Hayao Miyazaki's Boro the Caterpillar Arrives in July

Hayao Miyazaki's latest short film, Boro the Caterpillar (Kemushi no Boro) will debut this July at the Ghibli Museum in Japan. The eagerly-awaited movie marks the celebrated director's return to animation after The Wind Rises and his much-publicized retirement from feature film directing. The news was announced by Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki, spoke at the Niconico Chokaigi 2017 convention this Saturday.

Boro is also known to feature computer graphics animation, although what form this shall take remains a mystery. On The Never-Ending Man, NHK's recent documentary program, Miyazaki was shown creating his drawings the old fashioned way, with pencil and paper. A modern tablet was the only nod given to today's technology, which Miyazaki-san famously and stubbornly resists.

Many people are not aware that Studio Ghibli has long experimented with computer animation, albeit in a supporting role, while hand-drawn animation remained dominant. As CG animation has become the overwhelming favorite of moviegoers around the world, Japan remains a fierce holdout for the old artform. Any future evolution of anime will likely continue to combine pencils and computers in their wholly unique way.

So where does that leave Hayao Miyazaki? My own personal gut feeling -- and this really is nothing more than that -- is that Boro the Caterpillar will feature elements of both traditional and computer animation. Anyone expecting Studio Ghibli to suddenly morph into Pixar will likely be disappointed. Perhaps this will be closer to Yoshiyuki Momose's celebrated Capsule music videos, or the experimental styles of Ghiblies Episode 2? Or will this movie resemble Goro Miyazaki's Ronja the Robber's Daughter?

July approaches, and expectations are high. Anything could happen. Let us hope Boro marks the renaissance of Studio Ghibli, not its swan song.

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