my hair was getting a little damaged. Nonetheless, I'm sure I'll be back to it soon enough.
      Sockless buns are SO the way to go. ;)