Studio Ghibli, the acclaimed animation studio co-founded by legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, will become a subsidiary of Nippon Television (NTV). As the news was announced last week, the studio has also contemplating making new television series, according to a new report from Nikkei.com (via Discussing Film)
Toshio Suzuki, the president of Ghibli, released a statement about the studio’s potential entry into television: “We will entrust all management to Nippon Television and concentrate on creating works. We will not only produce movies, but also the possibility of producing TV series.”
NTV purchased Ghibli after Miyazaki announced he will be stepping down from the company completely. The Japanese broadcaster initially tried to find a successor for the legendary animation studio’s co-founder and director, but ultimately didn’t find the right fit.
The two companies’ board of directors met on Thursday and approved a resolution for NTV to acquire shares of Ghibli, the companies said in a joint statement. The financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
“With director Hayao Miyazaki now 82 years old and producer Toshio Suzuki also 75, Studio Ghibli has long been struggling with the issue of their successors,” the statement also said.
NTV will “permanently protect Studio Ghibli’s ‘craftsmanship’ and brand values.” The broadcaster “intends to honor Studio Ghibli’s autonomy” so it can “focus on filmmaking.”
The statement added that Miyazaki’s eldest son, himself an animation movie director, had been repeatedly suggested as a possible successor to his father. However, he had “declined the idea, claiming that it would be difficult for him to take over Ghibli on his own and that it would be better to leave the future of Ghibli to someone else.”
The future of the studio has been an open question for many years. Miyazaki first announced his retirement in 2013. His decision prompted Suzuki to say at the time that the firm needed a transformation.
Along the way, Ghibli struggled with the question of who would succeed Miyazak. Besides the filmmaker’s son, the studio considered “many different candidates.”
The search led to discussions with NTV, with Suzuki spending time with the broadcaster’s CEO last year, during which time they agreed to the partnership. Under the new arrangement, NTV will become the largest shareholder in Ghibli, with 42.3% of the voting rights.
NTV and Studio Ghibli have long worked together. The broadcaster has long shown the studio’s movies and invested in its movie productions. The broadcaster even helped fund the Ghibli Museum.
Since its founding in 1985, Ghibli has been known for its hand-drawn animation. The company has remained committed to using vintage frame-by-frame methods. The studio has also become known for fusing together wild fantasy with more serious issues including environmentalism, feminism and anti-war messaging.
Miyazaki is regarded by many as one of the world’s greatest animators and an icon of Japanese popular culture. His films have shaped the animation industry and won critical acclaim around the world.
The filmmaker recently re-emerged from retirement for his final feature, The Boy and the Heron, which was released earlier this year. The animated fantasy movie took seven years to create, the companies said in their joint statement. They added that they were “deeply grateful” to audiences who have supported the film, and for the positive reviews it has received so far.
Miyazaki and his Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata began their careers on television, working on multiple animated series throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Their most notable works include Future Boy Conan, Sherlock Hound, Anne of Green Gables and Lupin III.
Later in their careers, both executives made the move to films. Miyazaki’s early features at Ghibli include Castle in the Sky and My Neighbor Totoro, while Takahata directed Grave of the Fireflies. Some of Ghibli’s other internationally beloved movies include My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away.