Nobody was more surprised than I was that legendary Studio Ghibli co-founder and international master of animation, Hayao Miyazaki, came out of retirement to work on a new feature film. True, he’d toyed with retiring before, once following 1997’s Princess Mononoke, and again following his Oscar-winning 2001 film, Spirited Away. But everything about his most recent retirement, following the release of 2013’s The Wind Rises, felt very permanent, from that movie’s wistful look at saying goodbye to your art to all the press conferences Miyazaki gave. But lo and behold, he’s back at it, and a recent interview with his producer Toshio Suzuki explains why.
If you don’t read Japanese, the interview was reprinted by Kotaku in English, and explains that, though Miyazaki had originally felt he had nothing left to say in features, and that trying to make one would feel like the work of an out-of-touch old man, it was because of a decidedly young person that he got back to work.
“[Miyazaki] said, ‘I’m making it for my grandson,'” Suzuki explained. The producer also added that Miyazaki said that his grandson might say something like, “Grandpa passed into the next world, but he left this work.” Suzuki must have realized that this explanation isn’t the most elaborate or profound of reasons, so he continued, “No doubt Ghibli fans are looking at the TV, blurting, ‘Hey! Wait a second. That’s the reason?!'”
That is, evidently, the explanation, though Ghibli is being very slow to officially announce the new Miyazaki project, which will evidently be a CG feature version of a short he was working on called Boro the Caterpillar. Even though there’s a whole documentary about the director’s desire to make a feature, it looks like it’s not close to being released.
Look, we’re here for a Hayao Miyazaki movie, however long it takes. We just don’t hope it’s not TOO too long. For our sake and for his grandson’s.
Image: Toho/GKIDS/Studio Canal