Miyazaki Dreams of Flying


Zach Prewitt


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Hayao Miyazaki’s love of flight and flying machines is no secret to even a casual admirer of his work. Nearly all of his feature films contain at least one breathtaking flight sequence, and viewers can see his reverence for the sky grow more fervent as they progress through his filmography. The culmination of this passion was The Wind Rises (2013), Miyazaki’s most recent film and a bittersweet, probing love letter to one of his idols, aviation engineer Jiro Horikoshi. What might be more surprising is just how long flight has been a part of Miyazaki’s life. His father was the director of Miyazaki Airplane, which made rudders for A6M Zero fighter planes during World War II. The Zero was designed by Horikoshi, who, like Miyazaki, was a pacifist. It’s fascinating to see the dichotomy of Miyazaki’s lifelong passion in his films. Giant, brutish warplanes fly alongside elegant self-propelled gliders; a winged wizard plunges into a hellish battle with flying fire demons. Miyazaki is pitting the sacred against the profane, in the hopes that the purity and freedom of flight wins out against the cold and rigid march of industry.