At just over an hour, Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki is a rare opportunity to watch Studio Ghibli’s master at work as Miyazaki comes out of a temporary retirement to experiment with CGI animation.
It appears director Kaku Arakawa made this documentary without much of a motivation in mind. It’s much more of an observational piece in the sense that it captures day-to-day life while waiting patiently for something great to happen. Arakawa recognizes that his premise has potential and momentum, as he should. 72-year-old Hayao Miyazaki is the legendary Oscar-winning storyteller behind animated classics such as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away, and the idea of him not only wanting to continue his career but also challenge himself with a contemporary medium is certainly an event to chronicle.
Viewers watching Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki will be tickled to watch the creation of an original film (even though the doc never shows us the finished product), and Miyazaki is an interesting person to behold as we watch the filmmaker in his most organic, bold, and insecure elements. He also has an infectious energy that brightens up the tension and distracts us from the doc’s choppy editing.
What can’t be ignored, however, is how the documentary runs itself thin. Even Miyazaki is aware of this too. The more he acknowledges the camera capturing monotony, the more the audience notices that the humble subject is trying to give Kaku Arakawa a clue.
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