It seems Hayao Miyazaki played a cruel joke on the world of anime when he first announced his retirement in 2001 after the completion and release of his film Spirited Away. He then announced retirement again in 2013 after the release of his film The Wind Rises.
Hayao Miyazaki has had multiple retirements at this point, and despite saying The Boy and the Heron would be his last film, the legendary creator is already back at work on his next masterpiece.
However, actions speak louder than words, and the actions of Hayao Miyazaki say that he’s in it for the long haul. His newest film, The Boy and the Heron, premiered this summer in Japan under the title How Do You Live, and the movie is set for release in North America on December 8th of this year (2023).
Though Miyazaki wasn’t present at the premiere of The Boy and the Heron and has done no interviews regarding the film to date, Studio Ghibli exec Junichi Nishioka was there to speak on his behalf. When interviewed at the Toronto International Film Festival (or TIFF), Nishioka told reporters that the world may rumor that Miyazaki is done making films, but the man himself doesn’t share that sentiment.
He went on to say that “he is currently working on ideas for a new film” and that he is seen working in his office daily. “He is continuing working just as he has always done.”
It’s clear that Hayao Miyazaki could stop making movies now and retire as a very successful man, but fans of his work are always hungry for a little more.
At the age of 82, Hayao Miyazaki has completed 11 feature films and has been referred to as the “godfather of animation.” He has publicly been compared to the likes of Osamu Tezuka (commonly referred to as the father of Manga) and Walt Disney.
His work with Studio Ghibli started when he co-founded the company in 1985. Since then, Miyazaki’s work has brought Japanese anime to mainstream audiences around the world. Some of his most notable hits include My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away.
The appeal of Hayao’s work is that his films ooze with wholesomeness, show audiences the beauty in ordinary things, repeatedly draw on a nature versus technology theme, bear witness to the difficulty of maintaining pacifist ethics in a violent world, and commonly speak of the power of one’s dreams.
Hayao Miyazaki has won countless awards during his time as an anime filmmaker. He won the second-ever Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2003 for his movie Spirited Away, which also won the Mainichi Film Award for Best Animation Film.
Among other accolades, the anime filmmaker has also won eight Tokyo Anime Awards, six Japan Academy Awards, and three awards from the Venice Film Festival. In 2012, the Japanese government awarded him by naming him a Person of Cultural Merit.
Hayao Miyazaki has been compared to the likes of Walt Disney, and Osama Tezuku, the Father of manga.
It’s clear that Hayao Miyazaki could stop making movies now and retire as a very successful man, but fans of his work are always hungry for a little more. For now, the anime filmmaker plans to give the people what they crave.
If you want to get your fill of Miyazaki’s work while you’re waiting on the December release of his latest movie, The Boy and the Heron, you can find what you’re looking for on HBO’s streaming channel MAX. WarnerMedia acquired the streaming right to the whole Ghibli Studios catalog in 2019, granting easier access to Miyazaki’s films.