Everything We Know About Studio Ghibli's How Do You Live?

Renowned filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, known for his masterpiece Spirited Away, is preparing to unveil his final project, which promises to be his most ambitious undertaking yet.

In a departure from the conventional marketing approach seen in many contemporary film releases, particularly within the realm of anime films, Studio Ghibli has maintained an air of secrecy surrounding their upcoming production, How Do You Live? This deliberate strategy can be attributed to Miyazaki himself, who believes that preserving an element of mystery is what captivates fans the most. According to his perspective, excessive promotion may even detract from the overall appeal of the film. As a result, the limited information revealed about this enigmatic masterpiece only amplifies the anticipation surrounding it. The knowledge that this could potentially be Miyazaki's final directorial venture adds to the intrigue, and given the illustrious legacy he has forged with Studio Ghibli, fans can rest assured that his farewell will be nothing short of extraordinary.

The Inspiration Behind How Do You Live? & What's Known About its Plot So Far

The film How Do You Live? takes its name from the eponymous book by Genzaburo Yoshino, initially published in 1937. Yoshino's work follows the journey of a young boy named Copper, who, following his father's passing, embarks on a quest for understanding. Through a combination of life experiences and the guidance of his uncle, Copper learns invaluable lessons that shape his character and foster personal growth.

Hayao Miyazaki's deep connection with Yoshino's book dates back to his childhood, and the fact that it continues to inspire him in his later years is a testament to its enduring impact. While the specific plot of the film remains unconfirmed, Miyazaki has revealed that the book How Do You Live? will hold significance for the protagonist of the movie, shaping it into a coming-of-age tale. Apart from this insight, the only other detail Miyazaki has shared pertains to the grand scale of the fantasy world within the film—an expectation inherent to any Studio Ghibli production.

Though he hasn't disclosed further specifics, Miyazaki has offered insights into his motivations for undertaking this final project. In a 2019 interview with the Japanese TV network NHK, he expressed, "The time we live in is very complicated. It's not that I'm making something adjusted to our time. It's that as a person living in this time, I have found something I should make because of our time." Considering the themes explored in the book How Do You Live?, this statement gains additional significance. In an era characterized by uncertainty, rampant misinformation, and escalating social tensions, learning to empathize and care for others, as Copper does in the book, becomes a crucial message that resonates deeply. With Miyazaki's distinct touch, it is almost certain that he will infuse the story with his own surreal elements, enhancing its relevance for contemporary audiences.

Hayao Miyazaki Had One More to Add to His Legacy

Hayao Miyazaki, the co-founder of Studio Ghibli and an Academy Award-winning director, has left an indelible mark on the world of animation with his renowned films such as Kiki's Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away. Miyazaki's approach to filmmaking is refreshingly distinctive, characterized by his meticulous attention to detail in animation and his unconventional method of developing a plot. Rather than starting with a preconceived story, he begins by creating an intriguing image, using it as a springboard to construct the narrative organically. Scripting is often eschewed in favor of allowing the story to unfold naturally, following its course to discover where it ultimately leads.

In 2013, Miyazaki announced his retirement after completing his work on The Wind Rises. However, he made a surprising return to filmmaking, motivated by his desire to explore new ideas and ventures that had yet to be pursued. Given his illustrious career of crafting iconic characters and narratives, it is not unexpected that Miyazaki is willing to embrace novelty and push the boundaries of animation, as well as the realm of marketing, with his final project.

With his unique artistic sensibilities and a penchant for innovation, Miyazaki's farewell endeavor promises to captivate audiences and further showcase his unparalleled creativity.

How Do You Live?'s Projected Release Date & Production History

How Do You Live? is scheduled to premiere in Japanese theaters on July 14th, 2023. While there has been no official announcement regarding international release dates, it is not surprising considering the limited marketing campaign for the film. Originally intended for a 2020 release, the film faced delays due to the impact of COVID-19 and the meticulous process of hand-drawn animation employed in its creation.

Studio Ghibli embarked on the production of this film in 2016, and according to Toshio Suzuki, the producer, only approximately 36 minutes of screen time had been completed after three years of dedicated work. He shared that with a team of 60 animators, they were able to produce just one minute of animation per month, resulting in a total of 12 minutes in a year.

The studio's previous release was Earwig and the Witch in 2020, which received criticism for its departure from Ghibli's traditional hand-drawn style in favor of CG animation. With How Do You Live?, Studio Ghibli appears to be returning to their artistic roots, perhaps as a final endeavor to honor their legacy before Miyazaki's retirement. Although limited information has been disclosed thus far, the film holds the promise of being a much-anticipated addition to the studio's repertoire and a triumphant farewell from Miyazaki, widely regarded as Japan's preeminent animated filmmaker.

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