We have some major but very sad news out of Japan where Hayao Miyazaki, the animation genius, has announced that he is set to retire. His upcoming film, The Wind Rises, will be his last animated movie.

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Hayao Miyazaki, is undeniably one of the greatest director of animated movies of all time.  Acclaimed the world over for lovingly directed films such as Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle and many others. While his box office was nearly all Japanese, he has a loyal and growing fan base here in the United States as well, including nearly ever animator we’ve ever met.  John Lasseter refers to Miyazaki as his God.

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His last movie Kaze TachinuThe Wind Rises in english – is currently in competition at Venice Film Festival where the movie was acclaimed after the screening. Miyazaki, 72, couldn’t attend Venice film festival but he announced that a press conference will be organized soon in Japan where “The Wind Rises” has already been released to huge success.

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“The Wind Rises” told the true story of a plane engineer – Jiro Horikoshi – who designed the famous war plane Mitsubishi “Zero” that was used by the Japanese during WW II. When he was a child, Jiro dreamed to fly and to design planes inspired by those of Italian engineer Italo Caproni. Because he couldn’t be a pilot, due to his myopia, he landed in the engineering division in 1927 and became one of the most brilliant airplane designers in the world. He then fell in love with Nahoko, a young woman that he previously encountered in a chance meeting years before.

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Hayao Miyazaki wrote and directed the film based upon a manga comic book by Tatsuo Hori. It recounts major points in the 20th century, including the 1923 earthquake at Kanto, the Great Depression, the deadly tuberculosis epidemic and the entrance of Japan in World War II.

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“The Wind Rises” will be released in Europe and in the U.S in 2014 and appears to be an epic animated movie. I may be wrong, but i have the feeling that Miyazaki has created an epic romantic movie set in among historic events, along the lines of “Doctor Zhivago”. As a huge fan of Miyazaki myself, I can’t wait to see “The Wind Rises,” but I’m filled with sorrow that he is retiring. Below, you’ll find the trailer for his last film.

If you’ve never watched any of Miyazaki animated movies, and you are a lover of animation, you MUST see these films. All of them are masterpieces, but my personal favorites are “Spirited Away” and “Princess Mononoke”. To have a genius of this altitude announcing that he will not direct anymore is a great loss. Hopefully, his Studio Ghibli will continue to produce animated movies, much as the Walt Disney Company carried on without Walt. But no one can replace a genius 2D animation director like Miyazaki. It’s the end of an era.

Are you a Miyazaki fan? How did this news strike you? What are your favorite Studio Ghibli films?