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Hayao Miyazaki is getting ready to make a final spell

by Stewart Cole

STUDIO GHIBLI MAY NEVER EXIST if Suzuki, now 73, had not found a way to overcome Miyazaki’s anger. The two men met in 1979, when, as the editor of a cartoon magazine, Suzuki showed up at Miyazaki’s workplace for an interview. (I’m talking to Suzuki in a separate online session, in which he is as conspicuous as Miyazaki avoids.) for “tearing up children” by making them buy his magazine. Instead of giving up, Suzuki snatched the office next to Miyazaki and started working for the magazine there. The men sat hunched over without talking all day and all night, until Miyazaki finally got up to go home at 4 in the morning. He told Suzuki he would be back at 9 in the morning, and so Suzuki was back then. Another day passed in silence. Only on the third day did Miyazaki start talking.

Thus was born a friendship that would turn into a familiar creative collaboration: For his next film, Nausica√§ of the Valley of the Wind, Miyazaki consulted Suzuki on issues ranging from the complexity of the design style to the final scene, which he convinced Suzuki. to change him (in the first version, the heroine just dies, something that Suzuki believed deprived the audience of cleansing). After the release of the film, Suzuki realized that it would have to open its own studio because no one else would pay the bill for such labor-intensive productions. Although he has held various positions at Studio Ghibli over the decades (including president and currently producer), his real role is as Miyazaki’s confidant and advisor. They talked almost every day and now they meet once a week – during my conversation with Miyazaki, he notes that Suzuki is sitting next to him, off screen, urging him to finish his new film, which has taken four years so far. – and when they disagree on an idea, Suzuki, at least on its own account, tends to win.

Suzuki tells me that when Miyazaki came to him a little over a year after he retired to tell him he wanted to make another movie, “I was like, ‘Give me a break.’ She tried to stop him, suggesting that Miyazaki’s best film job was behind him When his latest film, The Wind Rises, was released in 2013, it did well at the box office, but fell short of its previous four films, perhaps because it was directly responsible for it. Japan’s war, another embarrassing issue, but eventually Suzuki backed down because, he says, “Studio Ghibli’s purpose is to make Miyazaki films.” So what happens when Miyazaki retires permanently? The 54-year-old has made a number of studio films, including “Earwig and the Witch”, which was released in the United States last winter, with mostly critics who had fewer problems with the film itself than with the break. o of the Ghibli tradition. (Miyazaki’s youngest son, Keisuke, 51, is an engraver.)


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