Film and TV

Hayao Miyazaki abandons retirement for one final Studio Ghibli film

Hayao Miyazaki is one of the most acclaimed filmmakers of his generation and, despite a brief retirement, he will complete one final film for Studio Ghibli – an adaptation of the 1937 novel How Do You Live?

If you are a fan of either fantasy, anime, or fairytales then Hayao Miyazaki should require no introduction. As the creative mastermind behind many of Studio Ghibli’s most beloved films, the Japanese director garnered worldwide acclaim for his dark fantasy epics such as Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and My Neighbour Totoro.

However, all good things must eventually come to an end and Hayao Miyazaki announced in 2013 that he would be stepping away from making animated films. The news that we had collectively received our final transmission from one of the most staggeringly original minds to work in film hit audiences everywhere hard.

hayao miyazaki
Image: Princess Mononoke / Studio Ghibli

Thankfully Miyazaki’s final transmission, the 2013 historical drama The Wind Rises, appears to not be quite as final as initially stated.

Reportedly, Hayao Miyazaki has been hard at work on a final film – an adaptation of Yoshino Genzaburō’s beloved Japanese children’s book How Do You Live? And considering that in January the director turns 81, one can’t help but marvel at his tenacity and drive to continue creating.

The novel that serves as the inspiration for Miyazaki’s final film is a coming-of-age story that explores spiritual growth, poverty, and the human experience in general, through the eyes of 15-year-old Japanese boy nicknamed Koperu (a reference to Nicholas Copernicus) who is fascinated with the stars.

Despite the original novel being grounded in realism and history, Hayao Miyazaki has described his final film as “fantasy on a grand scale”, something which should excite fans of his earlier epics.

The Studio Ghibli adaptation of How Do You Live? doesn’t currently have a release date, or indeed a title – with Hayao Miyazaki responding “I am making this movie because I do not have the answer when asked if his film would share the same title as the novel which inspired it.

So while a great deal appears to still be up in the air in regards to this project, we can rest assured that at least Hayao Miyazaki hasn’t lost his touch when it comes to keeping an audience on the edge of their seats.