Studio Ghibli Isn't Dead... Yet

Ever since Studio Ghibli’s co-founder Hayao Miyazaki retired last year after his extraordinary swan song The Wind Rises, there have been rumours that the anime studio’s days were numbered.

Although initial reports this morning that the Studio had shut down and was "sadly no more" were premature – the Japanese distinction between ‘pause’ and ‘stop’ was apparently lost in translation (thanks to Variety for pointing that out) – it seems like the world’s most famous anime studio will be temporarily pausing, and significantly changing the way it operates.

Studio Ghibli was founded in 1985 by Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke) and Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies) after the success of 1984’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Over the past 30 years it has defined Japanese animation with exquistiely realised fantasies, narratives, and features that have seen critical and popular acclaim the world over.

But the Studio has recently faced a bunch of problems: they haven’t been good at fostering new talent to replace the ageing Miyazaki’s and Takahta’s. Promising newcomers have either left the company or died. Also, they’ve refused to outsource their animation in order to cut costs, unlike a lot of other Japanese anime studios. This has made their production costs extremely high – The Wind Rises hasn’t even made a profit yet, despite having made over $90m.

Whatever the future holds for Studio Ghibli, they’ve still got one film which hasn’t got an international release date yet: When Marnie Was There. Let’s hope it won’t be their last.

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