Hayao Miyazaki, the retiring czar of Japanese animation, said Friday that while he will no longer be at the forefront of creating feature-length animated movies, he will be a “freed man” pursuing his own interests as long as he can.

“I know I made headlines by signaling my intention to retire numerous times before, but this time I’m serious,” Miyazaki told reporters in Tokyo’s Kichijoji district, where he appeared on stage with producer Toshio Suzuki, his long-time colleague, and Studio Ghibli head Koji Hoshino.

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