Since 2005, filmmaker Kaku Arakawa had been closely following Oscar-winning anime auteur Hayao Miyazaki, going behind the scenes of some of his best-loved works, including Ponyo (2008).
When Miyazaki announced his retirement in 2013, Arakawa had his doubts about the director’s intentions to call it a day and continued to stick around and frequently visit and chat with him. It proved to be a smart move on Arakawa’s part, as it led to this documentary about Miyazaki’s return to work on the short film Boro the Caterpillar.
Shot without a crew, using a single handheld camera, Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki is an insightful, personal look at the aging master of anime as he takes on the challenge of creating a film using CGI, while coming to terms with the realisation of his mortality as an “old geezer” – as he often refers to himself.
Throughout the 70-minute film we get to see Miyazaki in his home, drinking coffee and smoking a lot, while philosophising on the vastly changing technical world of animation.
Arakawa rightfully keeps a low profile throughout, allowing Miyazaki’s voice and his interactions with those around him – including the team of young, ambitious CGI artists – to carry the film.
It beautifully illustrates two supposedly opposing worlds (one of the talent of drawing by hand, the other of technological advancement), coming together to find a common ground in order to realise the vision of a man who knows no limits and who is not quite ready yet to step away from the world of anime. Reviewed by Spencer Lloyd Peet
Release: 3 & 4 June 2017
Format: TV Broadcast (NHK World)
Age Rating: U