Back in August we speculated on whether Studio Ghibli, the legendary animation studio behind films like Spirited Away, Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbor Totoro, might be closing its doors due to financial difficulties. Now in an interview with the LA Times, the studio’s most vaulted director Hayao Miyazaki has announced that Ghibli is in fact shuttering.
“At this point, we’re not making a new film. I think we will not be making any feature films to be shown in theaters. That was not my intention, though. All I did was announce that I would be retiring and not making any more features.” Miyazaki said, deepening the blow by reiterating that he would be retiring as well.
With that news, that officially makes The Wind Rises, released wide at the start of 2014 in the US, is indeed Miyazaki’s last movie, and that Studio Ghibli’s When Marnie Was There will likely be its last.
Thankfully though, Miyazaki is taking the Soderbergh-lite route, finding the time to work on a manga inspired by Akira Kurosawa about a 16th Century samurai.
“It’s something I wanted to do when I was a student,” Miyazaki told the LA Times. “It’s about samurai in the 16th century, wearing full armor, battling it out with each other. I was very dissatisfied with the way that era was depicted in fiction and film, so I wanted to draw something that would reflect the way I thought that era should look. … The great director Akira Kurosawa filmed his films in large, open spaces like golf courses, and there weren’t those large, open spaces in Japan.”
Miyazaki also just received an honorary Oscar as part of the Governor’s Awards. John Lasseter honored him at the ball just this past weekend. Watch his speech below.