Fanciful stories told in a painterly, hand-crafted, under-animated water-color style, wide-eyed urchins and tykes, bucolic settings, Japanese settings, Japanese girls in school uniforms and an odd fixation of girls’ panties, his films took root in this country from “My Neighbor Totoro” onward — “Spirited Away,” “Ponyo” — modest hits here, beloved by the cult of anime fans and thus, big on home video.
Now the great Miyazaki is retiring, still maintaining some presence at his famed Studio Ghibli, which is his legacy, but no longer dealing with the rigors of these years-long projects. He is 72. His last film as director will be “The Wind Rises,” his 24th as director.
A sad day for animation fans the world over.