76-year-old anime legend wants the film to be his legacy after he moves on to the next world.
The first time anime director Hayao Miyazaki “retired,” after the release of Princess Mononoke in 1997, he stayed away from animated feature films for four years before coming back to make Spirited Away. He managed to hold out a little longer after retiring for the second time following 2013’s The Wind Rises, but earlier this year the Studio Ghibli co-founder announced he was coming out of retirement yet again to make one more feature film.
For longtime Miyazaki fans, this wasn’t an entirely shocking development. Despite his regular grumbling about the state of the anime industry and its rabid fan community, Miyazaki is a true believer in the power of animated storytelling with irrepressible creative juices, as well as a conviction that no one can make anime as well as he does (although that’s a sentiment many animation enthusiasts themselves share).
But according to Toshio Suzuki, also a Ghibli co-founder and producer for the vast majority of the studio’s films, Miyazaki’s decision to plant himself in the director’s chair again was prompted by more than just a need to share one more story with the world or to show those young whippersnappers how it’s done. Suzuki was a guest on Japanese broadcaster NHK’s Nichiyo Bijutsukan program on October 8, where he commented that:
“Miyazaki is making the new film for his grandson. It’s his way of saying ‘Grandpa is moving on to the next world, but he’s leaving behind this film.’”
It’s a surprising revelation, because while Miyazaki’s work is largely considered to be family-friendly and accessible to kids, he himself doesn’t have much of a family man image. His relationship with son Goro has been famously strained, with the elder Miyazaki openly scoffing at his son’s directorial debut in Ghibli’s Tales from Earthseaand saying that his then 39-year-old son “Hadn’t grown up.” And it’s not like Miyazaki is known for being particularly interested in mentoring roles either.
In fact, Suzuki’s comment is an extremely rare mention of Miyazaki’s grandchild, with just about the only other instance being a 2013 Los Angeles Times article which briefly states that Goro is “married with a 4-year-old son.” With Hayao Miyazaki’s new film expected to debut sometime around 2020, that would make his grandson about 11 years old. Whether that means the director plans to make a straightforward anime like Ponyo (his last explicitly “for-kids” film) or something more challenging is something we’ll have to wait to see.
Source: Livedoor News via Otakomu, Josei Prime, Los Angeles Times