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Say It Ain’t Sayonara, Miyazaki

Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki, 72, has retired, say reports from the Venice Film Festival. The announcement was made by Koji Hoshino, the president of Studio Ghibli. “Miyazaki has decided that Kaze Tachinu will be his last film and he will now retire,” Hoshino said.

As industry observers know, this is not the first time that Miyazaki or someone from his camp has announced his retirement. We posed the question on Twitter, and most people seem to think that Miyazaki has announced his retirement at least three times.

Hoshino promised that more details would be revealed at a press conference next week in Tokyo.

  • Danny

    I’m not at all surprised that he’s retiring. He had a good run, and his filmography will be cherished forever. I just wonder who at Studio Ghibli will take up the mantle. They’ve been having trouble finding new talent, especially after Mamoru Hosoda (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, The Wolf Children) left.

    The anime industry is a grimmer place without him. The few exceptional directors remaining struggle to find work since their works are rarely successful in Japan (Japan makes very little profit from international hits).

  • Daniel

    This makes me really want to see the documentary about Miyazaki now. Is that out already? If not, any more news on when it will be available?

  • Jeff

    I’m fine with this. Let ‘im go on a high note.

  • Dana B

    End of an era. The animation world just got a little quieter…
    I do hope we’ll continue to see more great films from Ghibli in the future, that there’ll still be more great stories and beautiful animation despite Miyazaki’s departure.
    Anyone who is anyone, whether a anime fan or not, should watch a Ghibli film at least once in their life. It doesn’t even need to be Mononoke or Spirited Away, any work from the studio will awe-inspire those who witness them.
    Best of luck to Mr. Miyazaki with his retirement and future endeavors. His work will be anything but forgotten.

  • Keen Bean

    I’m sure if he does retire he’ll probably come out with a little short here and there

  • SarahJesness

    I refuse to accept this news.

  • z-k

    Given the flak he received with his last film – not patriotic enough; too patriotic; too many depictions of *smoking* – it’s not at all surprising. Who’d want to create in an atmosphere where the press or audience is desperately looking for an Emmanuel Goldstein in every corner of the film. Art tends to die in the presence of a Central Committee.

    • TheGreatWormSpirit

      The general audience doesn’t seem to care about any of that stuff. They’ve kept the film at #1 for weeks.

      • z-k

        Which is great. But keep in mind this is Japan, where controversy or causing bad press is probably not the marketing tool that it is here, and is still presumably a big verboten on both the personal and professional level.

        As far as I can tell, the relationship between celebrity and the audience has its differences there, where a due amount of respect and even reverence is given to someone of his record, and an amount of gratitude given by the celeb in kind towards an audience that allows him to do his work. Besides the success of the film financially, someone of his stature, having criticisms like the above leveled at him after having plied his craft for how many decades there, and over a film which was apparently very close to him, I’d imagine is more akin to a personal insult. I’d figure celebrity tear-downs aren’t a thing to be taken as lightly there.

        It’s also noticeable that now, after all these years of Japanese animation having touched on every imaginable subject, both high and low brow, that the level of domestic criticisms this film garnered (“Yes, too many cigarettes you see”) seem suspiciously close to the kind of PC guilt tripping that goes on in the West every time a fashionable shibbolet is either broken or isn’t met, be it entertainment or politics. Is an ironic form of added insult to injury, considering his crime at home seems to have been trying to discuss something that most won’t find outside of books written about Nanjing or Bataan – namely Japan’s responsibility for WWII.

        Personally, I take his announcement as a two finger salute to the press and critics while he’s on a high note. Good on him for it.

        • Barny Millet

          The difference with Miyazaki is that he doesn’t care about that sort of criticism and isn’t forced to change his personal point of view artistically, because he runs the studio.

          He’s been controversial and outspoken in Japan for many years.

          • z-k

            I’ll admit that I haven’t read Starting Point. Does he mention or discuss that somewhere in the book.

  • Hoganilly

    Enjoy your retirement years, sir! Thanks for the wonderful work. I know you enjoy beer, so I’ll raise a glass to you tonight.

  • Roberto Severino

    Very bittersweet about this, but I’m also glad that he’s retiring at the height of his life. His films had a big impact on me when I was much younger.

  • William Bradford

    I think it had to happen sooner or later: and god knows he had a good run. His work and his film will never die, and nothing can take away from that. I Hope Ghibli keeps going and, even if new directors never manage to measure up to him, they don’t stop trying :)

  • anakinbrego

    Now is the time to say 2D animation is offically dead!

  • Trill

    If that’s true, too bad. His work is some of the few anime that actually stands out.

  • Doz Hewson

    To paraphrase the lyrics of an old PURE FUNK song:
    “Let him be/Let him have his privacy/
    Let him be”

  • Anne

    I think that by now he simply announces retirement after every film so he won’t be asked about when he’ll be making another one. If he’d want to direct a film again, he’ll do it – just like the last few times he retired.

  • I guess Goro Miyazaki has to carry on Miyazaki legacy at the studio now. um…No pressure.

  • The LA Times article says that he’s retiring from making feature films. He’s had a long run, but I do hope that he continues to be apart of the creative vision behind the films as an adviser or some role of that kind.

  • Mewzilla

    He’s a creative person, he will at least create stories and maybe short films out of them. Maybe he just needs to rest a bit from the stress that the studio couses.

  • Pazu

    I think it is one of those wait and see things. He has announced his retirement several times before plus he also has many other options including shorts or producing manga again, like he did with Nausicaa. I think he had an extraordinary run of films in the 80s and 90s but I thought “Howls’ Moving Castle” and “Ponyo” were disappointing in comparison to his other work. Previously an almost exploratory approach to story development, sometimes during actual production, had a more solid emotional resonance, such as with “Porco Rosso”, these later films appeared beautifully produced but felt much emptier.

    Goro’s films have been dreadful, which is probably what happens when you promote a professional Garden Designer to Director of a major animated feature with no prior experience.

  • RetireInPeace

    Good for him. He has done a lot for the art form and deserves to relax now. Maybe it will force new innovators to step up.

  • Sam

    Good for him at 72 I’m not sure I’d want to keep working at his schedule, thanks for the experiences Miyazaki.

  • Kai Alexander

    Miyazaki, Please one more movie….I watch your movies since I was little.

  • LiveALot

    The son is good but he is not the equal of his father. Disney wants to buy Ghibli and Goro will be a lot easier to control than Hayao. You arrogant young people always think you are better than the old. The irony of it is you yourselves will be old in time. H Miyazaki has a unique talent and a few more good films in him. I would hate to see the world deprived of his films solely to suit the corporate greed of Disney. We would have been alot better off if Pixar had remained independent of Disney. Imagine what great films could have come out of Pixar without Disney telling them what to do. H Miyazaki if you want to see your son become great then give him some competition to force him to reach for the stars. But don’t be surprised when Disney pulls the plug on him. Then at least Goro will have a studio to go to and there will once again be a significant Japanese independent voice in Animation.