Bowing out after an illustrious career – and this time Hayao Miyazaki means it
When anime maestro Hayao Miyazaki formally announced his retirement in Tokyo on September 6, five days after The Wind Rises was screened at the Venice Film Festival, he told the 600 reporters present that, unlike his other leave-takings from feature animations that later proved temporary, “This time I really mean it”, he said.
Ruling out any sort of scriptwriting or supervisory role, his era of animation, he added, “is over”.
That era, during which animated films directed, scripted or supervised by Miyazaki dominated the Japanese box office while garnering honours and prizes at home and abroad, began with Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind in 1984 and helped to ignite the international anime boom.
But the master filmmaker’s greatest triumphs were yet to come, however. His 1997 fantasy Princess Mononoke became the biggest Japanese box office hit of all time, taking US$192 million. The 2001 Spirited Away, whose 10-year-old heroine is trapped in a world of goblins and spirits after her parents morph into pigs, took Japan’s all-time box office crown with an astonishing US$304 million, while winning a best animated feature Oscar, among other accolades.
His latest and last film, The Wind Rises, is in this line, being set in a prewar Japan that looks gloriously lovely and unspoiled. Based on the life of aircraft designer Jiro Horikoshi and a 1938 short novel by Tatsuo Hori, the film is also distinctly different from anything Miyazaki has done before.
For the full story, see The Review on Sunday.
Video: Trailer of Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises