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Here’s the very first footage from the new Hayao Miyazaki film, The Wind Rises. The movie, which hits screens in Japan in a few weeks, is Miyazaki’s most realistic to date. It tells the story of Jiro Horikoshi, the engineer who designed the Zero Fighter used by Japan in World War II. Or, the film is at least based on his story; as you’ll see in the footage, there’s an element of fantasy on display.

The teaser below isn’t very long, but it features enough footage to show off just how gorgeous the animation may be. That, in turn, should be enough to make animation fans happy that Miyazaki continues to direct, no matter the pace he sets for himself.

Early trailer presentations in Japan can be a bit unsatisfying, as they’re like Entertainment Tonight reels with even more graphics and noise. This one at least has no talking heads over the footage, and the graphics don’t completely cover the lovely images.

The Wind Rises features the voices of Hideaki Anno, Miori Takimoto, Steven Alpert, Morio Kazama, Keiko Takeshita, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Mirai Shida, Mansai Nomura and Masahiko Nishimura. It opens on July 20 in Japan; we don’t have a US date yet.

(Since the Zero was used in the attack on Pearl Harbor, I wonder if we can look forward to comments about a kids film — because this is animated — making a hero out of the guy who created the fighter. That’ll be fun to watch when the film does eventually hit the US.)

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