Hayao Miyazaki, a Weird Cinema favorite and beloved the world over by parents and children alike, is coming out of “retirement” to make what he calls his last film – How Do You Live?
Based on a 1937 novel from Genzaburo Yoshino, the story follows a 15-year old boy moving to a new city and the journey of him re-adjusting to his surroundings. A perspective driven story that asks the question of “How Do You Live?” A boy, surrounded by an infinite amount of strangers, observing his environment, grappling with a question innate to the human condition. The film is described as a philosophical journey through the eyes of a child and guided along by his endearing, worldly uncle. It’s the type of film a journeyman director, whose lasted in the industry for 50 years, would make as a final goodbye to his audience. The 80-year old animation director is channeling his love for the medium and cinema into one last film and as his son explained, he’s happy simply to be working again.
On a Japanese radio show, the legendary animator Toshiyuki Inoue, whose worked with Satoshi Kon, Katsuhiro Otomo, and Mamoru Oshii, confirmed he’s working on Miyazaki’s final film with another long-time animator and director, Takeshi Honda, who directed Evangelion 3.0 and worked on one of the greatest animated films ever made — Perfect Blue. Inoue speaks fondly of Miyazaki’s image for this film, as he recognizes the epic vision behind this fantasy story.
According to Inoue, “What Miyazaki wants is more than just a reproduction of reality. It is the realization of an image that exceeds reality. Honda can do that.”
Additionally, it sounds like a classic Miyazaki mix of grounded narrative with real life issues and concerns coupled with fantasy elements to pull out the wonder in the story. This being his last film, which he said is a certainty, unlike his retirement after the Earwig and the Witch back in 2013. Miyazaki will return to hand-drawn animation after Earwig wasn’t as appreciated as most Miyazaki films. Now, he’ll end his career with grander ambition and a pure Miyazaki narrative.
The film hasn’t been completed yet, but two-thirds of the animation has been completed according to the Ghibli twitter account and executive Toshio Suzuki.
It’s beyond exciting to know we’ll get one last Miyazaki epic before he officially retires. The story sounds amazing and the team he’s assembled is supported by some of the greatest names in Japanese animation history. On paper, it should be a Miyazaki classic to remember.