If you've ever consumed any of the works from Japanese film production studio Studio Ghibli over the last ten years, you'll know that there's a certain intangible, magical quality to what they produce. For many of us in the west, that introduction came through films like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, but for others more entrenched in the world of anime and Japanese film in general, you might have been around for films like 1986 Castle in the Sky. (We're also still dreaming about that Loewe x Ghibli collab.) But in devastating news for Ghibli fans the world over, director and veteran of Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki has announced that he plans to retire after the release of his next film with the company, How Do You Live?
How Do You Live? is the first traditionally-animated Ghibli film in almost ten years, and will be Miyazaki’s first anime since 2013's The Wind Rises. Rebuking tradition, the film will forgo releasing trailers and marketing ahead of its Japanese release next month – in fact they won't release any imagery aside from its old teaser poster, which will remain the only picture available until the film's release.
“As part of company operations, over the years, Ghibli has wanted people to come to see the movies we’ve made," lead producer Toshio Suzuki told The Hollywood Reporter. "So we’ve thought about that and done a lot of different things for that, but this time we thought, ‘Eh, we don’t need to do that.’”
What is the film about?
How Do You Live? is based on a 1930s novel of the same name by Genzaburō Yoshino, a favourite of Miyazaki's as a child. Its story is narrated in two voices, following the journey of Copper, a teenage boy, and his uncle, who writes to him in a journal, imparting knowledge and offering advice on life’s big questions as Copper begins to encounter them.
Over the course of the story, Copper, like his namesake, the polymath and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, looks inward and upward to the stars, using his heavenly revelations, the earth, and human nature to answer the question of how he will live.
When will the film be released?
The film is scheduled to arrive in theatres in Japan on 14 July 2023, but currently has no foreign release dates penciled in. We'll keep you updated here as we hear more.
Image courtesy of Studio Ghibli.