Unlike many recent huge studio releases (especially anime films), little has been revealed about Studio Ghibli's upcoming How Do You Live? That isn't by chance; famed filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki has purposefully kept details about his latest epic under wraps—apparently for good cause.

According to Miyazaki, audiences enjoy that element of mystery, and over-promotion of a film may really be harmful. As a result, the small piece of information that has been given about his enigmatic new picture is all the more intriguing. The fact that it will apparently be Miyazaki's final picture adds to the excitement, and considering the history he has made with Studio Ghibli, fans can be quite confident that he will go out with a bang.


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

Everything We Know About Studio Ghibli's How Do You Live?_0

How Do You Live? is named after a book by Genzaburo Yushino of the same name, first published in 1937. The book is about a young boy named Copper, an introspective boy who seeks understanding following his father's death. Thanks to a mixture of life experience and guidance from his uncle, Copper learns a series of valuable lessons that help shape him into a better person.

Yushino's novel is said to have had a tremendous impression on Hayao Miyazaki as a boy, thus the fact that it has continued to inspire him later in life is a remarkable testimonial to the story's power. The premise of the film has not been confirmed, however Miyazaki has stated that the book How Do You Live? will be essential to the main character, and the film will be a coming-of-age story. Apart from that, the only other detail Miyazaki has revealed about the film's plot came in an interview with the New York Times, when he indicated that it will be "fantasy on a grand scale," as if that wasn't already a given given the title.

While he hasn't shared any more specific details, Miyazaki has been willing to talk about his motivations for creating this final project. In a 2019 interview with Japanese TV network NHK, he explained: "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." When taking into account the subject of the book How Do You Live?, this statement is given added context. In an age of uncertainty full of misinformation, heightened social tension, and hatred spewing from all sides of the political spectrum, simply learning to care for others in spite of oneself as Copper does in the book is definitely a message that many people need to hear. Knowing Miyazaki though, it's pretty much guaranteed that he will put his own surreal spin on the story, likely providing it with even greater relevance for today.


Hayao Miyazaki Had One More to Add to His Legacy

Everything We Know About Studio Ghibli's How Do You Live?_1

Hayao Miyazaki is the co-founder of Studio Ghibli and Academy Award-winning director of many of the studio's most famous films, including Kiki's Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away. Miyazaki's approach to filmmaking is generally unique, and known for his attention to detail in animation and his free-form method of working out a plot. Simply put, he doesn't start out with a story; instead, he begins by drawing out an interesting image and then slowly building from there. For Miyazaki, it's all about capturing attention with an intriguing visual scene and then creating a story around that image. Often, he won't even have a script at all, instead opting to just follow the story as it goes to see where it'll end up.

Miyazaki famously went into retirement in 2013 after his work on The Wind Rises but decided to return for one more film simply because he felt there were things he still hadn't tried yet. Given his storied history of creating iconic characters, it should come as no surprise that Miyazaki is willing to try something different and push the boundaries of what animation—and now marketing—is capable of with his final project.


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

Everything We Know About Studio Ghibli's How Do You Live?_2

How Do You Live? is coming to theaters in Japan on July 14th, 2023. There hasn't been an official announcement about when it will be released in other countries, but that shouldn't come as a surprise given the lack of marketing for the film in general. Originally slated for a 2020 release, the film was pushed back both due to COVID, and due to the meticulous method of hand drawing animation the film features.

Studio Ghibli began working on this film in 2016, with Toshio Suzuki telling Entertainment Weekly that only around 36 minutes of screen time had been completed after three years in production. According to him, "We have 60 animators, but we are only able to come up with 1 minute of animation per month. That means 12 months a year, and you get 12 minutes of movie."

Studio Ghibli's last release was 2020's Earwig and the Witch, a movie that was heavily criticized for its CG animation style which was a far cry from what fans came to love about Ghibli's prior releases. How Do You Live? looks to be a return to form for the animation studio, as though Miyazaki wanted to set things right one more time before retiring for good. Judging by the small amount of information that has been revealed about it so far, How Do You Live? looks to be a welcome entry for the beloved animation studio and a triumphant farewell to an artist that many deem as Japan's greatest animated filmmaker.