Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki, largely referred to as Japan's Walt Disney, both for his kindly public demeanor and the fact that he's made a collection of stone cold animated classics (among them "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Spirited Away"), held a press conference in Tokyo to confirm that, yes, he is retiring and yes, you should be really, really, ridiculously sad. Still (silver lining alert): he hopes to maintain a presence at Studio Ghibli, the production company that he founded. 

"I'd like to work for at least 10 more years, but I think that making feature films is no longer my job," Miyazaki said. The filmmaker has made the same claim at least twice before, something that he acknowledged. "I'm going to be free. At the same time, as long as I can drive my car to the studio, I'll go. If there are things I want to do, then I will," Miyazaki said.

The animator, a meticulous perfectionist, “would take six or seven years. I’m going to be 73 years old and I would be 80 by the end.” He then joked that he might become a permanent exhibit at the studio's Ghibli Museum, a place we have every intention of visiting should we find ourselves in the area (following our walking tour of "Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift" filming locations).

Miyazaki's latest (and ultimately last) film, "The Wind Rises," premiered at Venice to raves (including our own), will screen at the just-kicked-off Toronto Film Festival and play the New York Film Festival soon. The film will get a theatrical release from Disney sometime next year.