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Studio Ghibli (Creator)

Hayao Miyazaki

“I do believe in the power of story. I believe that stories have an important role to play in the formation of human beings, that they can stimulate, amaze, and inspire their listeners.”


Studio Ghibli Inc. (スタジオ・ジブリ; pronounced “DJIBB-lee”)note  sort-of named after the Caproni Ca.309 Ghibli fighter was founded on June 15, 1985 by celebrated Japanese anime directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, along with producer Toshio Suzuki and publisher Yasuyoshi Tokuma, in the wake of Miyazaki’s overwhelming success with Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Studio Ghibli is known for its incredibly rich and detailed animation, exacting attention to detail, Awesome Music (mostly but not entirely by composer Joe Hisaishi), and imaginative plots (frequently involving flying scenes, a personal favourite of Miyazaki’s).

Ghibli has been rated as the top brand in Japan, and is a household name even among non-otaku. New Ghibli films are consistently the top grossers for the year in Japanese cinemas, and some films such as Spirited Away and Ponyo have gained a mainstream following in North America (in part thanks to a distribution deal with Disney; more on that below). The studio tends to focus on films rather than television series, but it is frequently the “gateway drug” for new anime fans. Ghibli is also like Disney in that Ghibli maintains their animation staff as full-time employees instead of the typical Japanese practice of employing freelance artists paid on a piecework basis, and Miyazaki has stated that this was intended to improve his animators’ standard of living as much as the quality and consistency of their work. Their movies also tend to be much longer than the typical animated film as well: while most in the industry don’t even crack 90 minutes due to the expense involved with making them, Ghibli’s can go well over the 100-minute mark, and their films are among the longest in the history of animation, with eleven of their works being ranked among the 30 longest animated movies ever made (The Tale of the Princess Kaguya in fact currently stands as the longest to not be tied to a preexisting media franchise).

Because of this ethos, though, Ghibli became infamous for its exorbitantly high overhead costs— almost on par with American animation studios.note  Anime, even feature films, typically has a budget of less than half of a Hollywood animated film’s. This, plus a few other factors, all led to the Studio’s downfall during The New ’10s… which will be explained more fully towards the bottom of this page.

Miyazaki has said that he chose the name of a World War II Italian fighter for his studio based on his love of aviation and Italy (vis. Porco Rosso). Unfortunately, the wrong characters were chosen to represent “Ghibli” in Japanese based on a mispronunciationnote  (as you can see in their logo at the top of this page, they use the kana 「ジブリ」— “DJEE-blee”— but based on the Italian pronunciation, it should be 「ギブリ」— “GHEE-blee”), and Miyazaki didn’t discover this until after he’d already named the studio. He has since proclaimed himself satisfied with the “jiblee” pronunciation even though it’s technically wrong.

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Several Maserati automobiles and at least one modern fighter plane have also been named “Ghibli”, which means “hot wind off the desert”. This is actually a Arabic word from Libya— the Italian equivalent is “Scirocco”— and it refers to a particular wind that sweeps across the Sahara.

In 2019, GKIDS began the process of opening the films up to digital platforms. They released almost every Studio Ghibli work onto all digital purchasing services, with the exception of Grave of the Fireflies, which already had a (admittedly limited) digital release, in December. That year they also signed streaming deals. Netflix owns the rights in most of the world and began streaming them in February 2020 but Warner Bros. has the rights in the USA and the catalogue (sans Grave of the Fireflies as well) became available on the HBO Max platform at launch in May.

Trope namer for Ghibli Hills. Has absolutely nothing to do with the jibblies.

Hayao Miyazaki – Ghibli creator

To date, Studio Ghibli has produced the following movies:

Like many other Asian studios, they have also worked on productions as a support studio through their C-unit (Miyazaki runs the A-unit and Takahata ran the B-unit until his death; the C-unit is random):

Animated works on which Studio Ghibli has assisted in some way:

Studio Ghibli also has a couple of games to its credit:

  • Magic Pengel (Character Designs and Artwork)

They also allegedly helped with the artwork for Jeanne d’Arc.

The studio has its own museum that shows exclusive short films. The short that evolved into Ponyo was first shown here. It also distributes Western animated films in Japan such as the works of Michel Ocelot, Sylvan Chomet, and Aardman under the “Ghibli Museum Library” label.

Studio Ghibli is well-known among anime fans for maintaining a very strict anti-editing policy when they license their films for international distribution – although they have no problem with foreign companies translating credits or dubbing dialogue and insert songs (in fact they encourage it because they value accessibility), they do not allow even one single frame of animation to be altered or edited out. This is due to the Warriors of the Wind fiasco, when New World Pictures heavily censored Nausicaä behind Miyazaki’s back (more information about that can be found on the film’s page). It became an issue after Disney negotiated a deal with Tokuma Shoten in 1996 that allowed Disney to distribute all but one of Ghibli’s feature films.note  Grave of the Fireflies is the odd one out, as Shinchosha, publishers of the source manga, owns the rights instead of Tokuma…  and given its subject matter, Disney probably wouldn’t have wanted it anyway. The film had already been licensed to Central Park Media, and Sentai Filmworks would pick it up in the early 2010s after CPM’s demise. They handed localization of Princess Mononoke off to Miramax. Harvey Weinstein immediately tried to edit Mononoke to get the movie re-rated PG. In response, Suzuki (allegedly) sent him an authentic katana, attached to which was a note: “No cuts!”. On the one hand, this policy has allowed North America (where companies are notorious for censoring foreign things) to see these movies as they were meant to be seen; on the other hand, Mononoke’s PG-13 rating almost certainly led to its being a Box Office Bomb and to Disney’s subsequent refusal to allow Only Yesterday any release at all. Still, Disney had for the most part done rather well by the rest of Ghibli’s catalogue, which are often the top-selling anime in North America for any given year due to the studio’s mainstream credibility. The contract between the companies expired in 2017 and was not renewed.

