How Do You Live? All About Hayao Miyazaki’s Last Swansong

The master of magical realism is back for the last time to take us all to a whimsical Ghibli ride!

If you’ve delved into Japanese literature, you’ll likely recognize its prevalent philosophical essence. “How do you live?” is no exception as well. It carries a profoundly simple yet straightforward message for children: How do you choose to live your life?

If you find yourself confused about what we’re referring to, Don’t worry! We’ll explore all there is to know about Hayao Miyazaki’s last movie How Do You Live? If that sounds intriguing to you make sure to read this article till the end!

How Do You Live | AnimeNewsNetwork

Inspiration Behind How Do You Live?

“How Do You Live?” is a film adaptation of Hayao Miyazaki’s favorite childhood book with the same title. The book, written by popular Japanese writer Genzaburo Yoshino and translated into English by Neil Gaiman, is considered a cult classic in Japan.

The story focuses on a series of philosophical conversations and events between a young boy named Copper and his thoughtful uncle. They live in a Tokyo suburb and Copper, being young is always curious about “Westernized Japan“.

Studio Ghibli | Tenor

You must be wondering why the main character has such an unusual name. Well, Copper takes his nickname from the renowned Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. In the book, the young boy admires Copernicus’s courage regarding the heliocentric model of the solar system.

The story unfolds, when we as readers get to know, that before his death, Copper’s father asks his wife’s younger brother to ensure that his son becomes “a great man“. He wanted his son to be a fine example of a human being. Thus, his uncle’s only aim is to impart essential values of life to the boy.

Studio Ghibli | Tenor

Hayao Miyazaki’s Last Hand-Drawn Animation

It’s hard to overstate our appreciation for Hayao Miyazaki’s ability to evoke emotions. His larger-than-life animation and serene yet nostalgic scenes give us all types of feelings. “How Do You Live?” continues the legacy of Studio Ghibli.

The maestro Hayao Miyazaki himself drew all the art by hand. Which is in our opinion an extreme yet rewarding thing for fans of Studio Ghibli movies. As Miyazaki’s final movie, it’s set to be truly magical, with a heavy dose of philosophy, magical realism, and the “Ghibli Effect” that the studio is renowned for.

Studio Ghibli | Tenor

What to Expect From “How Do You Live”?

“How Do You Live?” is likely to delve ONLY into the philosophical aspects of the original book. Hayao Miyazaki’s fondness for literature is evident in all of his works. He often draws inspiration from cozy, cottage-core yet philosophical books.

Miyazaki infuses them with his own magical realism charm (which is something truly creative). If you’ve seen films like “When Marnie Was There,” “Grave of the Fireflies,” or even “Arrietty,” you’ll understand how Studio Ghibli has a way of capturing the grave realities of life while presenting audiences with something meaningful and whimsical.

Studio Ghibli | Tenor

Is This The End of an Era?

Sadly YES! As its Hayao Miyazaki’s last movie for Studio Ghibli fans. Miyazaki’s departure from Studio Ghibli leaves us with a bittersweet feeling. However, his legacy will undoubtedly be cherished for years to come. “How Do You Live?” promises to create amazing memories for Studio Ghibli fans.

We will be able to relish in the Oscar-winning art style, serene storytelling, and philosophical takeaways. It’s hard to find a Studio Ghibli film that doesn’t leave a lasting and emotional impact. From cherishing Kiki’s first flight to experiencing Chihiro’s encounters with spirits, from shedding tears for Setsuko to singing along with Totoro, Studio Ghibli has given us unforgettable experiences that will forever hold a special place in our hearts.

Ghibli’s Totoro | Tenor

Our Final Verdict on “How Do You Live”?

You already know our answer! We completely understand your anticipation and mixed feelings about Hayao Miyazaki’s last legendary movie. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that this will be the final masterpiece from the maestro of animation.

As avid Studio Ghibli fans, we too eagerly await this one last ride with our beloved Totoro, Hayao Miyazaki! If you enjoy whimsical tales or what we like to call the “Ghibli Effect,” we highly recommend reading our article on To Your Eternity. And for those who are fans of shonen anime (like us), We suggest giving Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War a read.


Zrish Khan

Zrish is a passionate critic in the world of anime, manga/manhwa, and KPop. She offers in-depth insights that illuminate the nuances of these genres with deep analysis. With a keen eye for detail, her reviews take readers on an enlightening journey through both classic and contemporary series.