The Boy and the Heron, Hayao Miyazaki’s first feature film in a decade, probably won’t be his last after all. Studio Ghibli executive Junichi Nishioka told CBC News that not only does he not feel like retiring anymore, he’s actively coming into work to create yet another film.
“Other people say that [The Boy and the Heron] might be his last film, but he doesn’t feel that way at all,” Nishioka told CBC, through a translator, at the Toronto International Film Festival (via Gizmodo).
“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.”
That seems... pretty definitive?
And really, we should have known better! I will leave you with the epic first three paragraphs that Alicia Haddick wrote for us on this very topic last month:
The year is 1997, and famed Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki announced plans to retire following the release of Princess Mononoke, a film that set new records at the box office for Japanese animation and revolutionized the medium. The year is 2001, and Miyazaki announced plans to retire following the release of Spirited Away, saying he can no longer work on feature-length animated films. The year is 2013, and Miyazaki announced plans to retire following the release of The Wind Rises, saying that “If I said I wanted to [make another feature film], I would sound like an old man saying something foolish.”
The year is 2023, and Miyazaki is an old man saying something foolish by releasing a new film, titled How Do You Live in Japan and renamed The Boy and the Heron for the international market.
The point is, it’s hard to say with any certainty whether this will truly be the moment when Hayao Miyazaki steps away from feature animation for good (he’ll likely never step away from animation entirely, directing a new short for the Ghibli Museum during his last retirement, Boro the Caterpillar).
“I have caused a stir in the past by saying I was quitting,” Miyazaki said a decade ago. “But I am serious this time. There are things that I have always wanted to do, but it does not involve animation.”
I hope he did them before his return.