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Unfortunately, despite all the critical acclaim, by the late-2000s it was clear that all was not well at Studio Ghibli. Miyazaki’s infamous workaholic and Control Freak tendencies meant that the studio had not adequately fostered new directorial talent capable of taking over once he and Takahata finally retired. Indeed, the studio did not do so until it was absolutely unavoidable. Miyazaki did actually choose his successor back in the 90’s; unfortunately for him, it was Yoshifumi Kondo (director of Whisper of the Heart), who sadly and unexpectedly passed away in 1998 after suffering a brain hemorrhagenote It’s rumored that Kondo’s fatal hemorrhage was the combined result of him trying and failing to match Miyazaki’s insane perfectionism and pressure from Isao Takahata, neither of which Miyazaki & Takahata disagreed with. Hayao’s son Goro’s 2006 directorial debut Tales From Earthsea received mixed reviews and the studio did not consider it a success. Producer Toshio Suzuki’s decision to tap the younger Miyazaki to direct Earthsea caused a rift between the two Miyazakis, as Hayao believed that Goro was not ready to direct a filmnote  (he kinda had a point, considering that Goro was trained as an architect, not an animator), a belief that the film’s lackluster performance appeared to confirm. However, the elder Miyazaki’s opinion of the finished film, “It was made honestly, so it was good”, did much to repair their relationship, as Japanese culture considers sincerity more praiseworthy than success. Miyazaki seems to have finally found his successor in Hiromasa Yonebayashi, director of Arrietty. In addition, Goro’s second movie, From Up On Poppy Hill, won the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year, which has likely secured him a place as another worthy successor to his father.

But even finding new directors was not enough to stop Ghibli’s financial troubles. The worldwide economic collapse of the late-2000s meant Ghibli could no longer depend on Western sales to cover its meager domestic profits – which alone were barely enough to cover its aforementioned absurdly high operating costs. Toshio Suzuki ominously intoned in 2010 that Ghibli would shut down if Arrietty did not sell enough at the box office to secure financial backing for another film. As it turned out, Arrietty did do well enough (80% of Ponyo’s sales) to ensure funding for Up On Poppy Hill, which became the highest-grossing Japanese film for 2011. However, the studio ended up taking a heavy loss on Princess Kaguya – unsurprising given Takahata’s chronic inability to complete anything on time or within budget – and profits for Marnie and The Wind Rises were middling at best, putting the studio’s future in question.

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In early 2014, Miyazaki, Takahata, and Suzuki all announced their retirements – and Miyazaki, long infamous for flip-flopping on this subject, appeared to mean it at the time.note He continued to work on short films during this period. On August 3, Suzuki stated that Studio Ghibli would take a break from feature film animation while they undergo restructuring and figure out where/how to continue the company in the future. Since then, Yonebayashi founded Studio Ponoc with former Ghibli producer Yoshiaki Nishimura, and directed the studio’s first movie Mary and The Witch’s Flower, and Goro has directed an adaptation of Ronja the Robber’s Daughter as a TV co-production with Polygon Pictures.

New hope for the studio has been garnered when, in very late 2015, it was announced that Ghibli would be providing some of the animation for The Red Turtle, which was released September of 2016 in Japan. The film is notable for being a co-production between Ghibli and the European studio Wild Bunch. In late 2016, Miyazaki gave hints that he was un-retiring for one more feature film, which was confirmed early in 2017. On October 31, 2017, it was announced that Miyazaki’s next film would be an adaptation of the 1937 Genzaburou Yoshino novel, How Do You Live?, which is planned for a release around the early to mid 2020s and a month later in the same year, it was announced that Goro Miyazaki will be directing a fully CGI film, the first from the studio, which in June 2020 is revealed to be an adaptation of Earwig and the Witch and has a planned release for winter of 2020 on Japanese TV network, NHK (making it the studio’s first Made-for-TV Movie since Ocean Waves back in 1993).

In July 2017, GKIDS, which owns the North American theatrical distribution rights to the Ghibli films, acquired the other rights to the Ghibli films, with the exceptions of The Wind Rises and Grave of the Fireflies. Shout! Factory distributes the home media releases on GKIDS’ behalf. GKIDS previously distributed From Up on Poppy Hill through Cinedigm, as well as The Tale of Princess Kaguya, When Marnie Was There, Ocean Waves, and Only Yesterday through Universal.

On April 5, 2018, Isao Takahata died at the age of 82 due to lung cancer.

>> More reference: 10 Dramatic Buildings by Architect Tadao Ando

Above are some information about Isao Takahata and story of Ghibli films. Hope this information useful for you. Xuan Mai Complex thanks for reading!

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