Take this with a grain of salt because we’re dealing with unconfirmed information via screencapped translations, so…
This has been rumored for a while, but it’s looking increasingly like the retirement of Studio Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki will also mark the beginning of a break in feature film production for the beloved Japanese animation studio.
French-language animation news site Catsuka reports that during an interview with Japan’s MBS, Studio Ghibli co-founder and producer Toshio Suzuki, they would cease production of animated films while still retaining a small number of staff for “Hayao Miyazaki projects.”
This following reports from earlier this year in sites like Liberation that the studio was struggling to find its footing following Miyazaki’s retirement after the release of his latest film, The Wind Rises, which nabbed an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature earlier this year (and got this writer a little choked up during his first viewing). When the Liberation piece was written, Studio Ghibli had yet to find a successor to Miyazaki, the only man seen by the studio who could rally the troops, putting future projects up in the air. Amid all of the speculation, the studio still launched a new feature film back in July, When Marnie Was There from The Secret World of Arrietty director Hiromasa Yonebayashi.
This isn’t the first time Suzuki has talked about restructuring the studio: back in March, during a shareholder’s meeting, amid discussion about dismantling Studio Ghibli in its entirety, Suzuki suggested simply dismantling the animation department, in effect making Studio Ghibli a holding company for its numerous properties.
Kotaku offers a little bit of clarification here: during the MBS program, Suzuki talks about restructuring the studio and in very broad terms discusses bringing an end to production as they attempt to figure out the future and direction of Studio Ghibli in the wake of Miyazaki’s retirement. If true, that could leave the studio open to resuming film production once they sort out what kind of direction they’d like to take in the future.
For now, let’s wait for a more official confirmation from Studio Ghibli about where they’re going and what they’re doing before we all panic.