File this one under “Inevitable Things That Are Nevertheless Really Great and Exciting.” After close to five years of relative dormancy, it looks like Studio Ghibli will once again be producing in-house feature-length animated films. And what’s more, arguably the most famous and beloved living Japanese director will be coming out of retirement to do it! That’s right, Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki will be ending yet another self-imposed retirement to helm a brand new feature length film, according to Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki at a pre-Oscars interview with Pixar director Pete Docter in Los Angeles. The Ghibli co-produced The Red Turtle has been nominated for a Best Animated Feature award at this year’s Oscars. We first heard the news from Little White Lies.
The project will evidently be a CG animated film, something the 76-year-old Miyazaki has never done, and will be a development of a short film idea Miyazaki had been working on called Boro the Caterpillar, which was only to be shown at the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo. So that’s definitely a good thing; it was pretty unlikely a lot of us were going to get the opportunity to make the pilgrimage to Japan to see a short film, but a feature film sure would make it to North America. That said, it seems like a strange development for the man who is staunchly anti-computer animation, and who even said at the end of 2016 that AI-based CG animation programs are “an insult to life itself.”
But Miyazaki is a complex and interesting man, who has been poised to retire for years, each time resulting in an eventual return. The first was following 1997’s Princess Mononoke, the second after 2001’s Spirited Away, and then finally–the one many thought would stick–following his 2013 elegy The Wind Rises. If anyone watched the brilliant documentary, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, which details the production of the most recent film, you’d know what a long and arduous process it was for Miyazaki, and it would make sense for him to want a break…but you can’t keep a creative type down!
Naturally, we’ll keep you abreast of the development of this project, but in the meantime, are you excited to have at least one more Hayao Miyazaki movie on the horizon? Did you think he was totally gonna retire for good? Let us know in the comments below!
Images: Toho / Studio Ghibli