Studio Ghibli to close? Maybe, maybe not

Contributed by
Aug 4, 2014, 2:28 PM EDT (Updated)

Studio Ghibli, the film production company created by animators Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata and producer Toshio Suzuki, has given us such classics as Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle. But at this moment, it's not delivering any of the high-quality anime that made this production company famous. Studio Ghibli has announced a "pause."

This seems like bad news to anyone waiting for the next sure-to-be-classic. However, it's certainly better than the news that had circulated previously: that Ghibli was halting production permanently in favor of managing its trademarks and copyrights.

This particular rumor came from a mistranslation of Suzuki's conversation on a Japanese television show, <em>Jōnetsu Tairiku</em>. In it, Suzuki—who in 2014 stepped down from producing and is now Ghibli's general manager—said that Studio Ghibli would be "restructuring." 

According to Kotaku, "the wording Suzuki uses ( 小休止 or 'shoukyuushi') can mean 'pause' or 'a break' or a 'breather.' He does not use the more definite word 'kyuushi' (休止), which means either 'stop, pause or suspend.'" 

But for those who think this rumor of Ghibli's demise can be dismissed, Suzuki also said, "We're thinking about disbanding the production department." 

So, as of right now, the direction of Studio Ghibli is up in the air—which is sad, considering how important flight is to many of Ghibli's movies. 

Studio Ghibli has created beloved and highly acclaimed animation since 1985. Of the seven animated movies that the late film critic Roger Ebert considered "great," three of them (Grave of the Fireflies, My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away) came from Ghibli. 

For a look at the latest, but hopefully not last, Ghibli production, check out the trailer for When Marnie Was There, which was released in Japan in mid-July and currently has no release date here in America. Its most recent American release, The Wind Rises, was nominated for an Oscar for Animated Feature Film in 2014.