Throughout the history of cinema, animation as a genre has jumped ahead by substantial leaps and bounds. Though animation has existed in feature length form since Disney released Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs in 1937, the evolution of styles like stop-motion and CG have helped make cartoon worlds much more sophisticated and immersive.
Because of this, some of the highest grossing films of all time are of the animated variety, with themes that resonate with audiences worldwide. Hollywood has typically led the way in the production of CG animation, but in terms of anime, Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki is a true legendary figure, with over 50 years of experience behind him as well as a lengthy list of classic films to his credit.
When word spread back in 2014 that Miyazaki was retiring and that his Studio Ghibli may not be making any future films, fans were understandably devastated. Fortunately, Miyazaki’s retirement was short lived – or at least it looks that way for the time being. Variety is currently reporting that Miyazaki will go to work once again, this time to create a ten-minute CG film starring a hairy caterpillar.
The film, titled Kemushi no Boro (Boro the Caterpillar), is to be screened exclusively at Studio Ghibli’s museum in Tokyo and won’t be completed for another three years. Although Miyazaki previously used CG in aspects of 2001’s Oscar winning Spirited Away, Boro the Caterpillar will mark the first full CG production that the director has ever created. Amazingly enough, despite the film’s miniscule running time, Miyazaki has been developing the story for almost 20 years now and describes it as “a story of a tiny, hairy caterpillar, so tiny that it may be easily squished between your fingers.”
For fans, the return of an icon like Hayao Miyazaki is nothing short of magical. After six aborted attempts at retirement, perhaps the director will finally realise that a mind as truly creative as his can never really retire. True, Boro the Caterpillar is only ten minutes long and will likely never be seen beyond the confines of the Ghibli Museum, but the sheer fact that even ten minutes of his work is so highly anticipated remains a clear indication that fans will never stop wanting more.
All that being said, the constant on again, off again relationship that Miyazaki seems to have with retirement has the potential to alienate some fans. Announcing your most recent retirement only to come back and create content that is so exclusive that a plane ticket is likely required in order to see it can simply end up frustrating some, rather than delighting them. But Miyazaki is back for now – whether or not he stays back however, remains to be seen.