Hayao Miyazaki has revealed the title for his next feature-length directorial effort. The creator of such animated films as Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and My Cousin Totoro announced his retirement from filmmaking (again) in 2013, after completing the 2012 film The Wind Rises. However, four years after his announcement, Miyazaki has decided to return to his creative pursuits for a final feature film, and his reason for doing so is as personal as his entire filmography: he wants to make a film for his grandson.
The co-founder of Studio Ghibli essentially hit the ground running after coming out retirement, working on a short animated film titled Boro the Caterpillar. (Despite the compact nature of the project, it’s been in development for well over two decades.) The crowning achievement in his post-retirement work, however, lies in the feature adaptation of Genzaburo Yoshino’s 1937 novel Kimitachi wa Do Ikiru ka, which translates in English to How Do You Guys Live?
However, according to THR, his film will not be a direct adaptation. In fact, Miyazaki will only use the title, as well as inspiration from the original story. (He did this once before, with Tatsuo Hori’s novel Kaze Tachinu, which translates to The Wind Rises.) As Miyazaki explained at Waseda University’s opening of the Natsume Soseki Memorial Museum in Tokyo, “The film is about how this particular book featured prominently in the protagonist’s life,” adding that, “It will take three to four years to complete the anime.”
The films that Miyazaki has created during his career have always revolved around themes involving philosophical conquests and political ideologies that differ from the general norm, so it makes sense why he would take inspiration from Yoshino’s novel. Yoshino was thematically similar to Miyazaki, which makes this unique form of inspiration particularly fitting. Yoshino began his career as a children’s author during the 1930s, once he determined that his books would not be censored. He also made a career in journalism, where he delved into progressively political material in a post-war Japan. However, he used his books as a way to reach a younger audience, to inspire them, not unlike Miyazaki himself.
While there is no telling whether or not Miyazaki will keep his word and return to a permanent retirement after the release of both Boro the Caterpillar and How Do You Guys Live?, his former partner Toshio Suzuki once stated in a Japanese television special (titled The Man Who Is Not Done: Hayao Miyazaki) that Miyazaki will “draw storyboards until he dies.”
There is no word on a release date for How Do You Guys Live?, but it is expected to be completed around 2021 or 2022. His short, Boro the Caterpillar, is due out in summer 2017.