“No Deadline for Hayao Miyazaki’s Next Film,” Says Ghibli Co-Founder

The April issue of the Bungei Shunjū literary magazine, which shipped on Saturday, included an essay from Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki about fellow studio co-founder Hayao Miyazaki. In the essay, Suzuki stated that Miyazaki is working on the Kimi-tachi wa Dō Ikiru ka (How Do You Live?) anime feature film without a deadline to complete it.

Suzuki said, “With the production of this new film, we’re experimenting with having no established deadline. I’m looking forward to how that comes through in the work.” Suzuki indicated that Studio Ghibli’s works normally have set production schedules. In the television special that revealed the film project, Miyazaki presented a proposed schedule for the film, but Suzuki indicated that the studio is no longer following that plan.

Suzuki added that Miyazaki is a person who is not interested in money. Also, Suzuki believes Miyazaki is effectively unable to truly retire because having nothing to do and living as an ordinary retiree would bother him. Suzuki believes Miyazaki feels most at home in continuing to work on film production.

Suzuki acknowledged that some have labeled Miyazaki’s upcoming film as his last. However, Suzuki said, “I don’t believe it. As long as he lives, [Miyazaki] will probably continue to make films.” Because of that, Suzuki said he is asking Miyazaki, “Just please don’t make a second retirement announcement.”

Suzuki said last August that he thought the new film will open in “about three or four years.” Suzuki also noted that the film had been in production for two years, and that the studio was doing things in the film that it could not do before.

Miyazaki himself had stated in October 2017 that he would need three or four years to complete his action-adventure fantasy film. Miyazaki derived the film’s title from writer Genzaburō Yoshino’s 1937 masterpiece of the same name. He added that this book is a story that has great meaning to the protagonist of his film. Yoshino’s book centers around a man named Koperu and his uncle, and through Koperu’s spiritual growth, it discusses how to live as human beings.

In the Owaranai Hito Miyazaki Hayao (Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki) special that aired in November 2016, Miyazaki reported that he wanted to return to making an anime feature film after his “Kemushi no Boro” short for the Ghibli Museum (which debuted in March 2018). According to the special, Miyazaki was not satisfied with doing just the CG short, and he presented a project proposal for a feature-length film in August 2016.

Despite not officially receiving a green-light for the feature film at the time, Miyazaki decided to start animation work on the project anyway. Suzuki reported in April 2017 that Miyazaki had been drawing the storyboards for the project since July 2016. However, Suzuki said at the time that Miyazaki had only drawn 20 minutes of storyboards so far.