Studio Ghibli, currently at work on role-playing game Ni no Kuni with developer Level-5, is famous for its films created by Hayao Miyazaki. Not to be morbid, but Miyazaki won't be making movies forever. What does that mean for Ghibli?
In an interview with Cut magazine, the 69-year-old Miyazaki talks about the future of the studio he co-founded in 1985. The short of it is that the goal for Ghibli is to bring younger directors into the spotlight.
New Ghibli movie, The Borrower Arrietty, is directed by Miyazaki protege Hiromasa Yonebayashi. However, the next Ghibli movie, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, is being directed by 74-year-old Isao Takahata of Grave of the Fireflies fame. He ranks up there with Miyazaki as one of the giants of Japanese animation.
Even though Ghibli is working on new projects, Miyazaki doesn't sound like a rainbow of optimism.
"Suzuki-san is making a dissolution program for Ghibli," Miyazaki tells Cut. (Toshio Suzuki is the president of Ghibli and main producer.) "No joke, we talked about it the other day." This, of course, apparently changes depending on how The Borrower Arrietty does.
The Borrower Arrietty is expected to make US$120 million at the Japanese box office.
"For example, Ghibli should be able to continue with about five staff members as a copyright management company even if we smash the studio. So, Ghibli can say 'We stop film production. Goodbye'. I do not have to be there."
That doesn't mean that Miyazaki, iPad-hate and all, is ready to leave his director's chair just yet. In Cut, he expresses interest in doing a follow-up to his flying pig movie Porco Rosso.
Ghibli's decision to work with Level-5 on Ni no Kuni is also incredibly shrewd. "Ghibli" is a brand name, but like with "Disney", it is directly to the work of one (in this case, a few more) creator.
Ni no Kuni, as well as these non-Miyazaki-directed Ghibli flicks, really help solidify the studio in a larger, broader sense.