Producer gives tentative timetable while promising Studio Ghibli is doing “things we were never able to do in the past.”
A lot of people in Japan are expecting 2020 to be a very big year. With Tokyo serving as the host city for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, the world’s eyes will be on Japan, and a number of construction projects and social initiatives have been launched with 2020 as their target for completion or implementation, such as the remodeling of Tokyo’s iconic Harajuku Station and the acceptance of transgender students to Ochanomizu Women’s University.
But one thing that’s not going to be ready in time for 2020? The new Hayao Miyazaki anime film, at least according to the estimate of veteran Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki.
Last Sunday, Suzuki appeared at an event in Tokyo to commemorate the release of his first non-fiction novel, titled Mianmi no Kuni no Kanyada. Since Suzuki will be forever associated with Ghibli’s animated works, while at the event he was also asked about the status of Miyazaki’s upcoming film How Will You Live?, which marks the director’s second time to come back from retirement. Specifically, he was asked when the movie will be released, to which he replied:
“I’m not exactly sure. In about three or four years. That’s the pace it’s progressing at. We’re taking the production very seriously. We’re doing things we were never able to do in the past. It will be a good film, so please look forward to it.”
That’s a long wait for ravenous Ghibli fans, especially since “three or four years from now” is the same estimate fans were given in October of last year, meaning that it’s possible that the original projection really should have been four to five years. Still, Suzuki’s comment that Studio Ghibli, whose dedication to their craft is second to none, is taking the production seriously is enough to fill any fan’s heart with confidence, and his promise that the studio is doing things they’ve never done before should also be reassuring to any detractors who feel the house that Miyazaki built has become a bit stale in its storytelling.
As for Suzuki’s new novel, it deals with a single mother living in rural Thailand. When asked if there’s any chance of Miyazaki one day directing an anime adaptation, Suzuki laughed and said “There’s no way that’ll happen! I told everyone at the office not to tell him about the book’s existence, because I think he’d say ‘What are you doing not working on the film?’”
The longer wait for How Will You Live? means that the fourth Rebuild of Evangelion movie will be able to enjoy that much more of the spotlight if it makes its announced 2020 release, thus preventing the film from creator Hideaki Anno, one of the few animators Miyazaki has expressed a personal admiration of, from competing with the Ghibli anime. And if you really need some new Miyazaki anime before his feature film finally makes it to theaters, there’s always his new short, Boro the Caterpillar, playing at the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo (which also happens to be hiring).