We are all familiar with the great, iconic works of the legendary Hayao Miyazaki for Studio Ghibli – above all the outstanding anime films Princess Mononoke (1997), the Oscar-winning Spirited Away (2001) and Howl’s Moving Castle (2004). However, as his latest film, The Wind Rises, currently premieres at the 70th Venice Film Festival – at which he won a lifetime achievement award in 2005 – the regrettable news of his retirement has broken.
Miyazaki co-founded the famed animation studio in 1985 along with his long-time collaborative partner, Isao Takahata. Yesterday Koji Hoshino, Studio Ghibli’s president, announced that the 72-year-old animator is now, for the third time, set to retire. Absent from Venice Film Festival this week, Miyazaki will appear at a full press conference in Tokyo next week to give a follow up statement. Will Miyazaki actually leave the business this time? Let’s hope not! He first retired following the international success of Princess Mononoke, the film which spread his name west, however eventually he returned to the industry to direct Spirited Away four years later. Following his second retirement, Miyazaki stepped in to direct Howl’s Moving Castle when Mamoru Hosoda unexpectedly quit the production. Fingers crossed the mastermind of animation is just messing with us once again, but just incase he is for real this time, make sure you see what is perhaps the last film to be added to the Miyazaki canon.
Of the 18 feature films Studio Ghibli has produced over the last eighteen years, The Wind Falls is Miyazaki’s 11th feature film as well as his first in five years. Based on Tatsuo Hori’s novel, this compelling feature tells the fictionalized story of Jiro Horikoshi, the engineer of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter plane the Japanese used in World War II. The trailer will give you a good idea of the remarkable, captivating imagery which we can expect from this film which has already been incredibly well received.