I was hooked on Ghibli a few months ago and now have all the collection. It is the rolls royce of animation. I love the way that girls and women feature in all his work. More often than not they are the heroines of the movie but even when not Miyazaki is at pains to show that nothing is beyond their capabilities. In this film the genius aero engineer is Fio, a young and beautiful woman who is building her first plane from scratch....and as the italian men have all disappeared, recruited into the army, it is the village women who actually build the plane. The other loves of Miyazaki have got to be: cats, wildlife and the environment, planes and trains.
I will have to be patient until the next Ghibli comes out (Ponyo)