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Surprise: Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki has failed to retire a fourth time

The year is 1997, and famed Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki announced plans to retire following the release of Princess Mononoke, a film that set new records at the box office for Japanese animation and revolutionized the medium. The year is 2001, and Miyazaki announced plans to retire following the release of Spirited Away, saying he can no longer work on feature-length animated films. The year is 2013, and Miyazaki announced plans to retire following the release of The Wind Rises, saying that “If I said I wanted to [make another feature film], I would sound like an old man saying something foolish.”

The year is 2023, and Miyazaki is an old man saying something foolish by releasing a new film, titled How Do You Live in Japan and renamed The Boy and the Heron for the international market.

The point is, it’s hard to say with any certainty whether this will truly be the moment when Hayao Miyazaki steps away from feature animation for good (he’ll likely never step away from animation entirely, directing a new short for the Ghibli Museum during his last retirement, Boro the Caterpillar).

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