The Japanese animated film maker Studio Ghibli (株式会社スタジオジブリ Hepburn: Kabushiki-gaisha Sutajio Jiburi) was Founded in 1985, after the success of the animated feature film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and headed by the directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata and the producer Toshio Suzuki. The name Ghibli was given by Hayao Miyazaki from the Italian noun “ghibli”, based on the Libyan-Arabic name for the hot desert wind of that country, the idea being the studio would “blow a new wind through the anime industry”. It also refers to an Italian aircraft, the Caproni Ca.309 Ghibli. Although the Italian word is pronounced with a hard ɡ, the Japanese pronunciation of the studio’s name is with a soft g.
Prior to the formation of the studio, Miyazaki and Takahata had already had long careers in Japanese film and television animation and had worked together on Hols: Prince of the Sun and Panda! Go, Panda!; and Suzuki was an editor at Tokuma Shoten’s Animage manga magazine. Studio Ghibli was founded after the success of the 1984 film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which was written and directed by Miyazaki for Topcraft and distributed by Toei Company. It is based on the first two volumes of a serialized manga written by Miyazaki for publication in Animage as a way of generating interest in an anime version. Suzuki was part of the production team on the film and founded Studio Ghibli with Miyazaki, who also invited Takahata to join the new studio.
The studio has mainly produced films by Miyazaki, with the second most prolific director being Takahata (most notably with Grave of the Fireflies). Other directors who have worked with Studio Ghibli include Yoshifumi Kondo, Hiroyuki Morita, Gorō Miyazaki, and Hiromasa Yonebayashi. Composer Joe Hisaishi has provided the soundtracks for most of Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli films. In their book Anime Classics Zettai!, Brian Camp and Julie Davis made note of Michiyo Yasuda as “a mainstay of Studio Ghibli’s extraordinary design and production team”. At one time the studio was based in Kichijōji, Musashino, Tokyo. In 1996, Disney and Tokuma Shoten Publishing agreed that Disney would distribute internationally Tokuma’s Studio Ghibli animated films
There is a close relationship between Studio Ghibli and the magazine Animage, which regularly runs exclusive articles on the studio and its members in a section titled “Ghibli Notes.” Artwork from Ghibli’s films and other works are frequently featured on the cover of the magazine. Saeko Himuro’s novel Umi ga Kikoeru was serialised in the magazine and subsequently adapted into Ocean Waves (film), Studio Ghibli’s only animated feature length film created for television and it was directed by Tomomi Mochizuki. Between 1999 and 2005 Studio Ghibli was a subsidiary of Tokuma Shoten, the publisher of Animage. In 2001, the Ghibli Museum opened in Mitaka, Tokyo. It contains exhibits based on Studio Ghibli films and shows animations, including a number of short Studio Ghibli films not available elsewhere. Studio Ghibli is also known for its strict “no-edits” policy in licensing their films abroad due to Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind being heavily edited for the film’s release in the United States as Warriors of the Wind.
In 2008, Toshio Suzuki stepped down from the position of Studio Ghibli president and Koji Hoshino (former president of Walt Disney Japan) took over. Suzuki said he wanted to improve films with his own hands as a producer, rather than demanding this from his employees. Suzuki decided to hand over the presidency to Hoshino because Hoshino has helped Studio Ghibli to sell its videos since 1996, also helping to release the Princess Mononoke film in the United States. Suzuki still serves on the company’s board of directors Two Studio Ghibli short films created for the Ghibli Museum were shown at the Carnegie Hall Citywise Japan NYC Festival: “House Hunting” and “Mon Mon the Water Spider”.
Takahata developed a project for release after Gorō Miyazaki’s (director of Tales from Earthsea and Hayao’s son) The Tale of the Princess Kaguya – an adaptation of The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. The last film Hayao Miyazaki directed before retiring from feature films was The Wind Rises which is about the Mitsubishi A6M Zero and its founder. Gorō Miyazaki will direct his first anime television series, Sanzoku no Musume Rōnya, an adaptation of Astrid Lindgren’s Ronia the Robber’s Daughter for NHK. The series is computer-animated, produced by Polygon Pictures, and co-produced by Studio Ghibli.
In 2014, Toshio Suzuki retired as a producer and assumed a new position of general manager. Yoshiaki Nishimura replaced Suzuki in the producer role. Toshio Suzuki also announced that Studio Ghibli would take a “brief pause” to re-evaluate and restructure in the wake of Miyazaki’s retirement. Lead producer Yoshiaki Nishimura among several other staffers from Ghibli left to found Studio Ponoc in 2015, and are working on the film Mary and the Witch’s Flower. The 2016 animated fantasy film The Red Turtle, directed and co-written by Dutch-British animator Michaël Dudok de Wit in his feature film debut, was a co-production between Studio Ghibli and Wild Bunch. In 2017, Toshio Suzuki announced that Hayao Miyazaki has come out of retirement to direct a new feature film with Studio Ghibli.
Among Studio Ghibli’s best films are Laputa:Castle in the Sky, Grave of the Fireflies, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Only Yesterday, Porco Rosso, Pom Poko, Whisper of the Heart, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbors the Yamadas, Spirited Away, The Cat Returns, Howl’s Moving Castle, Tales from Earthsea, Ponyo, Arrietty, From up on Poppy Hill, The Wind Rises, The Tale of Princess Kaguya and When Marnie was There.
Eight of Studio Ghibli’s films are among the 15 highest-grossing anime films made in Japan, with Spirited Away (2001) being the second highest, grossing over US$290 million worldwide. Many of their works have won the Animage Anime Grand Prix award, and four have won the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year. Five of Studio Ghibli’s films received Academy Award nominations in the United States. Spirited Away won a Golden Bear in 2002 and an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film in 2003. Totoro, a character from My Neighbor Totoro, is the studio’s mascot.