Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro) announced his retirement in 2013, but a short while later he admitted he would “continue making anime until I die”, although he planned to do only short features. Then, last winter, Miyazaki said the short film he was making (Kemushi no Boro aka Boro the Caterpillar) should probably be a full-length movie. Now it’s official: Miyazaki has commenced working on a full-length film.
Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki revealed the news in a pre-Oscars interview regarding this year’s Oscar-nominated animated feature film The Red Turtle.
Suzuki is producing the full-length film, and he said Miyazaki is already back to work. “Right now in Tokyo, he’s putting all his effort into making it,” Suzuki told Kyodo. They’re planning to finish the project by 2019, in time for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Boro the Caterpillar is a project Miyazaki has been planning for over 20 years, which he has described as “a story of a tiny, hairy caterpillar, so tiny that it may be easily squished between your fingers.” At first glance, that doesn’t sound like the kind of story that would rouse one out of a comfy retirement, but artists can’t often leave a project floundering. After all, Miyazaki’s the artist who said, “Filmmaking only brings suffering. I can’t believe I actually want to do another one.”