News culture With Hayao Miyazaki, Studios Ghibli are at an impasse. Only solution… redemption!
As Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film prepares to be released in France, Studio Ghibli has announced that it will be bought by the television channel Nippon TV. An initiative, as co-founder Toshio Suzuki explains, to find a solution to the succession of the studio.
Hayao Miyazaki, the broadest shoulders in Ghibli
Ghibli is, without a doubt, the most popular Japanese animation studio in the world. He can even obviously sit at the same table of the world’s biggest animation studios with Disney and Pixar. It is thanks to numerous films that he made his notoriety: Mon Voisin Totoro is the most lucrative film in its history thanks to its merchandising (one of its songs is even taught in kindergartens across the archipelago); The Grave of the Fireflies traumatized several generations of spectators by representing the ordeal suffered by the country during the Second World War; Spirited away was for almost 20 years the best film at the Japanese box office (before being overtaken by Demon Slayer: The Infinity Train) and won numerous awards.
Except that most of the notoriety comes from one man: Hayao Miyazaki. It was he who directed many of the studio’s best feature films. However, the years pass and the one we consider to be the Maestro of Japanese animation also accumulates the weight of time on its shoulders. The day of his retirement is getting closer, despite his multiple returns to the forefront. A time trial whose tics increasingly worry Ghibli, who must find a successor.
Who to succeed Miyazaki?
Beyond his status as an essential director, Hayao Miyazaki is also one of the co-founders of Ghibli with Isao Takahata (known in particular for The Grave of the Firefliesdied in 2018) and producer Toshio Suzuki. The two men are aged 82 and 75 respectively. To find a solution to this problem, a press conference was organized on Thursday September 21 in Japan. It was the Japanese television channel Nippon TV (NTV) which announced that it had decided to acquire 42.3% of Ghibli’s shares. Such an initiative then makes it a majority shareholder of the studio, making the latter its subsidiary.. As reported by the official Ghibli website and the Oricon media, Toshio Suzuki (also present at the conference) admitted that this decision was not unrelated to the search for successors for the head of the studio.
This succession has posed a real problem for years. Already at the end of the 90s, Hayao Miyazaki seriously considered the idea of retirement: with Yoshifumi Kondo (chief animator on numerous feature films) who directed If you listen in 1995, the studio’s posterity seemed assured. Except that the latter died in 1998 at the age of 47 following an aortic dissection, like Kentaro Miura (mangaka of Berserk) in 2021. The time for early retirement has therefore come for Hayao Miyazaki (who is about to direct the masterpiece Spirited Away).
Even today, therefore, the question of succession arises. If Goro Miyazaki (Miyazaki’s son) has already been asked several times to take over the position, he has refused each time the offers made. It is also his father who refuses such a choice, witness to his complicated relationship with his son. The long-term future is therefore uncertain for Studios Ghibli. However, they can still count a little on Hayao Miyazaki. The director has completed The Boy and the Heronreleased in Japan on July 14 and scheduled for release in French theaters on November 1. A film considered by its author as a testament for his grandson. An observation that sets the tone for Studio Ghibli which, despite the new ideas of its flagship director, is on the verge of opening a new chapter in its history.