While The Boy and the Heron was initially announced to be Hayao Miyazaki’s last movie, that’s just been announced to no longer be the case. In 2017, Studio Ghibli announced that Miyazaki was working on a new film titled The Boy and the Heron, also known as How Do You Live? in Japan, and that it would be his final film before retirement. While Miyazaki had announced plans to retire in the past, Miyazaki’s age was a noted factor in The Boy and the Heron’s long production cycle, and with the film being intended to give his grandchildren something to remember him by, it seemed like Miyazaki would finally retire.
That being said, it appears that didn’t stick, and The Boy and the Heron is no longer going to be Hayao Miyazaki’s final film. According to Studio Ghibli vice-president Junichi Nishioka, while Miyazaki will no longer be working on animation, he does plan to continue writing and is already coming up with new ideas. Considering how often Miyazaki has walked back on plans to retire, this isn’t incredibly surprising, and something like this can ultimately be great for Studio Ghibli, going forward.
Hayao Miyazaki Has Changed His Mind About Retiring Before
While it might seem surprising that Hayao Miyazaki won’t be retiring with The Boy and the Heron, this isn’t the first time he walked back on a planned retirement. Miyazaki first said he would retire in 1998 before making Spirited Away, and while he also planned to retire in 2005, he returned to work following his disappointment with Tales from Earthsea. Miyazaki also intended to retire with 2013’s The Wind Rises, and even that didn’t stick, so it’s not all that surprising that The Boy and the Heron will no longer be his final film, even if he will reportedly be working in a reduced capacity going forward.
Why Hayao Miyazaki Coming Out Of Retirement Is Good For Studio Ghibli
One of the biggest takeaways from Hayao Miyazaki no longer planning to retire is that his return can be great for Studio Ghibli. Studio Ghibli has notably produced very little content over the past decade thanks to Miyazaki’s previous plans to retire with The Wind Rises, and not only did many of their staff leave for Studio Ponoc, but their last film, Earwig and the Witch, was panned by fans and critics alike for its story and animation. With Miyazaki no longer retiring, he can help bring back works that capture some of Studio Ghibli’s old charm, and they would be all the better for it.
As for whether Hayao Miyazaki can do that in a reduced capacity, his past works more than support the idea. Miyazaki didn’t direct Whisper of the Heart, The Secret World of Arrietty, or From Up on Poppy Hil, but each film more than captured the heart of Studio Ghibli’s best works, so even if Miyazaki won’t keep directing, just having him writing will be enough to make incredible films. It’s currently unknown when Hayao Miyazaki’s next film can be expected, but at the very least, it’s great to know that more can be expected of him after The Boy and the Heron, despite previous claims to the contrary.