3 September 2013
Hayao Miyazaki announces retirement
Animator Hayao Miyazaki, who is known for his anime movies and his association with Ghiblio studio, announces his retirement after his latest movie The Wind Rises airs in cinemas.
Miyazaki has directed and produced many well known (mostly) hand-drawn animated movies, such as Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (before he co-founded Ghibli Studio), Laputa, Totoro, and Kiki's Delivery Service, which are highly received in Japan and in neighbouring countries. The early movies did not attract much Western attentions however, until Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away were aired.
As Wikipedia states, "Miyazaki's films often contain recurrent themes like humanity's relationship with nature and technology, and the difficulty of maintaining a pacifist ethic. The protagonists of his films are often strong, independent girls or young women."
He often works with Joe Hisaishi, a well established composer who works on original soundtracks for all of Miyazaki's films since Nausicaä.
His latest movie, The Wind Rises, features Jiro Hirokoshi, who was a chief engineer developing a fighter aircraft that was to be the predecessor of the famous Zero fighter.
However, some people on the Internet don't seem to pity this news, which is most likely related to Miyazaki's stance on the war. His statements that Japan should apologise for the comfort woman in World War Two, as well as to give way and split control for the disputed islands, were viewed by some as "anti-Japanese" or "traitorous" (see Kotaku for more details).
On the other hand, he announced his retirement from anime industry in several occasions, such as after Princess Mononoke aired in 1997, and after Howl's Moving Castle in 2004, making some wonder whether The Wind Rises would truly be his final work. It is possible that he may return, but will treat future works as a hobby, rather than a job.
There was also a report back in 2010 that Miyazaki wants to, but hasn't yet planned to, write a sequel for the movie Porco Rosso, supposedly called Porco Rosso: The Last Sortie. Could this be why Porco Rosso is aired on Japanese TV soon after the retirement announcement recently?
Although I haven't got around to watch some of his latest ones in the recent years, I enjoy watching Hayao Miyazaki's animated movies under Ghibli Studio since childhood. I think there are always something you can learn from his movies, where many involve moral issues, and while we may or may not get to see more movies from Miyazaki, I hope Ghibli Studios can do just as well.