Fans of Japanese animation were hit by the news that the world famous Studio Ghibli is closing production. The company was founded fully in the year of 1985 after the success ‘Nausicaä: valley of the wind’ brought them in the previous year. It then went on to produce such classics and favourites as ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ and the Oscar winning ‘Spirited Away’.
Toshio Suzuki last night announced live on Japanese television that the company would be closing it’s productions and now continuing as a single person company with only himself handling copyright issues. The reasons cited so far have been high production cost and the poor box office reception of recent releases such as ‘When Marnie was there’ which was released in Japan on the 19th of last month but still has no international release date. Also the retirement of their head writer Hayao Miyazaki last year was said to have had some impact on the decision as Suzuki said simply, “How do you replace him?”.
It is unclear whether this is a permanent move or just buying time for a change in strategy but the public and cyber outcry from their fans will be imminent and heartfelt, as Ghibli’s whimsical and heartfelt stories told in such a unique artistic style had such a resounding effect on this generation.
We will look at this story in more depth later with our article ‘Studio Ghibli: when the magic ends’ due this week.