JEREMIAH FAJARDO WRITES – After decades in the anime and film industries, Hayao Miyazaki, co-founder of Studio Ghibli, has announced his retirement.

According to The Japan Times, the shocking news came out of the Venice film festival on September 1. Koji Hoshino, head of Studio Ghibli, told reporters that Miyazaki’s latest film, this July’s Kaze Tachinu would be his final work.Miyazaki himself will disclose further details in a press conference on Friday, September 6. Yet, this isn’t the first time he’s “retired” from the director’s seat. Such statements have been made intermittently since 1998, after the completion of Princess Mononoke.

Hayao Miyazaki

Often compared to Walt Disney, Miyazaki’s influence on the world of anime has been invaluable. From Kiki’s Delivery Service to Howl’s Moving Castle, his directorial works are amongst the best regarded in the genre, serving as inspiration for others. Miyazaki’s most well known film is perhaps 2001’s Spirited Away, which has the distinction of being the sole Japanese movie to have won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Though the same announcement has been made many times before, this is likely to be the last. Ryota Fujitsu, a film critic, called the statement “totally understandable.” Miyazaki was a director known for his consistently thorough involvement in his films, regardless of his age. While indeed sad, his stepping down paves the way for new directors to leave their mark on the industry.