Hayao Miyazaki Is Still A Hard-Arse 

Think Hayao Miyazaki has gone soft in his old age? Nope.

[Image via NHK]

As our colleagues at Gizmodo reported, Miyazaki is keen to come out of semi-retirement to make one last feature film. Back in 2013, he officially announced that he would no longer make full-length movies.

Since then, he's worked on other projects, including a short film called Kemushi no Boro, which he now hopes to expand to a full-length film.

A recent NHK special showed how Miyazaki has been spending his time. When it starts, Studio Ghibli's production studio is empty, as it was dissolved back in 2014. But during the course of the TV special, it begins teeming with life.

In one scene, Miyazaki learns to use a tablet for animation. This is a big deal, because for most of Miyazaki's life, he's been, well, analogue.

[Image via Chu2byokun | NHK]

"Until now, I've never thought about touching a computer," says Miyazaki.

[Image via Chu2byokun | NHK]

The subtitle says that if he touches here, then it will cause the animation to move.

[Image via Chu2byokun | NHK]

"Huh? What? An eraser," says Miyazaki.

It also shows that Miyazaki is still infamously picky about quality.

[Image via fjkt_tv | NHK]

"Terrible," says Miyazaki. "Draw them all again."

[Image via fjkt_tv | NHK]

"Draw and really think about what you are doing."

[Image via fjkt_tv | NHK]

"Are you living your life without thinking about anything?"

[Image via fjkt_tv | NHK]

"If that's no good, then step down. Quit ASAP."

At the end of the documentary, Miyazaki gives Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki a pitch for a feature film.

[Image via 10jp | NHK]

Here, Miyazaki says he wants to make "one more feature film".

His handwritten pitch includes a schedule, which lists pre-production until the middle of next year, and production until early 2019, releasing the film before the Tokyo Olympics.

[Image via NHK]

Under the star, Miyazaki wrote how he'll be 78 when he finishes the film, adding, "Maybe I'll be alive?"

Suzuki says Miyazaki might die during production, while another Ghibli staffer off camera said, "Then it will be a big hit." Suzuki then begins cracking up, laughing.

[Image via NHK]

"I think it's still better to die when you are doing something than dying when you are doing nothing," Miyazaki says later. "It's better to think about not dying when you die."


    I mean, what a hard arse. But then, his films are so great I wouldn't want it any other way frankly.

    Dunno how well it pays off for the average animator working there in the end but Ghibli has long had the reputation of being one of the most stressful/demanding places to work in the industry and Miyazaki has always been its harshest taskmaster. This is a guy who spent the duration of Earthsea's production not talking with his son because he didn't think Goro had what it took to direct at the time.

      In all fairness, history proved him right. Sure, he could have handled it better, but god, the boy was not ready.

      The Earthsea thing is actually a lot more complicated than that.

      Miyazaki wanted to adapt Earthsea for years. He repeatedly asked for permission from Le Guin but was knocked back or ignored each time, and he eventually gave up. Then when Spirited Away was an Oscar-winning hit, she suddenly reappeared and wanted him to adapt her work after all. Meanwhile at Ghibli, production was underway on Howl's Moving Castle. Ghibli had contracted Mamoru Hosoda to direct the work as they thought he could be the next major director for them, but he bailed out to move to Madhouse and start working on his own film with full creative control (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) so Ghibli were left without a director for Howl, and Miyazaki stepped in to take the helm. This meant that when Le Guin finally offered the Earthsea license he'd been wanting, he was far too busy to actually be involved with making a film with the license. Rather than let the deal slide, Goro Miyazaki stepped in, and that caused a family feud - but I suspect it was largely because what Miyazaki Junior did with it was not what Miyazaki Senior wanted to do with the property. He probably had elaborate plans for Earthsea that had been percolating for years.

        Thanks for the back story! I too thought Earthsea was a bit lacking. But if Miyazaki-san was that into adapting Earthsea, couldn't he have delayed production until he was ready?

          He had 'retired' at the time, but came back out of 'retirement' for Howl. He possibly didn't think he'd direct a film after that.

          Miyazaki has announced his retirement something like four times now, but I think animation and art is such a passion for him that he can't stop doing it.

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