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Founded in 1985 by Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, and Toshiro Suzuki, Studio Ghibli captured the hearts of viewers worldwide with its anime films. From Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind to 2014’s adaption of When Marnie Was There, Ghibli was a groundbreaking animation studio that set the standard for how anime should be, each film intricately crafted to the finest detail while boasting some of the highest production values ever seen. It was the entire career of Hayao Miyazaki, a visionary whose works found great international acclaim. Spirited Away won the Academy Award for Best Animated Film in 2003, while noted American critic Roger Ebert consistently sang praise of Miyazaki’s movies. Besides its films, Studio Ghibli additionally provided the graphics for Level 5’s PS3 exclusive RPG Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and its DS Japan-only counterpart.

Shockwaves were sent through the anime industry when it was initially announced by Ghibli founder Toshiro Suzuki that the company would be shutting down after Hayao Miyazaki’s retirement. However, that original translation was said to be faulty. Brian Ashcraft of Kotaku provided an updated version utilizing images previously posted on a Japanese blog. His translation reads as follows:

“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.”

While Suzuki’s statements are not 100% confirmation of Ghibli’s closure, it definitely shows signs of significant change affecting the company. Miyazaki is no longer creating films, thus a large staple of Ghibli is now gone. Whether or not the company sticks around or shut downs forever remains to be seen.

I personally view this news to be troubling, but I do not see reason for real sadness just yet. For one thing, we don’t know what’s going to happen. Ghibli is a well-respected company that’s considered a national treasure of Japan. While its recent films such as The Tale of Princess Kaguya and When Marnie Was There haven’t achieved box office returns initially hoped for, I remain cautiously optimistic that they will continue creating projects. With the amount of info given, Suzuki’s comments should be taken as is. Ghibli is taking a break and restructuring. That could mean a shut down, or it could not. Nothing has been officially decided yet.

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Studio Ghibli for me has always held a deep place in my heart. I have watched every single available film by them including the lesser-known Ocean Waves and My Neighbors the Yamadas. Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and The Wind Rises should be mandatory viewing for any person with even a remote appreciation for film and Grave of the Firefiles ranks among the most powerful WWII dramas ever made. While I do not personally care for some of Isao Takahata’s works and Tales From Earthsea remains the studio’s single disappointment, I strongly stand by Miyazaki’s ten directorial films as being classic masterpieces. Very, very few filmmakers can claim to even have two or three films that are considered “masterful.” But ten? Ten films that have all arguably been critically acclaimed? Besides Akira Kurosawa and perhaps Alfred Hitchcock, that’s damn near unheard of. If the company truly is gone, should that honestly matter when we look back at them? These were the people that showed Westerners that anime wasn’t just those funny saucer-eyed cartoons from Japan. Ghibli’s films moved and inspired people for nearly 30 years. It’s a cliched expression, but their legacy with no doubt live on.

So should this announcement cause any concern? Does anyone have any thoughts on this announcement? What are your memories with Studio Ghibli? Sound off in the comments below.

Original source: Kotaku.com