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Film

Studio Ghibli Announces Hiatus

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After nearly 30 years of enchanting audiences all over the world with breathtaking animation and groundbreaking films, Studio Ghibli’s animation department will be taking a hiatus from making future productions.

Ghibli Exterior(Photo: Lucius Kwok)

Toshio Suzuki, Studio Ghibli’s general manager and co-founder, made the official announcement on Japanese television after rumors of the studio’s possible disbandment have been circulating within the last year. He put these rumors to rest and explained that instead of permanent closure, the entire studio is considering restructuring for the time being.

“On what to do with Studio Ghibli’s future, it is by no means impossible to keep producing [movies] forever,” Suzuki commented, “However, we will take a brief pause to consider where to go from here.”

Ghibli will be using this hiatus to primarily “houseclean” and to pave the way for their next generation of storytellers. With the recent retirement of visionary Hayao Miyazaki and the studio’s recent films failing to make a substantiating profit, a break from production seems to be a logical decision.

When Marnie Was Here, which opened in Japan on July 19th, will be Studio Ghibli’s last feature film until further notice. No announcements have been made yet about its U.S. release.

Many compelling films have emerged from the studio over the years including My Neighbor Totoro, Grave of the Fireflies, Howl’s Moving Castle, and the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away. The studio’s films have made a significant impact even outside Japan, so much as to where they’ve been embraced by North American culture.

Take for instance this homage to Studio Ghibli in The Simpsons:

Another tribute to Ghibli can be found in this Totoro plush toy as a background character in Pixar’s Toy Story 3:

Ghibli films have even served as inspiration to other American animators and filmmakers as well. In a 2006 interview for Nickelodeon Magazine, Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino, co-creators of the hit animated TV shows Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra, revealed how they’ve drawn and incorporated influences from Miyazaki films, particularly Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke.

Even Wesley Chan, one of the members of Wong Fu Productions and former Kollaboration Star judge, has admitted to being influenced by Ghibli’s head director Miyazaki, as revealed in the director’s notes for Wong Fu’s short film, Left on Shing Wong.

Many people have grown up watching Studio Ghibli films, and I fully admit to being one of them. I remember watching My Neighbor Totoro, my first Studio Ghibli film, as a first grader. While I didn’t think so much of it at the time, I do later recall being intrigued by the animation and the unique storytelling. I believe that it’s what most of us will remember when we re-watch the films.

The name “Ghibli” is an Italian word for the Mediterranean wind that blows through the Sahara and was chosen in hopes of the company “blow[ing] a new wind through the anime industry.”

I think it’s safe to say that its films have succeeded- and will be remembered- for doing just that. And although the studio is taking a temporary leave of absence, we can hope for another new wind to rise through the future generation of Ghibli storytellers.

What are some of your favorite Studio Ghibli films? Leave a comment below!

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Source: Anime News Network

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Written on August 3, 2014 by
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