“Retirement” is often a synonym for a “long break” or an “artistic vacay” for creatives who insist they’re done doing what they do best. Steven Soderbergh is re-emerging from his “retirement” next week with Logan Lucky, and Hayao Miyazaki is on his way to returning to filmmaking (again) after retiring. But even if you were skeptical about the master animator’s return, have no fear because today brings some more solid proof.
Watching the fanciful films of Studio Ghibli, it’s all too easy to imagine yourself transported to these far-off worlds of fantasy. The universe created by animation heads Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata feel simultaneously cozy and adventurous, practically inviting you to take a ride on My Neighbor Totoro’s catbus, pig out at the enchanted buffet (pun intended) of Spirited Away, or goof around with the cute little forest spirits in Princess Mononoke. That dream has now inched closer to reality, as worthy competition emerges to rival the insane-sounding Avatar theme park that opened earlier this week.
How do you say “sike!” in Japanese? Master animator and Studio Ghibli cofounder Hayao Miyazaki dun got us again, totally convincing us that he was really retiring this time by saying things like “I am done making movies” and “This time is for real.” We believed him like a bunch of fools when he announced a “semi-retirement” following the completion of Princess Mononoke, we believed him when he said he wanted to call it quits after Spirited Away, and we believed him back in 2013, when he declared The Wind Rises to be his final feature. The Boy Who Cried Not Making Any More Movies has pulled the same trick on us all again, with the news that he’ll un-retire one more time for a new feature called Boro the Caterpillar.
Given how much space physical media takes up, it’s hard for movie buffs to say no to the great promise of “cloud storage,” and the idea that we could summon anything we want to watch with just a couple of clicks. But so far, reality hasn’t matched the hype. Streaming services have been focused on exclusives and original programming, to the extent that the only way to have access to everything available is to spend hundreds of dollars a month on subscription fees. Meanwhile, older films keep disappearing from the digital archives; and even items that cinephiles “own” sometimes become inaccessible whenever software updates or a site shutters.