Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki (2018) [Blu-Ray]

“Never-Ending Man” is a meaningful documentary that explores the thoughts and ideas of Hayao Miyazaki that we can’t really find anywhere else. While some may go in to this expecting a more biographical and fluffy film about the man and his life, Kaku Arakawa seeks to give us more of a thoughtful and subtler peek in to the man, who is late in to his career and his life.

In 2013, revolutionary animator and Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, suddenly announced his retirement. Still anxious to create and animate, Miyazaki embarks on a new short film project using CGI and computer animation he’s never seen. Miyazaki, who has been adamant about hand-drawn animation, confronts many challenges that threaten to cancel the film when he finds it hard to wrap his head around the new system, as well as its inability to bring to life what he imagines.

“Never Ending Man” is a very quiet albeit compelling documentary that brings us in to a personal eye to eye perspective with the man known as Miyazaki. Much of what he thinks and feels is surprising, as he spends a lot of his time savoring in solitude, but also values much of the partnerships and alliances he’s made since he was a young animator. The most fascinating material involves Miyazaki discussing how he’s often felt out of place in the world, as well as his unusual feeling that he should have died long before his dear friends. This especially becomes daunting when he receives word that one of his best friends has passed away, causing him to contemplate the fleeting feelings of existence, and ponder on why he’s still on the Earth.

“Never-Ending Man” is about a man who is living in a world that’s changing faster than someone used to the old ways can keep up with. It’s a poetic documentary about creating, collaborating, and how much the medium of art has evolved.

The release from Shout! Factory features a DVD Copy of the film, and the alternate 48 minute version of the documentary (apart from the seventy minute theatrical version) with English narration, along with new footage injected. There are also theatrical trailers, including the original trailer for the movie. For better access there are optional subtitles for Spanish and French audiences.