Animator Hayao Miyazaki has tried to retire a total of four times to date, and it seems that his most recent attempt may be as successful as those that came before it. While promoting Miyazaki’s newest movie “The Boy and the Heron” at the Toronto International Film Festival, Studio Ghibli’s Junichi Nishioka told reporters, “Other people say that this might be his last film, but he doesn’t feel that way at all.”
Nishioka added, “He is currently working on ideas for a new film. He comes into his office every day and does that. This time, he’s not going to announce his retirement at all. He’s continuing working just as he has always done.”
Miyazaki first announced his intention to retire back in 1997 following the release of “Princess Mononoke.” Those plans fell through, and the animator didn’t bring up the possibility again until 2001, after “Spirited Away” came out. But again, he went right back to work, lasting all the way until 2013 when “The Wind Rises” was released.
At the time, Miyazaki insisted that he could no longer work in feature-length animation. “I feel that my days in feature film are done,” Miyazaki said. “If I said I wanted to [make a feature film], I would sound like an old man saying something foolish.”
“The Boy and the Heron” opened up TIFF this year. The World War II-era movie, which was released under the title “How Do You Live?” in Japan earlier this year, will debut in North America on Dec. 8. Miyazaki has not attended press or promotional events for the film.
Over the years, the animator has gained a reputation for being blunt — or as GQ put it in 2021, “an absolute savage.” It’s an unexpected trait considering his films are so often filled with whimsical and cute characters. Despite that, he is often praised by fans and other animators alike. For instance, Guillermo del Toro made a surprise appearance at “The Boy and the Heron’s” premiere thanks to his own respect and fandom for Miyazaki.