What was thought to be his swan song, 2013’s The Wind Rises, was the perfect send-off for director Hayao Miyazaki: a stunningly detailed, bold, haunting, and personal animation that we named one of the best of the century thus far. In the years since, Studio Ghibli’s output has slowed down, with the company most recently co-producing the forthcoming The Red Turtle while Miyazaki himself has been enjoying “retirement” working on a short film. The future of animation is now a whole lot brighter as the director has announced he’s stepping back into the world of features.
On the Japanese channel NHK this weekend, they aired a special titled Owaranai Hito Miyazaki Hayao (translated to The Man Who Is Not Done: Hayao Miyazaki) and, if you couldn’t guess from the title, the animator has grand ambitions ahead. According to Anime News Network, in the special, it was revealed that this aforementioned short he’s making for the Ghibli Museum hasn’t “satisfied” him enough and this past August he presented a proposal for a new feature-length film. Presumably the proposal was to Ghibli, but they have yet to officially green-light (although, it may be the easiest one ever once they decide to).
Although no plot details have been revealed yet, Miyazaki foresees it taking up to five years to finish the film, with his biggest dreams being that it’s finished earlier than that 2021 date — specifically in 2019, before Tokyo hosts the Olympics in 2020. As he awaits a greenlight from Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki already plans to create storyboards for around 100 shots for the feature film.
Before the 75-year-old animator completes this new feature, his 12-minute short, Kemushi no Boro (aka Boro the Caterpillar) will be finished around this time next year, and it’ll only be available to see at the Ghibli Museum for the time being. Hopefully Ghibli soon gives the go-ahead on Miyazaki’s feature-length project and we’ll get more details on his plans. Despite this not being the first time he’s come out of retirement, for now, it’s nice to know the world’s greatest living animator isn’t ready to hang up his hat quite yet.
Check out a recent video about the cinematic references in the films of Miyazaki: