Did you hear Hayao Miyazaki is retiring? Bummer! Thing is, this isn't the first time we've heard that Miyazaki is retiring. In fact, he's officially quit Studio Ghibli before, only to return.
As a couple Japanese Twitter users have pointed out, Miyazaki has "retired" several times—five times by some people's count or once every three years by others. (Note: all of these were certainly not official and some of them were either hinted at or pure speculation.)
Miyazaki has, however, officially left Ghibli before. In January 1998, after a grueling Princess Mononoke production with Miyazaki personally overseeing 144,000 animation cells and redrawing, by some estimates, eighty thousand of them, Miyazaki formally left Studio Ghibli and created another studio called "Butaya," which was, as Nausicaa.net noted, his "retirement place." He didn't stray far, though. Butaya was located very close to his old studio. Here is a look:
The building's name is "Atelier Nibariki," with nibariki (二馬力) meaning "2 horsepower" in Japanese and referring to the "two tax horsepower" of the Citroën 2CV.
Here is Miyaaki driving and parking said Citroën 2CV.
Dubbed "Senior Ghibli" before it was erected, Atelier Nibariki became Miyazaki's studio—and classroom. While at Butaya, Miyazaki created a manga based on the exploits of Otto Carius, held a weekly class to teach young animators, and other activities, including making animated short films.
In late 1998, a member of the Nausicaa.net forum apparently interviewed Miyazaki and visited Butaya, writing: "My poor English cannot express well enough how beautiful the studio was. It was a simple, warm, bright, spacious, and fun place. There was a little bridge in the air, going from one room in the second floor to another room."
The following year, he officially returned to Studio Ghibli. Nibariki is now often used for interviews.
Even if Miyazaki is finally retiring for once and all, hopefully he'll occupy himself with creating another manga and passing along his knowledge to younger filmmakers—you know, what he wanted to do with Butaya.
豚 屋 [山田 建築研究所」
2CV [Whispers from Totoro]
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