Recently turning 79, Hayao Miyazaki came out of “retirement” yet again to work on another Studio Ghibli animation. The project, titled Kimi-tachi wa Dō Ikiru ka (which translates to How Do You Live?), follows a 15-year-old boy named Koperu and his uncle, who move to a new neighborhood, as the kid deals with bullying, poverty, education, work, courage, and progress. Originally eying a 2020 release, the morsels of information we’ve received thus far indicate the studio is taking their precious time in hand-crafting the film.
“We are still hand-drawing everything, but it takes us more time to complete a film because we’re drawing more frames,” producer Toshio Suzuki tells EW regarding the “big, fantastical” film. “So, there are more drawings to draw than before. Back when we were making [1988’s] My Neighbor Totoro, we only had eight animators. Totoro we made in eight months. [For] the current film that Hayao Miyazaki is working on, we have 60 animators, but we are only able to come up with one minute of animation in a month. That means 12 months a year, you get 12 minutes worth of movie. Actually, we’ve been working on this film for three years, so that means we have 36 minutes completed so far. We’re hoping it will finish in the next three years.”
Suzuki also revealed it will be Ghibli’s biggest production yet in terms of budget as he reflected on the approach. “Many directors make films on and on and on throughout their careers as they grow older. When Miyazaki came back and said that I want to make a film again, I actually said that’s not a great idea because he’s achieved so much already. You can’t come back and do something that you’ve already done in the past, you have to do something different. One of the ideas that came out from that was, why not spend more time and spend more money [to make a film]? So, that’s one of the new approaches.”
As we await the hopeful 2023 release of Miyazaki’s next film, Suzuki also confirmed the other project they are working on is Goro Miyazaki’s first film since 2011’s From Up on Poppy Hill, a CG project based on a story from England “about a very wise girl.” Unfortunately, there are no additional details about that film, but one can bask in the greatness of the studio’s back catalog much more easily very soon as the Studio Ghibli library will land on HBO Max when it launches later this month.