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Is Studio Ghibli Shutting Down?

Don't panic.

totoro

It’s as if thousands of fans cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. A set of screencaps have been making the rounds across social media claiming Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki has announced the animation company is closing it’s doors.

Everyone get your towels and say it with me: Don’t Panic.

The rumors that Studio Ghibli would be shutting down have been making the rounds for several years. Between recent flops in films both critically and financially, animation insiders have been worried about the studio’s fate. Rumors were only reinforced when famed director and co-founder Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement.

This past weekend, Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki sat down on MBS program Jounetsu Tairiku (情熱大陸) and talked about the future of the company. There have been a lot of subtitled screencaps of the interview floating around, but thanks to Kotaku’s article by Brian Ashcraft everyone can read the full translation. When asked about Ghibli’s future Suzuki had this to say:

“We’re thinking about disbanding the production department and making a big change to the larger view of Studio Ghibli…Obviously, Miyazaki’s retiring was quite significant. After that, what should Ghibli do? With that, continuing to endlessly create like this is not impossible, but once, right about now, we will take a short rest and think about what’s next.”

So does this mean that Ghibli is closing down for good? No. It means they’re taking a break to restructure. The animation production side of Ghibli may be disbanded, but that doesn’t mean the studio is closing. Ghibli has trademarks to some of the most internationally popular animated characters to ever come out of Asia (looking at you, Totoro), and until those trademarks are sold the studio will have legs to stand on. Studio Ghibli may as well be a Japanese national treasure considering how their films are beloved world-over. If they were to close down the studio entirely it would probably be announced in a very official way, not on a talk show.

Does that mean Studio Ghibli will never animate anything ever again? Maybe. Maybe not. For now it looks like their newest feature When Marnie Was There will be Ghibli’s last film.

Until we hear more from the studio officially, think of this as the same thing that happened when Calcifer had to downgrade the house in Howl’s Moving Castle. This could simply be a period of change before a new and stronger studio arises, or perhaps we really are living in the last days of Studio Ghibli.  Either way, it’s nice to know that should they close, Ghiblis’ films will continue to be enjoyed for generations to come. Based on these screencaps from the documentary The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness Miyazaki doesn’t seem too disturbed about the idea of his studio closing.

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By day, Carrie is the co-creator, artist and production coordinator for the webcomic Kamikaze . By night she’s a writer, budding comic nerd and passionate feminist. Occasionally she takes pretty photos. A devoted scholar to film, animation and storytelling Carrie is feared wherever books are sold, and enjoys the company of animals, geeks and artists equally. Feel free to follow her on Twitter.

Previously in Studio Ghibli

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