Legendary Studio Ghibli Director Hayao Miyazaki Is Returning For One Final Film

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Last week, on December 13, the official Studio Ghibli Twitter account (@GhibliUSA) announced, “The new feature film from director Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli has been announced! HOW DO YOU LIVE (tentative title) opens in theaters in Japan on July 14, 2023.”

In the same post, the studio also released a free-hand charcoal-and-watercolor sketch of a bird-looking creature from the film.

In 2013, Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement from feature filmmaking following the release of his 2013 historical drama, The Wind Rises. It was a bittersweet moment for fans of his work, which includes such classics as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro

Thankfully, Miyazaki returned to Studio Ghibli in 2016 to begin work on his current project, How Do You Live. The film is loosely based on a 1937 children’s novel by Yoshino Genzaburo of the same name. 

Producer Toshio Suzuki noted that Miyazaki returned to the famed animation house to dedicate this last film to his grandson. 

In a May 2020 interview, Suzuki noted that only 36 minutes of the film had been completed in the last three years. He went on to explain the process.

“We are still hand-drawing everything, but it takes us more time to complete a film because we’re drawing more frames… So, there are more drawings to draw than before. Back when we were making [1988’s] My Neighbor Totoro, we only had eight animators. Totoro we made in eight months.

[For] the current film that Hayao Miyazaki is working on, we have 60 animators, but we are only able to come up with one minute of animation in a month. That means 12 months a year, you get 12 minutes worth of movie. Actually, we’ve been working on this film for three years, so that means we have 36 minutes completed so far. We’re hoping it will finish in the next three years.”

It looks as though that promise has been kept. With a release date in the books, we anxiously await the next incredible film from the talented creator.

As a bonus, Miyazaki’s son, Goro, has his own computer-animated story in the works at Ghibli. The story is said to be based off an unnamed English story about a “wise girl.”

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