Studio Ghibli: Need I Say More? – Presented at Anime Banzai 2014
Panelists: John Fragglepuss Evans, Breanne Evans, Lindsay Starke, and Brittany Evans
This is a summary of our panel on Studio Ghibli for Anime Banzai 2014. In this panel we discussed the history of Studio Ghibli, the filmography, Hayao Miyazaki, and also some fun facts about the studio. We appreciate everybody that joined us for the panel. We would also like to thank Anime Banzai for combining two of the panel rooms so that we were able to fit everybody in the panel.
Studio Ghibli: A History
- Studio Ghibli was founded in June 1985 after the success of the 1984 film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.
- The first real box-office success in Studio Ghibli’s history (just over $18 million) was Kiki’s Delivery Service in 1989.
- In April of 1995, Ghibli started the “East Koganei Village School of Animation” in an effort to educate and develop new animation directors.
- The first ever Studio Ghibli film to use computer graphics was Pom Poko in 1992.
- In August 1996, Disney and Tokuma Shoten Publishing agreed that Disney would distribute internationally Studio Ghibli animated films.
- The first Miyazaki film featuring computer graphics, and the first Studio Ghibli film featuring digital coloring was Princess Mononoke in 1997. Roger Ebert placed the movie sixth on his top ten movies of 1999 and it was also the highest grossing movie in Japan with $134 million in box office revenue.
- In October 2001, the Ghibli Museum opened in Mitaka, Tokyo. It contains exhibits based on Studio Ghibli films and shows animations, including a number of short Studio Ghibli films not available elsewhere.
- In 2002, Spirited Away was the first film to gross $200 million worldwide before opening in North America (eventually making about $275 million in total), and it was the only anime film ever to win an Academy award for Best Animated Feature, and it took over Titanic ($135 million) at the Japanese box office, becoming the top grossing film ever in Japanese cinema.
- On February 1, 2008, Toshio Suzuki stepped down from the position of Studio Ghibli president, which he had held since 2005, and Koji Hoshino (former president of Walt Disney Japan) took over. Suzuki still serves on the company’s board of directors.
- Sunday, September 1, 2013, Hayao Miyazaki held a press conference in Venice, confirming his retirement saying: “I know I’ve said I would retire many times in the past. Many of you must think, ‘Once again.’ But this time I am quite serious.”
- On August 3, 2014, Toshio Suzuki announced that Studio Ghibli would take a “brief pause” to re-evaluate and restructure in the wake of Miyazaki’s retirement. He stated some concerns about where the company would go in the future.
Studio Ghibli Filmography
1984: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind – Pre-Ghibli
1986: Laputa: Castle in the Sky
1988: Grave of the Fireflies
1988: My Neighbor Totoro
1989: Kiki’s Delivery Service
1991: Only Yesterday
1992: Porco Rosso
1993: Oceans Waves
1994: Pom Poko
1995: Whisper of the Heart
1997: Princess Mononoke
1999: My Neighbors the Yamadas
2001: Spirited Away
2002: The Cat Returns
2004: Howl’s Moving Castle
2006: Tales From Earthsea
2008: Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea
2010: The Borrower Arrietty
2011: From Up on Poppy Hill
2013: The Wind Rises
2013: The Tale of Princess Kaguya
2014: When Marnie Was There
A few things about Hayao Miyazaki
- In his early days, Hayao Miyazaki would personally review every frame for his films.
- He states that “hand drawing on paper is fundamental to animation”.
- Many key directors and animators have described Miyazaki as a large influence on their work (Pixar directors, Disney animators, Avatar: The Last Airbender creators, Final Fantasy creator).
- According to Toshio Suzuki, Miyazaki has retired 6 times to date.
- He has received countless awards for his work.
- He was a 2014 inductee to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, and also the first Japanese inductee.
- He will be receiving an Academy Honorary Award in 2015 at the Academy Awards. He is only the 4th animator to receive this award and the 1st anime director to receive it
- The name Ghibli is based on the Arabic sirocco (the Mediterranean wind), as the Studio wanted to “blow a new wind through the Japanese anime industry”
- The studio has a strict “no cuts” policy after 1984’s Nausicaä was butchered by an American studio. 14 years later, Ghibli sent Miramax a samurai sword with a message: “no cuts”, after Miramax cut scenes from Princess Mononoke.
- Hayao Miyazaki never uses a script in his films. This is because he “usually doesn’t have the time”, so he just relies on spur of the moment ideas.
- 1994’s Pom Poko contains some of the Studio’s more questionable creative choices. In it, a band of raccoons rescue a forest from being bulldozed using their magic testicles as a mace like weapon. The unusual weaponry is a tradition in Japanese tanuki folklore.
- From Up On Poppy Hill is the second film directed by Goro Miyazaki, son of the founder of Studio Ghibli, Hiyao Miyazaki. His first, Tales From Earthsea (2006), is considered the Studio’s weakest film.
- The protagonist of Spirited Away (2001) was inspired by the sullen 10-year-old daughter of one of Miyazaki’s friends.
- The Cat Returns (2002) came about after a Japanese theme park asked Studio Ghibli to create a short animation featuring cats.
To finish off the panel we discussed a few of our favorite things about the Studio Ghibli films. This included our favorite minor characters, favorite major characters, favorite villians, favorite moments of “feels”, and favorite music from the films. It was wonderful to hear the wide variety of favorite characters and experiences that people have for Studio Ghibli films. It seems that these films hold a special place in many people’s heart. Studio Ghibli films are often a person’s introduction to anime and they are what give a lot of people a love for anime. My first Studio Ghibli film was Princess Mononoke. It is not only my favorite Ghibli film, but one of my favorite animes to this day.