Anime and movie theaters in my experiences are a bit lacking, not that they aren’t good, but because I just don’t get to see enough anime in movie theaters. I love going to the show. I love the spectacular sound and on occasion the audience feedback. I was able to see The Wind Rises for the first time in a theater and it was really great as a film and a great experience to see an anime film in a theater.
To read details and/or spoilers you can read the wiki page below, but I would rather talk about the movie on a few different level’s, both my overall impressions and how it helps the anime genre differentiate it self from other animation genre’s.
I have seen only a handful of Miyazaki films. I really enjoyed Princess Mononoke, one of the first anime I ever saw, I have seen a few others but not all his works. The style of animation in The Wind Rises is interesting, it seems to have a hand drawn feel to it and for the most part it is. Its different than most animation today that uses CG. The softness of smoke or clouds feels more real to me in some way, or maybe I just am used to this hand drawn style.
I am not an expert on anime, but like most of Miyazaki’s films The Wind Rises is mostly mature in tone, in that the content isn’t exactly tailored for children but it wouldn’t be considered a rated-R film. There is a war going on and there is a lot of violence from the warfare that occurs during the movie but its’ not gratuitous. It has a PG-13 rating in the U.S.
I think this films proves the point that anime is not the same as cartoons, the only real similarity is that they are images in motion with sound. I think most Americans see anime as cartoons and dismiss it as such too often. There is a lot of anime and a lot of types, but I haven’t see as many animation’s from America that have any serious undertones to them, other than occasional moments. There is for sure a lot of immature anime but there is a lot of mature themed anime… not hentai, but anime that hits the hard notes of reality and doesn’t seem to need to worry about softening it for the general audience.
One thing in The Wind Rises that is bold is the main character’s smoking… I won’t go into details but I will say he can almost be seen as an anti-hero from this. Click the pic below to see more character bios from the official site.
If I could say this about Miyazaki and his films, its that he doesn’t always need to fully state the worse sides of us to make his points. He seems to allude to them in ways that make us think. I like anime in general for that. I often am thinking more during the anime I watch, mostly due to character development. This is different than the cartoon’s I watch, mostly for comedy.
I suppose I should say I like to call anime a sub-genre of art that has sub-genre’s. I mean I would never ask a person do you like music, its what music do you listen to? I think there are too many sub genre’s of anime to say do you like anime? I’ll bet for most people who say no, there are a few shows out there that would really surprise them or make them re-think what anime is.
Check out The Wind Rises for an anime that features drama, war, personal struggle and of course love. The art style may be different from what you are used to with CG type anime but its has some really beautiful artwork and the movie has a comfortable flow that keep’s a steady pace with the different scenes that pass.