Less than a month ago, we wrote about the rumour that Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli might halt production on feature films after the legendary anime film maker and Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyaziki announced his retirement. It was said that the decision for the break was largely due to the fact that their feature films are incredibly expensive to make and most have apparently yet to turn a healthy profit despite being tremendously successful.
Despite churning out many of the world’s favourite animated movies such as “Spirited Away” in 2001 and the loveable “My Neighbour Totoro” in 1988, Studio Ghibli has been struggling financially in the recent years. Most of their recent movies failed to make a profit for the studio such as 2013’s “The Tale of Princess Kaguya”:
“The Tale of Princess Kaguya” raked in 5.1 billion yen but it was considered a flop by the studio due to the costs of production.
As such, this morning, the inevitable sad news was delivered.
Studio Ghibli general manager Toshio Suzuki took to Japanese TV to announce the closure of their animation feature film department. What does it mean for the future of Studio Ghibli? According to this site, the full-time staff responsible for producing their feature films will presumable be let go. Meanwhile, the studio will now move on to managing their trademarks and copyrights, but with a smaller staff.
However, not all doors are shut just yet as they will be keeping the option open to freelance out for any new, viable projects.
Meanwhile, “When Marnie Was There”, based on the novel of the same name by Joan G. Robinson, will be Studio Ghibli’s last feature film. The film centres on the story of a sickly girl named Anna as she strikes up a friendship with the mysterious Marnie while she recuperates at a seaside town:
“When Marnie Was There” was released on 19th July in Japan.
Earlier we reported Suzuki’s intention in closing the studio, but the full episode of Jounetsu Tairiku has been provided with a better translation with crucial details about the studio’s future. According to Kotaku, Suzuki talked about the intention of disbanding the production department and trying to bring a bigger change to Studio Ghibli.
As pointed out on Kotaku’s article, Suzuki also said that Miyazaki’s retirement is the turning point in the studio’s future and has considered to restructure (translated from saikouchiku in Japanese) the studio.
“After that, what should Ghibli do?” said Suzki. “It’s not impossible, but…once, right about now, we will take a short rest and think about what’s next.”
On top of that, Japanese news outlet or morning TV shows did not make a huge announcement on the studio’s closure that would become nation’s headline news. Thus, the future of the studio is still indefinite but we are hoping for the best!