Hayao Miyazaki, a master of animation and Studio Ghibli legend, is coming out of retirement. Miyazaki recently spoke with The New York Times, saying that he’s got one final film left in the tank before he goes back into hibernation. His newest and supposedly last project will be a feature-length animated film titled How Do You Live? When asked why he was determined to work on a new feature, Miyazaki simply replied: “Because I wanted to.”
Miyazaki’s new project is based on a 1937 novel by Genzaburo Yoshino. Per The Uterhaven, the story follows a 15-year-old boy named Junichi Honda, nicknamed Koperu (after the astronomer, Copernicus), and his uncle as the young man confronts spiritual growth, poverty, and the overall experience as human beings.
Miyazaki first announced plans for How Do You Live? back in 2017. At the time, he stated that the film would take three to four years to complete, and then the pandemic hit. How and if the pandemic has delayed the release of the film remains unclear, though I have to imagine that it’s been a concern, generally speaking. According to Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli co-workers, he began working on storyboards for the new project before receiving the green light for production. Several of those co-workers also said that they were not surprised to find that Miyazaki was already creating storyboards, joking that he’s likely to create content until the day he dies.
At 80-years-old, Hayao Miyazaki is considered by many to be a living legend in the animation community. He’s directed such animated classics as Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and more. His last film, The Wind Rises, was released in 2013. The biographical animation focuses on the achievements of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II.
How Miyazaki plans to wow audiences one last time with How Do You Live? remains to be seen, though you can bet that animation enthusiasts will be eager to witness the storied filmmaker’s final feature.