Hayao Miyazaki has been making overtures towards stepping back from making anime for decades. At one point 1995's Whisper of the Heart and 1997's Princess Mononoke looked like a baton being passed, leading into a swan song.
So, it's not just denial about losing that revered director causing some to second guess his September retirement announcement. Partner and Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata (Grave of Fireflies, Pom Poko) is one of the people who isn't too sure about what the future holds.
After eight years of effort and a budget of 5 billion yen, Takahata's Princess Kaguya finally hits Japanese theaters on November 23rd.
During a press conference, the subject of Miyazaki's retirement came up. Speaking about his sworn friend, Takahata acknowledged "he may mean what he's saying this time, but he can also change his mind."
When asked to elaborate on what he thought of Miyazaki's plans, Takahata kept his response neutral.