While the official release date of Ghibli’s new feature anime film, The Wind Rises (Kaze Tachinu), is still a few short days away, numerous preview screenings have already taken place across Japan. We too, went to a screening earlier this month and offered you our impressions after seeing the movie, and now, with all the reviews from luckier members off the public trickling in, it seems that not everyone is happy with Ghibli’s new creation, especially the younger audience.

Expectations have definitely been sky-high for The Wind Rises, especially as it is the first movie in five years to be directed by Ghibli guru Hayao Miyazaki. The film got off to a good start, earning rave reviews from special early screenings for the media/entertainment industry. Animators and musicians gushed praise with comments like “The film moved me so much I almost sobbed out loud,” or “There’s never been a better movie, and there never will be in the future.” Obviously, such buzz only helped to heighten fans’ anticipation.

But since the preview screenings for the general public started earlier this month, there has been some mixed response on the Japanese internet. The main objection raised seems to be that the plot is hard to understand or even worse, boring, especially for young children, so much so that some parents have commented that their children couldn’t sit still through the movie, while another parent confessed, “When I asked my child what he thought of the movie, ‘I didn’t get it,’ was all that he would say.” All right, so maybe the film isn’t exactly the best conversation starter between parents and young kids. But is the movie really difficult to follow?

As mentioned in our previous article, the plot of the movie combines the fictional biography of Jiro Horikoshi, the engineer known for designing the famous Zero fighter planes, with a romantic short story of the same title written by novelist Tatsuo Hori, so there definitely is some heavy mixing of history and fiction; in addition, there are some long scenes that depict dreams, blurring the line between reality and fantasy, so we have to say that yes, the story would probably be hard for small children to understand. And since it’s part historical fiction and part love story set in 1920s and 30s Japan, you won’t find a great deal of adventure or fantastical creatures like Totoro or Ponyo, which the kids of course adore. Taking all of this into consideration, we guess the Japanese public is right in saying that ‘The Wind Rises’, despite being a Ghibli anime, is not really a movie for children.

That being said, Ghibli has made films for adults before. Even without seeing the actual movie, it’s obvious from the trailer and film description that The Wind Rises isn’t a fantasy or action-adventure story, but something more along the lines of From Up on Poppy Hill. It’s a quiet story that is maybe best viewed like a painting, which inevitably some viewers may find to be a little lacking in excitement.

At the same time, people who have seen the movie have also praised the artwork, some even saying that it’s the most beautiful looking Ghibli anime ever. And we certainly have to agree that this film is a feast for the eyes, especially the gorgeous planes, even if the story doesn’t quite hold the attention of children. So, maybe it’s just that in this case the movie wasn’t what parents of young children were expecting, but it will still be interesting to see what kind of response it receives after it’s officially released across Japan on July 20. Be sure to let us know how you liked the movie, and, if you have kids, whether they managed to sit through the entire thing!


Source: Nikkan Cyzo via MSN Japan 
Photos: RocketNews24