Animator Hayao Miyazaki Retiring After His Final Film 'The Wind Rises'
Sad news for fans of Studio Ghibli. Reports from a press conference at the Venice Film Festival (via Japan Times) are stating that The Wind Rises will be the last film directed by legendary animator/filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki before he retires. The quote comes from Studio Ghibli co-founder Koji Hoshino, who said simply during the press conference: "Miyazaki has decided that The Wind Rises will be his last film and he will now retire." More details will come at a press conference in Japan next week, but for now it sounds like this isn't just a speculative quote. Though we usually take retirement announcements with a grain of salt.
Hayao Miyazaki, now 72 years old, is the legendary Japanese animator who some could argue is the greatest animation filmmaker in cinema history. In total he has directed 12 feature films from My Neighbor Totoro to Ponyo, won one Oscar for Spirited Away in 2003, and received countless accolades. His last film, The Wind Rises (see the trailer) about the WWII Zero Fighter airplane designer Jiro Horikoshi, is premiering at film festivals around the world right now and debuting in Japan this year. The quote seems to hint that Miyazaki decided this latest film would be his last feature after finishing. I'm looking forward to catching it.
This news does make me sad, as I'm a huge fan of Miyazaki and all Studio Ghibli films. The teaser photo on this post is me and Miyazaki when I met/interviewed him in 2009 for Ponyo. However, I have a feeling he'll still be around animating, drawing and working at Ghibli for many more years. As we all know, creative geniuses like Miyazaki can usually never really give up their art, and will likely feel a desire to come back at the right time. So, while this news might be unfortunate, let's hope that he'll still have his hand in Studio Ghibli films for years to come. Until then this may be the perfect time to watch some Studio Ghibli classics.