To the surprise of absolutely no one, legendary animator, director, writer and manga-ka Hayao Miyazaki is probably coming out of retirement yet again (presumably to fix everything wrong about anime).
Miyazaki’s first mention of retirement goes all the way back to 1998 when he said that Princess Mononoke was going to be his last movie, and has since directed six movies. “This time I am quite serious,” Miyazaki proclaimed 3 years ago. But was he?
This occasion marks the seventh or so time the globally acclaimed filmmaker has claimed to retire from feature films, his last in 2013 following the release of The Wind Rises which became the highest-grossing film in Japan that year, winning the Japan Academy Prizes’s Animation of the Year and earning a nomination for an Academy Award for best animated feature.
Anime News Network reports that Miyazaki’s potential return was the subject of an NHK TV special that aired in Japan on Sunday called The Man Who Is Not Done: Hayao Miyazaki. In the special, Miyazaki not only discussed his current project—a 12-minute CG animated short for Ghibli Museum entitled Boro the Caterpillar that will debut in 2017—but also plans to follow up with a feature-length film.
Unsatisfied with the CG project as a short, Miyazaki, who turns 76-years-old in January, pitched the full-length project to Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki this past August, and believes he can have it finished by 2020, just in time for the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo.
Miyazaki has been planning the story for the past 20 years and describes the short as “a story of a tiny, hairy caterpillar, so tiny that it may be easily squished between your fingers.“
The studio has yet to officially commit to the project (but you know they will) and it is currently in the story-boarding stage.