Hayao Miyazaki, the celebrated Japanese animator and director behind some of Studio Ghibli's best-loved movies, has been trying to retire for a long time — but there was something about last weekend's announcement that felt final. Sure enough, as Ghibli president Koji Hoshino foretold, Miyazaki, 72, took the stage in Tokyo today to explain his decision.

"I feel that my days in feature film are done."

"I have caused a stir in the past by saying I was quitting," said Miyazaki. "But I am serious this time. There are things that I have always wanted to do, but it does not involve animation." Miyazaki feels that his skills have slowed with age, and that another feature-length film would take too long for him to work on. "I feel that my days in feature film are done," he said. "If I said I wanted to [continue], I would sound like an old man saying something foolish."

Miyazaki emphasized that Studio Ghibli would continue, with the Isao Takahata-directed Kaguyahime no Monogatari set for Japanese release in November, and another untitled movie pegged for a summer launch. "Since a heavy load will be lifted from the top, I hope that younger staff members will come up with various ideas for what they want to do," he said. "The future will depend on the ambition, hope, and abilities of various people."