Watch Hayao Miyazaki Animate the Final Shot of His Final Feature Film, The Wind Rises

Hayao Miyaza­k­i’s The Wind Ris­es came out in 2013 to a great deal of acclaim and attention—as, I sup­pose, do all the movies his Stu­dio Ghi­b­li puts out, so painstak­ing­ly have they built up their rep­u­ta­tion for medi­um-tran­scend­ing depth, artistry, crafts­man­ship, and atten­tion to detail. But that fic­tion­al­ized bio­graph­i­cal sto­ry of Japan­ese World War II air­plane design­er Jiro Horikos­ki received even more notice than most due not just to the con­tro­ver­sial nature of its mate­r­i­al, but to its place as Miyaza­k­i’s sup­posed swan song, the last fea­ture film he would ever direct.

Then again, Hayao Miyaza­ki has spo­ken of many pos­si­ble retire­ments over the years, and no longer ani­mat­ing fea­ture films hard­ly means the end of his all-con­sum­ing impulse to cre­ate, which dri­ves him to con­tin­ue work­ing on Toky­o’s Ghi­b­li Muse­um and draw­ing the art for com­ic books, among oth­er projects. Cer­tain Miyaza­ki asso­ciates have pub­licly told us not to be sur­prised if the mas­ter one day emerges from this par­tic­u­lar “retire­ment,” but since the man him­self seems quite seri­ous about putting full-length pic­tures behind him, we can assume for now that the clip above shows him at work on the last bit of film ani­ma­tion in his career: The Wind Ris­es’ final shot.

The footage comes from last year’s The King­dom of Dreams and Mad­ness, a doc­u­men­tary on a moment in the life of Stu­dio Ghibli—and pos­si­bly one of the last moments in the life of Stu­dio Ghi­b­li, giv­en their announce­ment of a “brief pause” pro­duc­tion as a result of Miyaza­k­i’s retire­ment. On the sub­ject of the stu­dio’s future Miyaza­ki speaks blunt­ly in the doc­u­men­tary: “The future is clear: it’s going to fall apart. I can already see it. What’s the use wor­ry­ing? It’s inevitable.” But all things do, a fact which the finest works of Japan­ese art—Miyazaki’s films included—have always accept­ed. But they also take notice of what small things we can appre­ci­ate along the way to dis­so­lu­tion, as does Miyaza­ki him­self: “Isn’t ani­ma­tion fas­ci­nat­ing?” he asks, seem­ing­ly to him­self, as he walks away from the draw­ing board.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hayao Miyazaki’s Mag­i­cal Ani­mat­ed Music Video for the Japan­ese Pop Song, “On Your Mark”

Watch Sher­lock Hound: Hayao Miyazaki’s Ani­mat­ed, Steam­punk Take on Sher­lock Holmes

How to Make Instant Ramen Com­pli­ments of Japan­ese Ani­ma­tion Direc­tor Hayao Miyaza­ki

Col­in Mar­shall writes on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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