Over the last twenty four hours, there has been a lot of confusion about whether or not Studio Ghibli—the animation house behind classics like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke—has decided to put down its pens for good. There've been rumors of Studio Ghibli taking a break since July, but last night an interview with general manager Toshio Suzuki on Japanese news program Jounetsu Tairiku sparked a slew of reports that Studio Ghibli was bowing out of the animation game in the wake of founder Hayao Miyazaki's retirement.
Brian Ashcraft, reporting for Kotaku, translated a series of closed captions from the interview, pointing out the subtle differences in Japanese nomenclature that led to the mix-up. 'The wording Suzuki uses (小休止 or 'shoukyuushi') can mean 'pause' or 'a break' or a 'breather,'" Ashcraft writes. "He does not use the more definite word 'kyuushi' (休止), which means either 'stop, pause or suspend.'"
Suzuki's implication of impeding Studio Ghibli's production was strongest when he said,"We're thinking about disbanding the production department and making a big change to the larger view of Studio Ghibli." However, a translation from Excite News likens his explanation to a mere 'spring cleaning,' which doesn't sound nearly as drastic.
Few things are certain, but if you live outside of Japan, there's still time to enjoy the work of Miyazaki's heirs while the dust settles and the 'spring cleaning' begins. Isao Takahata, Miyazaki's founding partner, directed the 2013 feature film The Tale of Princess Kaguya, which gets its US release on Oct. 17. Plus, When Marnie Was There, directed by the promising young animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi, just opened in Japan on July 19, and has yet to begin English dubbing. Even if the beloved studio does go on hiatus (fingers crossed that it doesn't), animation aficionados the world over have plenty to look forward to in the meantime.
If Oct. 17 is too far away for you to get your Ghibli fix, watch this freshly edited supercut of Miyazaki's iconic animation career, composed by self-proclaimed "cinema addict" Alexandre Gasulla. It's nine minutes of fond Miyazaki memories, and a proper tribute to his influence on the medium. Gasulla expertly weaves together some of Miyazaki's recurring motifs, reminding all of us what a loss his retirement truly is.
Read all about Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki's career in our historical report, Original Creators: Hayao Miyazaki, "The Walt Disney Of Japan". Check out Alessandre Gasulla's other work on his Vimeo channel and his Twitter page.