Road Rash Reviews

Never-Ending Man Review*****

Cert U | 70 mins | 2016

5 stars, the man behind the magic.

Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki is directed by Kaku Arakawa and produced by NHK World TV. It is presented here on Dual Format DVD and Blu-ray, in the original Japanese with English subtitles and an alternate 48-minute version with English narration and new footage courtesy of Anime Ltd.

“Just one comment. I’ve caused a stir before by saying I’m quitting. So people don’t believe me. But, this time, I mean it.”

In 2013, Academy Award-winning (2014: Honorary Award; 2002: Best Animated Feature, Spirited Away) film director and Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, creator of such legendary films as Howl’s Moving Castle and My Neighbour Totoro, suddenly announced his retirement.

This fascinating and captivating documentary follows  his journey over the next couple of years. 16 months after his announcement, documentary filmmaker Kaku Arakawa takes his camera to the atelier of Miyazaki to find out what he is up to. He is initially unimpressed at the intrusion,

“Why the camera? I’m retired now.”

although he fairly quickly gets used to the idea! Unsurprisingly, he is still beavering away, just working on doodles for display at the museum he says. However, within another couple of months a new idea has formed. He has a project he wishes to undertake, but cannot draw himself, a short film entitled Boro the Caterpillar.

He takes the monumental decision to turn to his pet hate, C.G.I. in order to realise his dream. He seeks out a C.G.I. team including Yuhei Sakuragi and Yukinori Nakamura to bring Boro to life. To begin with everyone is excited at the project, but soon doubts begin to surface and with little progress being made and Miyazaki demanding his usual exacting standards, the future of the project seems uncertain.

Never-Ending Man is a charming and intimate, yet brutally honest, look at the man responsible for some of the most iconic animation ever. We see the sheer graft that takes place behind the scenes of each film, the level of perfection and hard work that he expects of his animators, but also the love and respect that he commands through the sheer force of his imagination.

His view of the world is straightforward and practical and many people could learn from his work ethic. Even as he admits to being old and unable to focus as he once could, he is unable to give up his need to create.

If I have any complaints about this, I wish it were longer and it would have been awesome to have the finished short Boro the Caterpillar included with the documentary. That aside though, this is a great watch. A must own for Ghibli fans and well worth adding to your collection.

“I think it’s really over. I trained successors, but I couldn’t let it go. I devoured them. I devoured their talent. There was noone left to take over.”

Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki is available to buy now on Dual Format DVD and Blu-ray and will be released on 13th April 2020.

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DirectorKaku Arakawa
GenreBiography, documentary
StarringHayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki, Yuhei Sakuragi, Yukinori Nakamura
Available to buy on : Own Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki on DVD Own Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki on Blu-Ray