Since Studio Ghibli dropped Spirited Away back in 2001, it has gained enormous fame and success for its heartwarming storyline. Despite the anime neatly wrapped up all the dangling threads, fans hope to see Chihiro and Haku back on screen to live up to the promise they made to each other. But is Spirited Away 2 on the horizon? Several rumors surface that suggest the potential next chapter might happen. In fact, the series artist and director has recently disclosed his plans to return with his dream project. Is it related to the next installment of the much-anticipated Spirited Away? Keep reading to know that.
But before that, let’s take a brief look at the Japanese masterpiece Spirited Away, which was written by the famous artist Hayao Miyazaki. It was produced under the banner of Studio Ghibli, which caught the eyes of people of all demos. While the film is stated to be a highly critically acclaimed movie, its narration captivated everyone’s hearts. It follows the struggle of a 10-year-old Chihiro, who accidentally gets trapped in the Spirited World.
After a witch, Yubaba, turns her parents into pigs, Chihiro has no choice but to work in a bathhouse to free her parents. During her quest, she meets several friendly spirits; among them is Hanku, who helps her from time to time. As the movie unfolds, it focuses on Chihiro’s navigation to challenges and gaining the courage to move on in her life. But will she return to explore the next big challenge in Spirited Away 2? Let’s see!
Will There Be Spirited Away 2?
More than two decades have passed since fans last saw the heartwarming anime Spirited Away. It has captured several hearts since its debut in 2001, leading fans to clamor for more. In fact, several rumors have surfaced that hinted at the potential return of the most-loved anime’s sequel, Spirited Away 2. But unfortunately, there’s no official news regarding the same. While there’s a glimmer of hope that the anime will return someday, Studio Ghibli doesn’t have plans for a future sequel.
That’s because the studio is known for not re-exploring its remarkable projects. It has been known to release several critically acclaimed and box-office grosses series. These include Kiki’s Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, and more. But the studio hasn’t yet brought any sequel projects to date. Unlike the other production companies, which give more importance to profit, Studio Ghibli is known for focusing more on its credibility.
But once, the famous director, animator, writer, and artist Hayao Miyazaki had shown interest in returning with a sequel to his hit masterpiece. In the early 2010s, Miyazaki expressed his desire to work on a sequel to Ponyo. But despite his wish, the project got shelved as Studio Ghibli began working on the Kaze Tachinu adaptation- The Wind Rises. It was then released in July 2013. However, this also shows a chance for Spirited Away 2. Someday, the artist might pick up his biggest project ever.
Spirited Away Performed Incredibly Well
There’s no denying that Spirited Away is a masterpiece dropped by the studio. It quickly became a blockbuster hit as soon as it hit the theatre on July 20, 2001. The movie broke all the records and became the highest-grossing movie at the Japanese box office. It managed to collect over $347 million worldwide. The fans loved this movie a lot, and it also received universal acclaim from experts all around the globe.
The movie had a lot of accomplishments, and if we look at its performance, the sequel would have been made long back. It is the only hand-drawn and non-English animated film ever to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards. It is also featured frequently in the list of greatest animated films ever made.
The box-office collection, critical reception, and love from the fans are more than enough reasons for this film to get a sequel, Spirited Away 2. However, the creators decided to stick with its one-movie plan, shunning the possibility of a potential next chapter.
Hayao Miyazaki Came Out Of Retirement To Work On Spirited Away 2
Following the release of The Wind Rises in 2013, Miyazaki dropped the shocking announcement of his retirement. It shattered the entire anime industry. While everyone bid farewell to the director, Studio Ghibli announced they were taking a break from producing feature films. The former President and anime producer, Toshio Suzuki, later clarified that it would be a brief hiatus to re-structure their work. It subsequently gave a little hope that Spirited Away 2 could be possible.
However, years have passed, and it never happened. But after raising several eyebrows and letting them believe that Studio Ghibli would no longer produce any feature film, the studio again surprised its fans. The studio announced Hayao Miyazaki’s return. His coming out of retirement announcement was followed by a feature film news. This quickly sparked rumors suggesting Spirited Away 2 was on the horizon. But again, the anime enthusiasts met with disappointment when the project turned out to be ‘How Do You Live?’
Miyazaki’s Last Project
Sadly, it wasn’t a spinoff or sequel of Spirited Away. The proposed project was presumed to be his last project, axing the chances of Spirited Away 2 return. The movie was initially named How Do You Live? But it was later changed to The Boy And The Heron. The film hit the screen on July 14, 2023, and became a blockbuster hit, focusing on the aftermath of the war. But despite its remarkable performance, Miyazaki hasn’t said a word about the anime, even though it is based on his life lessons. Especially the lessons he had learned after losing his mom in war.
The movie was the first-ever Japanese anime that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. But surprisingly, Miyazaki wasn’t there. That raised several rumors. Some believed the director had finally taken his retirement. Even Studio Ghibli’s vice president for international distribution, Junichi Nishioka, pointed in the same direction. He told Reuters that they believed that after finishing this movie, Miyazaki would say, “I’m done.” Even everyone presumed that he would announce his retirement.
Next Big Lineup
But that isn’t the case. Junichi has recently revealed that Miyazaki is currently working on his next project. Is the following project Spirited Away 2? Well, nothing has been confirmed to date. However, the studio’s VP did say that Miyazaki is not looking forward to his retirement. He is now 83 and is still busy crafting his ideas. Junichi added that “he shows the willingness to create something new.”
Toshio Suzuki also revealed that Miyazaki is ‘obsessed’ with his latest project- could it be Spirited Away 2? The artist has already started working on this big project. Suzuki told Liberation that Miyazaki was “thinking about this next project,” his determination and desire made everyone continue with his project. The director added that he no longer tries to “dissuade Miyazaki.” Junichi also cited that it doesn’t seem like the famous director will announce his retirement anytime soon. He’s started working on this big title, and it won’t be his last film.
Will This New Project Be Spirited Away 2?
Although Studio Ghibli never produced a follow-up film, Miyazaki once showed interest in exploring his big hit. Thus, it suggests that he might return with a sequel project sometime. But again, it stands uncertain. However, with hype around the famous artist’s next project, we believe that it could be Spirited Away 2. If the film returns, it will continue the plot of the 2001 film. After Chihiro escapes the Spirited World, Haku promises to meet her again in the real world.
So, it will ultimately explore the next phase of Chihiro and Haku’s friendship. For the unversed, the movie narrates the story of ten-year-old Chihiro Ogino as she tries to save her parents in the world of Kami. Yubaba, a witch, transformed her parents into pigs after dining at a mysterious restaurant. She meets Haku, a young guy who can also change into a dragon. Haku helps and protects Chihiro as she travels and meets other weird characters in the spirit world.
The movie concluded with Haku promising Chihiro that they would meet again. Chihiro returns to the real world with her parents after defeating the witch in her own game. So now, Spirited Away 2 can focus on the reunion of Haku and Chihiro and give them a happy ending.
Spirited Away 2: Expected Release Date
As of now, nothing has been confirmed. Neither Studio Ghibli nor Hayao Miyazaki has renewed Spirited Away 2. Considering the famous director is working on his next project, it’s likely that he may return with a big surprise for the fans. Given that the studio takes almost two to three years to produce an anime, the sequel might take longer than expected. Speaking of the Spirited Away 2 release date, it stands uncertain.
However, it could return sometime in 2026 if Miyazaki’s next project turns out to be the sequel to Spirited Away. Stay tuned. TechRadar247 will keep you updated.