Hayao Miyazaki, world renowned animator and co-founder of the beloved Studio Ghibli, has come out of retirement. Toshio Suzuki, a producer at Studio Ghibli, revealed the news at the pre-Oscars event for The Red Turtle, which has been nominated for Best Animated Feature. Suzuki has seen the storyboard for Miyazaki’s next film, and confirmed that he is working very hard towards its creation.
Miyazaki, 76, has threatened retirement several times over the years, but never went through with it. In 2013, following the release of The Wind Rises, Miyazaki announced his official retirement. Well-known for favoring traditional drawings in an industry growing increasingly digital, Miyazaki cited his age as one of the reasons for his decision. He claimed that the long daily work schedules of twelve to fourteen hours was becoming too much for him, and that it was best for him to retire before the quality of his work began declining. Since then, he has remained at Studio Ghibli in a less active role.
As seen in the NHK television special that originally aired in November 2016, “Owaranai Hito: Miyazaki Hayao,"or “The Man Who Is Not Done: Hayao Miyazaki," Miyazaki was shown animating, even in his retirement. In the special, he was also shown learning how to use a tablet, and voiced his desire to work on another feature film. He has put his efforts into making a short film called Kemushi no Boro, or Boro the Caterpillar. Boro is set to debut in June or July this summer as an exclusive film that will be shown at the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Japan.
There is no official confirmation about the feature film that Miyazaki is working on, but he has previously expressed interest in turning Boro into a full-length film. While the effort will take time, he hopes to complete it before the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Whatever new film he creates, there is no doubt that fans worldwide will be thrilled to see Miyazaki’s artistry back on the big screen.