It’s not often that Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli announces that it’s creating a new film. The company, which has canonized itself along the ranks of companies like Pixar or Dreamworks, is responsible for dream-like anime classics like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. The company confirmed this week that it is working on two new films throughout 2020, one of which will see the return of famed filmmaker and the studio’s founder, Hayao Miyazaki.
Miyazaki retired back in 2013 after working for years with the animation studio that he co-founded in 1985. The company announced that Miyazaki would be coming back to work on one more film in 2020 in its New Year’s message for the new decade.
Studio Ghibli is also busy at work with a new theme park, which is slated to open in 2022 in Nagakute City, Japan. Right now, Miyazaki has been working with the company on exhibits for its Studio Ghibli museum, located in a Tokyo suburb.
The New Films
Miyazaki officially came out of retirement in 2016, but has yet to produce a feature-length film with the company since then. Kimi-tachi wa Dō Ikiru ka (which translates to “How Do You Live?”), the newest film to come out of Studio Ghibli, will be the animators first feature-length film since his retirement in 2013.
Little is known about the film, other than the fact that it’s a film adaptation of a 1937 novel of the same name written by Yoshino Genzaburo. The studio announced that the film is Miyazaki’s way of saying goodbye to his grandson in his old age, providing a way of teaching him about the spiritual side of life through his art (excuse me while I wipe a tear).
The novel’s story follows a teenage boy named Koperu as he comes into his adult life and forms his views and outlook on life. Miyazaki has not set an official release date for the upcoming film. Some suggest that the film may be released sometime around the 2020 Summer Olympics, which will take place in Tokyo.
However, the company confirmed that as of October of 2019, only a small fraction of the film was completed—making the 2020 release unlikely considering Miyazaki reportedly wants it to be perfect upon its release. Considering that Studio Ghibli films are generally released in Japanese before they’re dubbed into English, it could be longer before we see an English version come into fruition.
Little else is known about the second film, as the company has yet to release so much as a title for the production, but fans are eager to see more coming out of the famed animation studio throughout the new decade.