The Wind Rises, And Pigs Can Fly

So, it's time for a culture episode! This one is about incredible, ridiculous early aircraft design, and it's about two exceptionally beautiful Studio Ghibli films that deal with those wondrous designs, The Wind Rises, and Porco Rosso. They're both set in the interwar period, and they're both about flying, but only one has a flying pig. I'll leave you to guess which. Oh, and this isn't a review, go ahead and listen whether you've seen the films or not!

Yes, this isn't a review, it's more of a discussion, and you don't need to have seen either film to enjoy the show. When Studio Ghibli released The Wind Rises in 2013, the response was universal praise, except from people who thought that Japanese weapons manufacturers aren't a good topic of a positive, glowing biography. Some people thought that maybe making warplanes for Imperial Japan isn't a good life choice, and doesn't merit the attention of a studio more usually associated with forest spirits and magic castles. Spoiler alert, those people are wrong. But why? Why is it ok to make a beautiful (heart-stoppingly beautiful, actually) film about the designer of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, in a way we probably wouldn't about someone who made machine guns for the Nazis, or some other death machine for a totalitarian regime? The answer includes the beauty of flight, the wonders of human achievement, and the aforementioned flying pig.

If you don't know the films, or the aircraft, there are pictures up on @evoneverything on Twitter, so you know what I'm on about as you listen. Check them out, you have to see some of these airplanes to believe them!

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Ev Buckley