Fans the world over were left a bit deflated the other week after the legend himself, Hayao Miyazaki, announced he was to retire from filmmaking and indeed the world of Studio Ghibli. The 72-year-old followed up the news with a press conference where he explained his decisions and answered some questions for an eager group of journalists.
And it would seem that his retirement hasn’t dampened the spirits of Ghibli’s fan base because his last ever film, ‘The Wind Rises’ — a film already out in cinemas in Japan — has seen last weekend’s box office receipts increase by a massive 34.5% on the previous. The news has clearly moved his audience but also seems to have enticed new viewers along to witness the talented Miyazaki at work on the big screen for one last time.
Granted, even as a Ghibli fan, I’ve not seen many of his films projected at my local PictureHouse cinema, but I fully intend to pop down there once ‘The Wind Rises’ is released here in the UK. It’s been the recipient of some wonderful, positive reviews and is one for anime fans to check out. At present there is no word on a release date here yet and isn’t included in the programme for this year’s strong lineup for London Film Festival.
Miyazaki’s final film has, so far, topped the 10 billion yen mark, which is the first Japanese film in its native country to do so since 2008’s ‘Ponyo’ — a film also directed and written by the maestro himself. The only other film to have passed this milestone in that time is Pixar’s ‘Toy Story 3’.
There’s clearly a lot more buzz around this film because of its significance as the end of an era for the man who’s been the face of Studio Ghibli for decades. What we can expect is for his son, Goro, to continue and build upon the superlative work his father’s achieved over the years as Studio Ghibli looks set to carry on and thrive as one of the most respected animation studios in the world.