Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Controversial Miyazaki

I would look forward to any new film directed by Miyazaki, but I'm especially curious about The Wind Rises.  It's about Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of the Zero, the Japanese fighter plane that was used extensively in World War II.  The subject matter is far from films like Totoro and very far from North American animated features in theatres this summer.

What's also interesting is that the film is politically controversial in Japan (this article is now behind a login and password.  Using, I got in using a login of what@yourmom.dom and a password of updude).  Miyazaki has written that that it was "a truly stupid war," which has angered Japanese nationalists who want to change Japan's constitution to allow for military aggression.

I'm wondering what company, if any, will pick up distribution for North America.  A Disney too afraid to release Song of the South hardly seems a candidate.  While Gkids has released Ghibli films, this subject matter is not aimed at their usual audience.  Perhaps some other indie distributor will pick up the film.  As there is a dearth of animated features specifically aimed at adults, I hope someone does.

Needless to say, I won't be holding my breath waiting for a North American animated feature that tackles Viet Nam, Iraq, drone warfare or the national security state.  While I can point to live action features that have questioned government policy or the official interpretation of history, North American animation is too timid.  Mustn't upset the kiddies.

(link via The Comics Reporter)


Chris Sobieniak said...

If only we had films like that here.

I only hope GKIDS would pick it up anyway if they figure they know the audience well for it. I want them to be the Janus/Criterion of animation personally.

Unknown said...

I'm definitely watching this. Animation as a medium has so many possibilities that for some reason aren't taken full advantage of in this country. I'm kind of tired of seeing the same old kiddie films and having so many people be complacent with that kind of stuff when we could obviously do way better, challenging stuff.

GW said...

I'm not too cynical. I think that GKids will release it. There really isn't any controversy about somebody releasing a film who thought that the war was a mistake. If Japanese nationalists made a film that supported the war it would be immensely controversial but this film's controversy should be in Japan, not the US.

Chris Sobieniak said...

Notice this podcast made the comment that Americans might find it hard to watch the fim based o it's historic fact alone.