by Marc Saint-Cyr
The newest film from beloved anime director Hayao Miyazaki is always an event worth keeping track of, but it seems like this time there is more in the works than yet another innocent, family-friendly fantasia like "My Neighbor Totoro," "Spirited Away" or "Ponyo." According to a recent piece from the Anime News Network, Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki has recently described Miyazaki's next project as "not the sort of work everyone in the audience can relax and watch." The new film will be an autobiographical one, though whether it will be based on Miyazaki's life or someone else's still remains unclear. Either way, this almost certainly indicates that Miyazaki will be adopting a more realistic approach than those he has taken in the past. Also worth noting is the fact that the project is not directly inspired by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami, since Miyazaki had apparently predicted the current state of Japanese society while planning the film. Regardless, it is notable that he is taking this different route in his work for his first effort following the terrible events of this past spring, as if to try to create something more appropriate and serious in this new chapter of healing that Japan is currently facing. It will certainly be interesting to see what this fresh effort from Miyazaki will eventually look like.