Miyazaki has announced his retirement before, notably after releasing Princess Mononoke in 1997.
“There was a time when we both had passion for our work,” Miyazaki later says, referring to himself and Takahata.
Miyazaki is often likened to Walt Disney, and on a superficial level, the comparison makes a certain kind of sense.
He does not admit it, but Miyazaki likely sees the resemblance between himself and Horikoshi as well.
Miyazaki is frank in his interviews with Sunada, whom he allows to tag along to his studio, his garden, and his private atelier.
And then, as the tremors begin to subside, Miyazaki cuts to a close-up of the ground: gray pebbles, a green weed.
Another reason The Wind Rises is so sad is that it seems to be a story about Miyazaki himself.
And when asked whether he worries about Studio Ghibli after he and Takahata retire, Miyazaki is frank.