Hayao Miyazaki’s next animated film is officially titled “Boro the Caterpillar” and will be ready in 2 years.
Where many animators might overtly simplify the visual elements of their animated movies, Miyazaki has always adhered to a painstakingly difficult process.
The legendary Japanese director of such classics as “Spirited Away,” “Princess Mononoke,”and “My Neighbor Totoro” has always been suspicious of computers and personally draws his own frames by hand, which number in the thousands per film. As a result, Miyazaki’s films have always been richly conceived, with beautiful lavish colors and a masterful sense of detail rarely seen in western animation. When it comes to the 76-year-old Japanese animator, my advice is to forget about the stories, they will work their spells on you regardless, and just immerse yourself into the surreal nature of his worlds. There’s a reason why Miyazaki is known as Godfather of Japanese animation — there’s nobody else out there that’s ever come close to his level.
In 2013 Miyazaki said he was retiring and that his last film would be the bittersweet WWII drama “The Wind Rises.” That retirement was short-lived though as last year during the nationally televised Japanese television special “The Man Who Is Not Done: Hayao Miyazaki,” the acclaimed anime director hinted that he wanted to come out of retirement and make another film. Was a comeback in the works?
The inevitable was eventually confirmed as we found out that Miyazaki was secretly working on “Boro the Caterpillar,” a film which was intended as a short, but which the Japanese master said left him with an unsatisfied feeling. Last fall, the director presented a proposal to make a full length movie, and started working on storyboards, with a goal to release the film in 2019, right before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Details are yet to come, but if we needed any kind of good news today it’s that Studio Ghibli’s production department has officially been reopened. Miyazaki is at work on his new feature, which is either a feature length version of “Boro the Caterpillar,” or something else entirely. We’ll find out in time. Either way, a new film from Miyazaki is a cause for celebration, so dust off your old copy of ‘Totoro’ and watch it this weekend to celebrate the return of a giant.
Here’s the synopsis of the behind-the-scenes doc. An unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the Miyazaki process. It tackles his retirement and un-retirement:
"In 2013, film director and animator Hayao Miyazaki suddenly announced his retirement at the age of 72. But he couldn’t shake his burning desire to create. After an encounter with young CGI animators, the filmmaker embarked on a new endeavor, his first project ever to utilize CGI. But the artist, who had been adamant about hand-drawn animation, confronted many challenges. The film even faces the danger of being canceled. Can an old master who thinks he’s past his prime shine once again? This program goes behind the scenes over two years as Miyazaki overcomes struggles to create his short film using CGI."