Sunday, February 22, 2015

Just a little more of The Wind Rises

Miyazaki and Co. love inserting callbacks to previous projects into their films, little moments where a shot composition, a character’s expression, a movement, or a design element are clearly modeled on others from before.  Ghibli Blog author Daniel MacInnes calls them “Ghibli riffs.”  Most of them are simple in motivation: the animator is reusing a movement he/she used before, or offering homage to a moment he admired in a previous film, or perhaps just inserting an in-joke for fellow animators to get.  Occasionally, they seem more motivated, coming at the storyboard or design stage of the production rather than the key animation.  In The Wind Rises, they seem to be especially intentional and thematically apropos, even revealing.  By repeating previous designs and compositions, Miyazaki is creating linkages in meaning, connecting this film to ideas permeating his entire career.

I already mentioned a couple of the biggest ones in the previous post, namely the similarity of the smoke and flames of defeated Japan at the end to prior Miyazaki depictions like in Nausicaa, and the way Jiro and his broken plane are framed like Shita and/or Colonel Muska with the robot in Castle in the Sky.  These are just a few extras.  If I was really feeling ambitious, I might toss in the character designs of Jiro’s sister Kayo as echoing Mei from My Neighbor Totoro, Jiro’s adult design echoing Mr. Kusukabe from the same film, and Nahoko’s resemblance to a whole bunch of Miyazaki heroines, particularly Nausicaa, the angel from On Your Mark, and the inventor’s daughter from Lupin III Series 2, Ep. 155: Farewell My Beloved Lupin.  But Miyazaki has been doing similar character designs for ages, and some people consider it a weakness, so I’ll leave that be.

The German villain's massive aircraft from Lupin III Series 2, Ep. 145: Albatross-Wings of Death

German aircraft from TWR


Apocalyptic earthquake from opening sequence for Future Boy Conan

Earthquake from TWR


Gina watching Porco work, from Porco Rosso

Nahoko watching Jiro work, in TWR


Colonel Muska's massive flying ship emerging from the clouds in Castle in the Sky

These pics don't show it as clearly, but the war zeppelin here emerges from clouds similarly, in TWR



My Neighbor Totoro's most famous scene
Three poor children waiting for their parent(s) in TWR


WWI planes and pilots going to join the ranks of the dead in Porco Rosso

WWII planes and pilots doing the same in TWR


"Darling, you must live!"

Final page of the Nausicaa manga. Nausicaa's last words: "No matter how difficult it is . . . we must live."


Also, I love the way this shot of the first test of the A5M has cherry trees visibly in blossom below, emphasizing the ephemerality of this moment with the most beloved Japanese symbol of impermanent beauty.

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