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Hayao Miyazaki's How Do You Live - What We Know So Far

Founded in 1985 by Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, Toshio Suzuki, and Yasuyoshi Tokuma, Studio Ghibli is one of the most venerated animation studios in the world. Ghibli has produced beloved classics like "My Neighbor Totoro," "Grave of the Fireflies," and "Howl's Moving Castle," endearing them to fans and critics alike. Ghibli is also known for its inventive collaborations with other studios. In 2016 they partnered with Germany's Wild Bunch to produce "The Red Turtle," which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature (via IMDb). Earlier this year, Ghibli teamed up with LucasFilm on "Zen," a short film for Disney+ that focused on Grogu, also known as Baby Yoda.

Perhaps no director is more synonymous with Studio Ghibli than Miyazaki, who has helmed some of the studio's most lauded and recognizable films. Now, Miyazaki is returning to the director's chair to make his next film, tentatively titled "How Do You Live."

When will How Do You Live be released?

With Hayao Miyazaki's detail-oriented, hands-on approach to filmmaking, it's no surprise that production work on the director's films is often a lengthy labor of love. "How Do You Live" is no exception. At the Niconico Chōkaigi convention in 2017, Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki confirmed that Miyazaki had begun work on the storyboards in 2016 (via Anime News Network).

After three and a half years, the film was about 15% complete, with Miyazaki reportedly directing a minute of animation every month. "With the production of this new film, we're experimenting with having no established deadline," said Suzuki. "I'm looking forward to how that comes through in the work." The film's release was at one point meant to coincide with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Now, Deadline reports that "How Do You Live" is officially scheduled for release on July 14, 2023, in Japan. There's no word yet on when the film will arrive in the United States. Miyazaki's last film, "The Wind Rises," was released in July 2013 in Japan and February 2014 in the United States, so "How Do You Live" could conceivably appear stateside within a similar time frame.

What is the plot of How Do You Live?

"How Do You Live" is based on Genzaburo Yoshino's 1937 novel of the same name. The book, an English translation of which was published in 2020, follows a 15-year-old boy in Tokyo named Junichi Honda, nicknamed Koperu after the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. The boy, whose father had died, has a close relationship with his uncle. It's hard to say how far Miyazaki will stray from the novel. His 2013 film "The Wind Rises" was ostensibly a biopic about engineer Jiro Horikoshi, but Miyazaki played fast and loose with factual events.

The source text seems to be in keeping with Miyazaki's preferred themes — that is, an affection for adventurous child protagonists and all things fantastical. Studio Ghibli also shared a sketch of a blue-and-white bird on Twitter, indicating that "How Do You Live" could invoke past Miyazaki interests like naturalism and flight.

Producer Toshio Suzuki teased a non-human character — also par for the course in Miyazaki films — and called "How Do You Live" a "fantasy on a grand scale" (via The New York Times).

Who is starring in How Do You Live?

Studio Ghibli has yet to announce the Japanese voice cast for "How Do You Live." Seeing as the English language version of the film likely won't arrive until months after the Japanese version, the voice actors for the English dub haven't been revealed yet either.

Studio Ghibli has employed dozens of esteemed Japanese voice actors over the years, including famed drag queen Akihiro Miwa. The animation studio has also attracted an impressive roster of A-list English-speaking stars, especially when it first partnered with Disney in the late 1990s. Disney brought in Billy Crudup and Claire Danes to voice the characters in "Princess Mononoke." Since then, Christian Bale, Mark Hamill, Liam Neeson, and even Lauren Bacall have all voiced Ghibli characters. Given that "How Do You Live" is Miyazaki's first film in 10 years, plenty of stars will likely want to be involved in the project.

Who is directing How Do You Live?

"How Do You Live" is directed by Hayao Miyazaki, whose directorial prowess was recently honored in Sight & Sound's Greatest Films of All Time poll. Both "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Spirited Away" earned spots on the coveted list.

"How Do You Live" marks Miyazaki's first directorial effort since 2013's "The Wind Rises." It will be the filmmaker's 12th feature film — and his last, so he says. That said, Miyazaki has been known to tease the end of his filmmaking career time and time again. The director first announced his retirement in the late 1990s before returning to direct the Academy Award-winning "Spirited Away" in 2001, per Deadline. He retired again in 2013, then once more in 2018 when it didn't take.

Producer Toshio Suzuki is skeptical as well. "I don't believe it," he said. "As long as he lives, [Miyazaki] will probably continue to make films" (via Anime News Network). Whether it ends up being Miyazaki's swan song or just another entry in his impressive filmography, "How Do You Live" is not to be missed.