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Is Hayao Miyazaki Returning to Feature Films?

Is Hayao Miyazaki Returning to Feature Films?

For fans of Studio Ghibli, today we’ve got some stupidly exciting news. As reported by Anime News Network, the new television special The Man Who Is Not Done aired this weekend, featuring the life of famed director Hayao Miyazaki. And he’s got a few announcements on what he’s got planned for the next phase of his career.

The Japanese television event reported that Miyazaki wants to return to making an anime feature film, after retiring from directing feature films three years ago. (Retiring and emerging from retirement again is kinda Miyazaki’s thing.) He has been working “Kemushi no Boro” (Boro the Caterpillar), a planned CG short for the Ghibli Museum. The story revolves around a very tiny caterpillar named Boro, who will probably be cute and vaguely threatening and also an elaborate metaphor for anti-militarization and/or environmentalist feminism. We get Studio Ghibli. We really do.

The short CG project failed to satisfy Miyazaki, who spent last August re-pitching the project as a feature length film. If accepted as a feature, it would take five years to complete, at which point Miyazaki would be 80 years old. Not that age has ever stopped this man. Another producer at Ghibli suggested that Miyazaki will probably be drawing storyboards until he dies. That’s what you do when you’ve got more than fifty years of experience in the animation industry under your belt.

Miyazaki hopes that the film could be completed before the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo, and there’s almost assuredly a political motivation for this, as Miyazaki is famous for his grand political and personal statements. He even refused to appear at the Academy Awards in 2003 when Spirited Away won for best animated feature because of the United States’ involvement in Iraq.

With Ghibli, Miyazaki helmed the feature films Laputa: Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, and finally, 2013’s The Wind Rises. He also co-produced Takahata’s directorial efforts and directed smaller projects such as the “experimental film” On Your Mark and Ghibli Museum Shorts such as Mei and the Kitten Bus and Mr. Dough and the Egg Princess.

Studio Ghibli’s most recent feature film was Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s When Marnie Was There, which was given a US release in 2015.

Are you excited about the idea of expanding this short into a feature, or do you think Miyazaki should finish the short first? Let us know in comments.

Image credit: Flickr/Wesley Chan

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