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AnimatorsFeature Film

Hayao Miyazaki Fails At Retirement Again—Plans to Make Another Feature Film

The legendary Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki, who has produced his country’s top-three-grossing homegrown films of all-time—Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Princess Mononoke—wants to un-retire and make another feature film.

Miyazaki’s retirement from feature animation is a bit of a running gag; he has often announced retirement after completing a film. In September 2013, he made a formal announcement at a press conference attended by over 600 journalists. Still, even with that event’s sense of finality, many didn’t actually believe Miyazaki was finished with feature films—and they may have been right.

The news of Miyazaki’s pending return to feature film was the subject of an entire NHK TV special that aired in Japan on Sunday: Owaranai Hito Miyazaki Hayao (The Man Who Is Not Done: Hayao Miyazaki). In the show, Miyazaki not only discussed his current project—a 12-minute CG animated short Kemushi no Boro (Boro the Caterpillar) that will debut at the Ghibli Museum in 2017—but floated plans for a follow-up feature film.

Miyazaki, who turns 76 years old in January, pitched the project to Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki in August, and believes he can have it finished by 2020, if not earlier. He is already preparing storyboards for the film. The studio hasn’t officially committed to the project, but it’s hard to imagine Studio Ghibli will fail to accommodate Miyazaki, considering that he’s one of the owners.

Miyazaki’s last feature film, The Wind Rises, was 2013’s highest-grossing film in Japan, won the Japan Academy Prizes’s Animation of the Year, and was nominated for an Academy Award for best animated feature.

(h/t, Anime News Network)

  • Memorian

    I’m honestly not surprised at all by this. He seems like the type that couldn’t stay away because even though he retired 3 yrs ago from making feature films that hasn’t stopped him from continuously working on animated shorts. It was only a matter of time. He strikes me as the type that will draw and animate until he draws his last breath.

    I already see a lot of places saying he’s stepping out of retirement for his final film though, nothing is set in stone yet. This project hasn’t even been greenlit. People need to not get too hype.

    • AmidAmidi

      Studio Ghibli has always been, among other things, very savvy at pr. When they commit to a TV special called The Man Who Is Not Done, that’s a fairly clear sign that they’re planning something.

  • Ghibli Fan

    (sorry, I know this doesn’t add terribly much to the conversation, but I am very excited by this news. Nor am I surprised.)

  • Johnny Marques

    The first time Miyazaki “retired” I was still in high school and luckily was able to catch Princess Mononoke in theaters. It may be a marketing ploy no one believes in anymore, but it’s also a rather endearing example of a man who can’t put down his craft or keep from exploring new ideas, even against his better judgement or his advancing years.

  • Chicken McPhee

    I suspect retirement gets boring for someone whose mind cannot stop. He loves doing it. He should just do it at his pace and enjoy the fruits of his labor. People don’t mind waiting and he’s earned just about any leeway.

  • I took his retirement at face value as I’ve only really paid attention to Ghibli since Spirited Away and wasn’t familiar with his previous claims to retire outside of people mentioning it in relation to the latest claim. It seemed legit, he’s achieved so much, he’s not getting any younger, and The Wind Rises (while far from being my favourite film of his) seemed so intensely personal, such a stripped down version of themes and images he’s played with his entire career, that it appeared to be a well-calculated grace note. I’m glad he’s not done.

  • Just shut up and take my money!

  • Mister Twister

    Hayao Miyazaki is like Don Bluth in this respect: having realized you can make animation as long as you are not dead, better work than wait for yourself to kick the bucket.

  • Ga5ton

    Oh my god this is great! I was really bumed when he announced his retirement (it’s only now that i find out he’s done that before) but now i’m so happy i still have the possibility to watch one of his films on a theater, since i could watch the previous ones only on dvd because either i haven’t heard about them up to that point years ago or because things like this rarely are shown in cinemas where i live. Anyway, i couldn’t be more happy and i’m really looking forward for his work!

  • Inkan1969

    And here I thought Studio Ghibli had stopped making feature films period. I’m glad to hear the news about a new Miyazaki movie.

    BTW: Hasn’t Miyazaki worked on “Boro” for many many years?

    • Ghibli Fan

      Miyazaki originally proposed Boro as a feature film alongside Princess Mononoke, but decided to work on the latter instead. The idea has been around for a long time, but it hasn’t been in production.

  • Escher

    I’m so happy! I’m so excited to hear this! I mean, I didn’t think he’d be able to really stop (this seems to be the year of people coming out of hiatus– I’m looking at you, Utada Hikaru) but it’s so nice seeing that he wants to make another feature film! I can’t wait ahhhh

  • He won’t stop with ideas. That gives me hope for me as a writer for animated films.

  • AmidAmidi

    Actually, Ghibli has stopped making films. Their last film was Marnie, which came out two-and-a-half years ago. Red Turtle was made in Europe, and while Ghibli was involved as a co-production partner, they didn’t actually make the film.

    • KW

      I figured the two years since Marnie was just time in pre/production on whatever was coming next

  • HalSolo

    Miyazaki fails at retirement and succeeds at life.

  • Sant

    Is the documentary available online somewhere?

  • AMEN !

  • Inkan1969

    The reports were that “When Marnie Was There” would be Ghibli’s last feature length film they would do on their own. “Red Turtle” was a co-production.

  • Mister Twister

    So true: one is JAPANESE, and the other is NOT. It’s an important difference.

  • Pedro

    Great news! Now, somebody who’s probably not so thrilled: Mrs. Miyazaki

  • ViscerART

    As a really interested fan and admirer, and as an artist that have Ghibli as one of my main influences, its like being told that the Da Vinci of 2d Animation is coming back to work in a new painting. I am working in a personal project at the same time than him, as well, so it’s even more exciting! Love the news.

  • trustno173 .

    I guess he couldn’t let The Wind Rises be the way he went out. Sorry but I just found that movie to be his only bad work, boring and slow as hell with some pretty messed up morals.