I’ve been a fan of Miyazaki’s work ever since I saw a butchered version of Nausicaa in school as a kid. I rediscovered the movie as an adult, and then the rest of his work. I’m excited to see his most recent film The Wind Rises, but apparently a lot of Miyazaki’s fellow Japanese aren’t as enthusiastic.
Miyazaki said this about the film:
My wife and staff would ask me, ‘Why make a story about a man who made weapons of war? And I thought they were right. But one day, I heard that Horikoshi [designer of the WWII fighter named the Zero] had once murmured, ‘All I wanted to do was to make something beautiful.’ And then I knew I’d found my subject… Horikoshi was the most gifted man of his time in Japan. He wasn’t thinking about weapons… Really all he desired was to make exquisite planes.
That’s why the film is unpopular with some: it casts Japanese history in a negative light as the beautiful dreams of Horikoshi are warped by militarism. Which, you know, is exactly why I’m so excited to see it. It’s good to have the right enemies, I suppose.