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hayao miyazaki in never-ending man Image: NHK

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Everything we know about Hayao Miyazaki’s new movie

What How Do You Live? is about and when we might be able to see it

May 25-30 is Studio Ghibli Week at Polygon. To celebrate the arrival of the Japanese animation house’s library on digital and streaming services, we’re surveying the studio’s history, impact, and biggest themes. Follow along via our Ghibli Week page.

Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement in 2013 following the release of The Wind Rises, but has been back at work since 2016. Initial rumors about what he was working on suggested he was turning his short film Boro the Caterpillar into a feature, but recent interviews with producer Toshio Suzuki have shed more light on exactly what Miyazaki is up to. From the title to the expected completion date to the story, here’s everything we know about Miyazaki’s next film.

What is Miyazaki’s new movie called?

The movie is titled How Do You Live? from Yoshino Genzaburo’s 1937 book of the same name, which follows a 15-year-old boy named Junichi Honda, nicknamed Koperu. Junichi lives with his uncle, and reflects on the experience of being human and spiritual growth.

Is it based on the book?

The film is not based on the book. Rather, the book is an important touchstone for the movie’s protagonist. Details on the plot of the film are scarce, though it has been described as a “big, fantastical story.” Suzuki says he was initially wary of Miyazaki making another film, since he’s achieved so much already, and doing something new and fresh would be difficult.

How is How Do You Live? achieving something new?

According to Suzuki, one of the new approaches Miyazaki’s latest film is taking is in its process. “One of the ideas that came out from that was, why not spend more time and spend more money [to make a film]?” Suzuki said. Given that rumors of Miyazaki coming out of retirement started in 2016, How Do You Live? has certainly become one of the most time-intensive Ghibli movies yet.

How much progress has been made on the movie?

Though the short film Boro the Caterpillar was done with computer animation, How Do You Live? sees Miyazaki returning to hand-drawn animation. The rigorous process, made all the more intense by a commitment to spending more time on production, has resulted in 36 minutes of footage so far. Suzuki estimates that the studio is completing one minute of animation per month, so 12 minutes of footage would be completed in a year.

So when are we actually going to get to see it?

Suzuki said that the film would hopefully be finished in the next three years. If all goes according to plan, that means we’ll get to see How Do You Live? sometime in 2023 or 2024.

Why is Miyazaki making another movie?

Besides the fact that he seems to live to make movies, he’s making this movie for a personal reason as well. Suzuki says Miyazaki wants to leave a movie behind for his grandson: “It’s his way of saying, ‘Grandpa is moving on to the next world, but he’s leaving behind this film.’”


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