Arts & Entertainment Editor
Studio Ghibli’s co-founder and famed director Hayao Miyazaki has shown no signs of slowing down despite his rumored retirement. Fans are hopeful for his return after what was supposed to be his final film, “The Boy and the Heron,” airs in North America this December.
The Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli is known for its fantastical world building, intricate art style and unique storytelling. The studio is home to a plethora of talented directors that have contributed not only to the franchise’s success, but to the vast community of those just as passionate about animation. However, Miyazaki seems to stand apart from his colleagues for his unfathomable dedication.
Miyazaki and fellow director Isao Takahata co-founded Studio Ghibli in 1985. Fans are often not as familiar with Takahata’s work, but the talented director is responsible for the outstanding “Grave of the Fireflies” and “The Tale of Princess Kaguya,” his first and final films for the studio respectively. After years of creative contributions to the franchise, Takahata retired in 2013. Miyazaki followed suit and also announced his retirement, making “The Wind Rises” supposedly his tenth and final film.
Longtime Studio Ghibli fans know that this was not Miyazaki’s first attempt at retirement. The director announced his plans to retire in 1997 following the release of “Princess Mononoke” and again in 2001 after the debut of “Spirited Away.” It is apparent that Miyazaki cannot stay away from his life’s work, and his colleagues aren’t surprised.
It seemed Studio Ghibli was entering a new era without its founders until 2017 when Miyazaki announced his latest project, “The Boy and the Heron.” The film rejuvenated fans who thought that they had seen the last of Miyazaki’s works.
Studio Ghibli executive Junichi Nishioka recently told CBC news, “other people say that [‘The Boy and the Heron’] might be [Miyazaki’s] last film, but he doesn’t feel that way at all… He is currently working on ideas for a new film. He comes into the office every day and does that.” Nishioka also confirmed that Miyazaki will not be announcing his retirement and doesn’t have plans to do so any time soon. At least Miyazaki seems to have realized this is a promise he can’t keep.
To celebrate Miyazaki’s lasting commitment to Studio Ghibli, catch another one of the studio’s award-winning films during Studio Ghibli Fest at a theater near you this fall. Keep a look out for the release of “The Boy and the Heron,” set to play in North America on Dec. 8.