Date: 2014 August 03 17:16
Posted by Joe
The internet has lit up with the news that Studio Ghibli is to close down. Being the internet it's also full of misinformation. According to sources, Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki said on the MBS Channel that they're restructuring Studio Ghibli. They are considering closing animation department. Many speculators in the industry are not surprised by this.
Kotaku have a good analysis of the story and it's details. As they correctly point out, an event like Studio Ghibli closing down would be all over Japanese News sources. Currently it is not.
Update: We've changed the source of this article to Kotaku, as they have a great analysis of what's going on.
Here's some more details:
The key thing to note is that the translation misses out one word. That word is the forward facing statement "considering".
The Film Stage has a translated article, with "the production department of anime will be dismantled". French Animation website Catsuka also have more details. Their Twitter feed are also on the ball.
Studio Ghibli are considering closing down the animation department and keeping on a small skeleton staff to help with the marketing, merchandise and other intellectual property. They're going to focus on licensing and wait for other viable projects.
Here's a Google Translated blurb of the Catsuak article-
"So it's now official: Studio Ghibli is stopping generation of animated feature film, According To producer Toshio Suzuki on MBS channel, Aim it's not the end of Studio Ghibli. According To my information, They Will keep a small staff for Hayao Miyazaki projects. And aussi the "Momonoma" department, Yoshiyuki Momose All which is staff for Production of commercials, music videos ... Momonoma artists are already freelance, and this is the reality: most of Studio Ghibli staff are employed today, with long term contracts. Studio Ghibli can't pay this staff if there's no more Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata (expensive but profitable) movies on the way. Ghibli cost too much today, so they're just stopping the current system. Porco Rosso Before, Studio Ghibli staff was freelance. They're coming back to this previous system It's a restart, like Hoshino and Suzuki said. Now They Will focus on licensing, and Ghibli Museum. And wait for new viable projects. So let's wait & see."
What this really means, is that Studio Ghibli's animation department is too expensive to run with a group of full time animators. They're going to essentially sit back and wait (and hopefully) hire freelance animators on contracts when required. This is how the studio used to work by hiring freelance staff when required. They're not closing down, they're restructuring to make them leaner like their old days.
This could be the end of the studio, or it could be a fresh start. We'll just have to wait and see.