Studio Ghibli director Miyazaki plans on returning with a new film


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Many recognize these familiar faces from “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Ponyo,” “Howl’s Moving Castle” and other popular works by Studio Ghibli. Miyazaki’s hand-drawn animations encapsulate what most people imagine when they think of Studio Ghibli: cute characters, nostalgic feels and a playful energy.

Over the years, East Asian animation companies and their films have increased in popularity internationally, and Studio Ghibli, an animation company based in Japan, is a prime example. Many people may remember watching films, such as “Ponyo” (2008) and “My Neighbor Totoro” (1988) while growing up, which are some of Studio Ghibli’s most well-known films.

One of the reasons for these films’ popularity is their high quality artistry, which distinguishes them from modern films.The retro animation style, captivating plotlines, character depth and the detailed precision of each scene featured in Ghibli movies have allured avid viewers across the world.

“In a sense, every single movie feels so nostalgic for something you’ve never experienced before,” Emily Wei (10) said. “I think a lot of people chase after that kind of feeling. And I think that’s part of what makes Ghibli movies so popular.”  

The characters in these films are known for their friendly and adorable appearance, and they are each meticulously hand-drawn by Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli’s renowned director and storywriter. Miyazaki is known for rejecting modern digital art techniques and preferring to use the traditional method of drawing by hand to illustrate every single film shot. While this aspect sets him apart, it takes him and his team an entire month to complete footage for one minute.

“The way Miyazaki draws everything is so beautiful,” Wei said. “Every single scene has so much detail. Just the way he draws everything by hand, I would expect it to take so long for every single panel. I can’t even imagine.”  

Over the past four years, Miyazaki has been at work creating one last magical Ghibli feature, his first project since his retirement in 2013. Fans from around the world are eagerly awaiting his final movie, which is hoped to be one of his best works.

“Even though there’s not really an age to it, [Studio Ghibli movies are] able to bring in a lot of people between a ton of ages,” Nikki Rojas-Fonseca (9) said. “A lot of people are able to relate to the characters and be interested in the storyline. They have a really good way of speaking to people through whatever they’re watching. I hope I get to see that in the new movie.”  

This upcoming movie is based on the 1937 novel How Do You Live?” written by Genzaburo Yoshino. The novel follows the coming-of-age story of a 15-year-old boy from Tokyo, and according to the producer of Studio Ghibli, Toshio Suzuki, the film is bound with “fantasy on a grand scale.”

Back in 2020, Miyazaki’s son Goro Miyazaki produced the first computer generated imagery (CGI) Studio Ghibli film: “Earwig and the Witch.” The film underwent a considerable amount of controversy because it strayed from Ghibli’s traditional animation style, and some people are anxious that Hayao Miyazaki will change his classic retro animation method in the movie to match these current styles.

“I really hope they keep some aspect of their unique style in there,” Harrison Moffatt (12) said. “I feel like if they keep the same essence as their other movies, it will definitely go well.”

Despite the differences from movie to movie, the dreamlike quality of Ghibli productions remains constant throughout their various blockbuster films. Viewers note the multitude of emotions that can be conveyed through each work from Studio Ghibli.

“[It is] the way that the emotions are kind of a rollercoaster,” Moffatt said. “It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. You have sadness in a couple of them. And when you have the ups and downs, it gives the movie depth, which is one of the Ghibli strengths.”