Miyazaki Returns! Fans Rejoice!
In 2013, acclaimed Japanese director and animator Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement after finishing The Wind Rises. Miyazaki stated he would continue to work on smaller projects, but veer away from feature-length films. However, this is one of several attempts at retirement and just like many others, this one is not quite sticking.
Last week on an NHK television special appropriately titled Hayao Miyazaki: The Man Who Is Not Done, the Oscar-winning artist told the public he’s coming out of retirement to make one last movie. Miyazaki revealed his dissatisfaction with the 12-minute CG short film he has been working on, Kemushi no Boro or Boro the Caterpillar. He told NHK that he now has plans to turn the project into a full-length feature. The goal is to have it ready for release in 2019, before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
The Miyazaki Legacy
Miyazaki has written and directed over thirty projects, with over half of those being full-length films. He is best known for My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Princess Mononoke. Since its release 15 years ago in 2001, Spirited Away remains the highest earning film ever at the Japanese box office. The film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Film in 2003 and will be re-released in select theaters this December.
The Japanese animator’s works are characterized by the recurrence of several progressive themes, such as environmentalism, pacifism, and feminism. His narratives are also notable for their sympathetic antagonists, as they tend to avoid the traditional hero versus villain story structure.
Unfortunately, not much is known about Boro the Caterpillar, but Miyazaki has described the short as “a story of a tiny, hairy caterpillar, so tiny that it may be easily squished between your fingers”. Now that the work is being transformed into a full-length feature, fans can undoubtedly expect one last great work from the world-renowned Hayao Miyazaki.