Hayao Miyazaki’s fans can’t complain. In recent years, the anime maestro’s worldview and working methods have been pored over in two intimate behind-the-scenes features: The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness and Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki. And now the never-ending documentary subject has been given another outing, in the form of 10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki. The four-part miniseries was filmed for Japan’s public broadcaster NHK, which has made the episodes available to view on its website.
Like Never-Ending Man, this documentary was directed by Kaku Arakawa, who has intimately chronicled Miyazaki’s life since 2005. Confusingly, it actually precedes the feature in chronological terms. Whereas Never-Ending Man tracked the director’s career from his short-lived retirement in 2013 to the germination of his forthcoming feature How Do You Live?, this series covers the decade running up to 2013.
It is set during the making of Ponyo and The Wind Rises, Miyazaki’s last two completed features. We see him at work in his private studio and at Studio Ghibli, and relaxing at home — insofar as he’s capable of relaxation. Those familiar with his habits won’t be surprised by scenes in which he criticizes his colleagues, gripes about his old age, or bemoans the state of contemporary society. Even so, the series is packed with quirky vignettes that will delight both newcomers and the Ghibli faithful. Who knew Miyazaki worked to Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries?