LOS ANGELES – Oscar-winning Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki has come out of retirement to work on a new animated feature film, a producer at Studio Ghibli has said.
The decision comes nearly 3½ years after Miyazaki, 76, announced his retirement amid persistent calls for him to make a comeback from his fans both in and outside Japan.
“He is creating it in Tokyo, working hard right now,” Toshio Suzuki, a producer at the major Japanese animation company, said Thursday on a talk show, adding he was presented by the animation maestro with the storyboard of the new film at the end of last year.
“(The storyboard) was quite exciting,” 68-year-old Suzuki said, adding, “but if I’d told him it was good, I know it would ruin my own retirement,” as making the film would dominate his life, Suzuki told the audience.
“Nevertheless, I put my own feelings aside and told him straight, ‘This is fascinating,'” he said to audience applause.
The talk show, which Suzuki was invited to attend, was held in connection with the Academy Awards ceremony, as “The Red Turtle,” produced by Studio Ghibli and others, has been nominated as a candidate for the Academy Award for Animated Feature.
Since announcing his retirement in September 2013 from making feature-length films due to concentration issues because of his advanced age, Miyazaki has remained involved with Studio Ghibli, making a short film to be screened later at the company’s museum in Tokyo.
Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” won the Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear award in 2002 and the Oscar for Animated Feature Film in 2003.
Miyazaki made his feature film directorial debut with “Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro” in 1979. His other major works include “My Neighbor Totoro” in 1988 and “Princess Mononoke” in 1997.
Studio Ghibli has scaled back its animation production since “When Marnie Was There,” directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, in 2014.