Anchor Staff Writer
Fantastical worlds running rampant with warlocks wielding magic, mischievous forest spirits and ghosts have been brought to life by the genius Studio Ghibli via beautiful storytelling and artistry. Founder and director Hayao Miyazaki’s newest film, “How Do You Live?” is rumored to be the last in the franchise’s collection of incredible works as Miyazaki welcomes a well-deserved retirement.
Founded by Miyazaki in 1985, the Japanese film production company has reigned popular across the world for a collection of stunning movies. Each proves to be a world of its own, crafted by a team of dedicated artists who seek to share whimsy with the world. Miyazaki, now 82, has served as the mastermind behind the curtain for more than three decades and has contributed greatly to the film industry ever since.
One of the studio’s most popular and greatly celebrated works is the 2001 release, “Spirited Away.” An Oscar-award winner for Best Animated Feature in 2003, the film has remained as the only hand-drawn feature to claim the honorable title. Widely regarded as Miyazaki’s magnum opus and one of the greatest films of all time, “Spirited Away” has been a lasting fan favorite. A coming of age tale about a young hero seeking to free her parents from the spirit world and reclaim her identity from an evil witch, the animated feature conveys a brilliant story with the help of intricately drawn illustrations.
Miyazaki is renowned amongst fans for not being able to stay away from his work for too long. Having announced his retirement in the late 1990s, and twice since 2002, the director has repeatedly returned to share another one of his stories with the world. However, “How Do You Live?” is yet again his final film to be released before retirement.
Based on a 1937 novel by Japanese author, Genzaburo Yoshino, “How Do You Live?” has been described to portray the struggles of growing older. The book followed 15-year-old Junichi Honda, nicknamed “Koperu,” and his friends as they traverse high school during the Second World War.
Studio Ghibli’s film adaptation is set to release in theaters across Japan on July 14th. A North American release date has not yet been made public.
No one can be certain if “How Do You Live?” will be Miyazaki’s final project, but fans are prepared to honor it as if it is his last. There are no plans for Studio Ghibli to continue to produce following Miyazaki’s retirement as without him, the production company would lose the spark that has fueled each incredible film.
If you have yet to see a Studio Ghibli feature, I cannot recommend any greater portrayal of animated art. Every film produced by Miyazaki and his team has been an epic tale from beginning to end, as I expect this newest film will be too. I will be eagerly awaiting its release as every Miyazaki release is a new and fantastical world that can only be dove into head first.