Legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki is in Los Angeles right now, as he’s making a rare trip to the U.S. to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. While we’re sure plenty of fans are excited to see Japanese animation’s most respected figure receive such a prestigious honor, there’s something else for them to be happier about: Miyazaki’s statement that he’s not even close to done making anime.
The Studio Ghibli cofounder has been retired from the business of making full-length, commercial movies for some time now. Be that as it may, it raised peoples’ eyebrows, not to mention hopes, when veteran Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki casually mentioned that Miyazaki still spends every day at the production house he helped build.
Even though Suzuki relayed conversations he’d had with Miyazaki about the possibility of crafting an anime in some format other than a theatrical release, the director himself had remained mum on the subject in his public statements. That changed during an interview with AP reporters ahead of the Academy’s November 8 awards ceremony, in which Miyazaki said:
“I’m going to continue making anime until I die.”
In stark contrast to the complex themes of Miyazaki’s films and even personal life, the sentiments behind his declaration are as pure and straightforward as can be. “I like creating stories and drawing pictures,” he explained.
▼ Unlike Totoro, Miyazaki has no time to rest.
He went on to reveal that planning has begun for a Miyazaki-helmed short to screen at the Saturn Theater inside Tokyo’s Ghibli Museum. While Ghibli’s films have been the Japanese movie industry’s closest thing to a license to print money, Miyazaki’s cut of prior box office revenues, not to mention Ghibli’s massive merchandising arm, mean that he’s not worried about passing up the economic gains of a general release. As a matter of fact, he’d prefer to not think about money at all, stating that “Not having to worry about whether it will be a financial success or not is a big plus.”
If you’re guessing that this is a way for him to get his creative juices flowing again before jumping back into full-length films, though, you’re in for a disappointment. Miyazaki reiterated that he’s done with that, saying he wants to “leave such things to the next generation of animators.”
Again, the project is only in the planning stage, and no timetable as to when it’ll be ready has even been hinted at, meaning it could be years until it’s ready to screen. Still, for many anime fans, a long wait for a Miyazaki short sounds like a pretty good deal.