outline/ project ideas MES 160
The name of the full feature film, short or TV series that you will be focusing on (it does NOT have to be a piece we discussed in class).
Why are you drawn to this film/show – because of its story? technique? aesthetic? political context? etc.)
An outline of elements you will be researching/analyzing/presenting (this can be done in the form of a list or in a paragraph).
Name: The Wind Rises
Drawn to this film: Story and political context mainly – interesting, captivating, and an accurate portrayal of the Meiji era. Was drawn by technique as well (of course, it was made by studio Ghibli which always creates impressive feats of all 2D animation) although I do feel in a way that the animation technique in this film was weak in comparison to some of Studio Ghibli’s other films such as Ponyo.
There was also an underlying “aesthetic” of: wind (the French quote that translates to English as “The wind is rising. We must try to live” makes a common reoccurrence throughout the film so we see that it is an obvious push for symbolism), and planes (the main character always sees planes in the sky whenever he looks at it; even more heavily portrayed than the French quote).
(In fact, one thing I want to say about the symbolism of planes in the sky: The film had a very sad ending, and perhaps because the main character was always thinking about planes and in actuality nothing else seemed more important. The fact the main character always sees imaginary planes in the sky, distracting himself from any current situation, shows that underneath everything, his mind is actually far, far away, fixated on a dream that he can’t let go of and a horizon that only he can see and that he is constantly chasing. At a first glance, this dedication to a dream that is so special seems endearing and inspiring, but towards the end of the movie I found myself actually being able to view these constant visions of planes in a negative context and with slight disgust and disdain for the main character constantly seeing them as he prioritized that over everything and everyone else around him – including his own wife, which he even “unofficially” married in his own home because she found out she had not many days left to life (she had tuberculosis).
1. Meiji Era
2. Japanese planes/advancement of Japanese planes in the period between WWI and WWII
3. German planes in the period between WWI and WWII
4. Tuberculosis during that time period (1931-ish) and sanitariums
5. Japanese marriage ceremonies
6. Italian planes and Italian plane designers at the time
7. See if any of the people in the animation were based on real people
8. Check the French quote (see if it’s real)
9. Research political views at the time to talk about see/ Japan’s lag in technological advancement (especially in the realm of aeronautics/aviation)
10. Hayao Miyazaki’s/Studio Ghibli’s other works; make comparisons between art style and story
11. Go back and research units in class; re-visit world war era animations as well as when we began learning about Japanese cartoons; reference the Japanese cartoons that tried to take Western elements to become popular overseas as well (ex. “Astro Boy”); compare the Western elements of some FURNITURE, ARCHITECTURE, CLOTHES, things we see emerging in Japan in the Meiji era, how much of it was a realistic depiction that was necessary simply because of the time period, was such a subject picked in order to bring familiarity and interest to Western audiences, etc.; main character’s trip to Germany – how it relates to that sort of thing with featuring other countries and more familiar things and whatnot
12. Research the animation techniques specifically for this movie; I know it was only 2D frame-by-frame – no CGI –, but if I recall even a little bit correctly, Studio Ghibli puts a big emphasis on staying traditional even while beginning to enter the era of digital animation software – this movie released 2013, digital animation WAS becoming a thing – and I think that the keyframes of Studio Ghibli’s work are traced from paper drawings in some way that have been scanned, but I’m not sure. I have to research it. The animation itself almost looks like it WAS drawn on cels.
13. Various objects from the movie that are sort of small and obscure but could of course always be brought up (need to research):
a. Slide ruler
b. Mackerel bone
c. Various parts of plane (spars, ribs, strutting, ENGINE, etc.)
d. Cars at the time
e. Cigarettes at the time and their existence in Japan
f. RAILROADS at the time; actually a HUGE thing to research
g. Tokyo’s appearance at the time – is the movie faithful to it? Is it faithful from the evolution from the early Meiji period to the 1930s?
h. The SPECIFIC planes that were built; were the planes that were invented in the movie really planes that existed at some point?