After announcing his retirement from filmmaking back in 2013, acclaimed animator/director Hayao Miyazaki will be returning to the director’s chair for (at least) one final film. The 75-year-old Oscar-winner plans to tackle his first and likely last computer generated-animation feature before retiring in earnest … or at least until he gets bored and returns for another film. (He’s done the retire-and-return thing a number of times already, having taken a break after 1997’s Princess Mononoke only to direct 2001’s Spirited Away and 2004’s Howl’s Moving Castle during his semi-retirement.)
THR reports that Miyazaki confirmed his plans for another feature film during his appearance on Owaranai Hito Miyazaki Hayao, which translates as Hayao Miyazaki – The Man Who Isn’t Finished, on Japan’s public broadcaster NHK. Miyazaki had been working on a computer generated-animated short titled Boro the Caterpillar (Kemushi no Boro) to show at Tokyo’s Studio Ghibli museum, but it seems as if the visionary won’t be happy unless the story gets a full feature treatment.
Studio Ghibli boss Toshio Suzuki, who has produced a number of Miyazaki’s biggest hits, spoke about the director’s struggles in mastering CG animation techniques after a lifetime spent hand-drawing his films. The master of hand-drawn animated Japanese films typically took up to five years per production, though the aid of computer-generated technology could conceivably speed that process up if Miyazaki is able to master it.
In a bit of a morbid but practical take on things, Miyazaki himself said he was “ready to die” while working on the project. Suzuki followed by saying, “Ghibli will carry on as long as Miyazaki continues to make films.” Let’s hope the director and the studio he co-founded will continue to make films for years to come.