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Hayao Miyazaki: A Legend Returns - Page 2

Hayao Miyazaki: A Legend Returns - Page 2


The other big issue is simply doubt that Miyazaki can actually do it. Of all the arguments thrown up against his return this is certainly the one I feel has the most merit. Miyazaki is 76 right now and as anyone who seen behind the scenes footage of anime or even the excellent Shirobako can tell you, it ain't easy running the show on these productions. The director is working just as hard as the rest of the staff, putting in days that often last over 13 hours running from meeting to meeting, checking storyboards, doing design work, the list goes on. Even on his last production Miyazaki admitted that he just isn't capable of doing as much as he used to for as long as he used to anymore. His workload is also increased due to the fact that he tends to be the screenwriter and storyboard artist and also the public face of the film. A full-on production could well be harmful for his health or force the production to last longer than normal in order to accommodate him.

True as well is the fact that the story he chooses to tell might not resonate - Ponyo and The Wind Rises, his last two films, were not his best by any stretch and the concept of Kemushi no Boro, the film he's been trying to get made either as a full length feature or a CG short for years, which could well prove the basis of his new film is not particularly inspiring. As intriguing as the concept of a Ghibli version of A Bug's Life may be at the end of the day there's only so much you can do with a film about a caterpillar...

There's also some doubt surrounding Ghibli itself given that the studio has been operating as a shell of its former self for the last few years with most of its staff having moved on to other things, but to be honest one suspects that the chance to work with Miyazaki on a Ghibli film is likely a bit like being asked to sing on-stage with the Beatles if you’re in anime production, and I suspect that should Ghibli open its doors again they won’t have much trouble pulling in a great production team.

Still though, despite all the arguments against his return I feel that if he comes back then this is something that should be anticipated. His works are at the very least a visual treat and the anticipation for a new work will really work well in helping to push anime outside the normal fanbases especially if distributors can get on top of things. As well as this there's definitely a lot to be said for using the film as another chance to let Ghibli try again as a studio, perhaps pulling in some star talent to help run the show when Miyazaki inevitably retires again whenever that may be - the combination of a Ghibli film directed by the likes of Anno, Hasoda or Shinkai is a heady one and could well prove to be what the studio needs to continue on. Whatever happens, Miyazaki is coming back into our lives again and as far as I'm concerned, that's just fine.


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Dan Barnett

Dan first encountered anime at the ripe old age of six with a VHS copy of Laputa. Ten years later he re-discovered it in Robotech and overnight a DVD collection was born.


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