12. The Wind Rises
From conception, The Wind Rises was a challenging film—how do you tell the story of the man who designed a fighter essential to Japan’s WWII efforts, and show him as a patriot and dreamer without excluding the crimes of the nation, or making a film that goes against Miyazaki’s anti-war values? It’s difficult to say if he succeeds, but the film itself is beautifully crafted. The supporting characters here are less important than in other works, so it’s vital that the audience admires Jiro Horikoshi, and we do—his character and positivity make him easy to root for, and dream sequences in the film both flesh out his thought process and keep us captivated. Once believed to be Miyazaki’s last film, if it had been, The Wind Rises would have been worthy of that designation.