Hayao Miyazaki recently announced that he has made his final feature film, and now US audiences can start making plans to see it for themselves. The Wind Rises, currently playing in Japanese theaters under the name Kaze Tachinu, will get a week-long run beginning November 8th in New York and Los Angeles that's designed to poise the movie for Oscar success. This will be in Japanese with English subtitles; a dubbed version will also see limited release on February 21st before expanding to more theaters on the 28th.
"Purists, give [the English dub] a chance."
Variety reports that the February run will give audiences the chance to watch either version, with Studio Ghibli's international head Geoffrey Wexler urging "purists" to "give [the English dub] a chance." None of the English voice cast has been announced, but Miyazaki's last movie, Ponyo, attracted major Hollywood stars like Matt Damon, Liam Neeson, and Cate Blanchett. The LA Times notes that there is no strong front-runner for this year's animated feature Oscar; potential contenders include Monsters University, The Croods, and Turbo.
The Wind Rises takes two main sources as its loose inspiration: a Japanese short story from the 1930s also called Kaze Tachinu, and the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the World War II-era aircraft designer. Horikoshi worked on the feared Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter used by the Japanese air force in the assault on Pearl Harbor, but, rather than glorifying war, The Wind Rises marks a return to Miyazaki's long-held love affair with flight. In an interview with the Asahi Shimbun, the celebrated animator talks about Horikoshi's "extraordinary genius" and his desire to "snatch back" the designer's legacy from patriotic Zero enthusiasts. Japan went to war out of "foolish arrogance," he says, but the Zero "represented one of the few things that we Japanese could be proud of."