Japanese anime producer may have made its last film

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 August, 2014, 5:08am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 August, 2014, 6:00pm

Japanese anime producer Studio Ghibli may have made its final film, according to media reports.

The studio which made popular movies like My Neighbour Totoro, Howl's Moving Castle and the Oscar-winning film Spirited Away, announced the halt in production live on Japanese television on Sunday.

Studio Ghibli will cease film-making after 29 years of production, said Toshio Suzuki, the general manager of the Tokyo-based studio.

Suzuki told the show Jounetsu Tairiku it was downsizing its staff to manage trademarks and copyrights on its existing portfolio of 20 feature films.

Suzuki took over day-to-day running of the studio when its co-founder Hayao Miyazaki retired in 2013.

"Obviously, Miyazaki's retiring was quite significant," Suzuki said on air. "What should Ghibli do? ... Right about now, we will take a breather and think about what's next."

Gaming website Kotaku has questioned whether Suzuki's comments signal a definitive end for Studio Ghibli, or a pause.

Rumours of Ghibli's imminent demise had been circulating in recent weeks. A Ghibli insider forecast its closure on the Japanese website News Cafe, blaming the high production costs and poor profits of its recent releases.

"There's no choice but to dissolve the studio, because it's unable to cross the high hurdle of announcing a new film on an annual basis," the staffer said.Other Japanese studios have taken a pause like this before.

Established in 1985 after the success of the 1984 film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Ghibli built its reputation on its morally complex yet family-friendly films, popularising the anime form worldwide and winning an Academy Award for best animated feature in 2003 for Spirited Away.

Additional reporting by The Guardian