Studio Ghibli ("jiblee") was founded in the 1980s by celebrated Japanese Anime directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata in the wake of Miyazaki's overwhelming success with Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Studio Ghibli is known for its incredibly rich and detailed animation, exacting attention to detail, and imaginative plots (frequently involving flying scenes, a personal favourite of Miyazaki's).
Ghibli was recently 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 theaters, and recent releases such as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke have gained a mainstream following in North America (in part thanks to a distribution deal with Disney). 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.
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 mispronunciation (the word is actually pronounced "ghee-blee" in Italian) but Miyazaki didn't discover this until after he'd already named the studio. He has since pronounced himself satisfied with the "jiblee" pronunciation even though it's technically wrong.
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 Libyan word -- the Italian equivalent is "Scirocco" -- and it refers to a particular wind that sweeps across the Sahara.
To date, Studio Ghibli has produced the following movies:
- Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, directed by Hayao Miyazaki (1984) (Technically, Studio Ghibli didn't exist yet when this one was made. However, the team behind it formed the studio, and it was included in Ghibli and Disney's dubbing deal.)
- Castle in The Sky, directed by Hayao Miyazaki (1986)
- My Neighbor Totoro, directed by Hayao Miyazaki (1988)
- Grave of the Fireflies, directed by Isao Takahata (1988)
- Kiki's Delivery Service, directed by Hayao Miyazaki (1989)
- Only Yesterday, directed by Isao Takahata (1991)
- Porco Rosso, directed by Hayao Miyazaki (1992)
- Ocean Waves, directed by Tomomi Mochizuki (1993) (TV movie, a.k.a. I Can Hear the Sea)
- Pom Poko, directed by Isao Takahata (1994)
- Whisper of the Heart, directed by Yoshifumi Kondo (1995)
- Princess Mononoke, directed by Hayao Miyazaki (1997)
- My Neighbors the Yamadas, directed by Isao Takahata (1999)
- Spirited Away, directed by Hayao Miyazaki (2001)
- The Cat Returns, directed by Hiroyuki Morita (2002)
- Howl's Moving Castle (anime), directed by Hayao Miyazaki (2004)
- Tales From Earthsea, directed by Goro Miyazaki (2006)
- Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, directed by Hayao Miyazaki (2008)
- The Borrower Arrietty, based on The Borrowers, done by new director Hiromasa Yonebayashi (2010)
- The Legend of Ogrest, an OVA for the French series Wakfu (2011)
- From Up on Poppy Hill, directed by Goro Miyazaki (2011) (a.k.a. Kokuriko-zaka kara)
- The Wind Rises, directed by Hayao Miyazaki (2013)
- The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, directed by Isao Takahata (2013)
- When Marnie Was There (film), directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi (2014)
Studio Ghibli has also produced the following anime series:
- Sanzoku no Musume Rōnya, 26 episodes, directed by Goro Miyazaki (2014), based on the book Ronja the Robber's Daughter by Astrid Lindgren
They have also worked on the following Anime as a support studio through their C unit (Hayao Miyazaki runs the A unit and Isao Takahata runs the B unit, their C unit is random) (as many Asian studios have):
- Birdy the Mighty Decode (In-Between Animation)
- Le Chevalier d'Eon (In-Between Animation & Digital Paint)
- Elemental Gelade (Background Art)
- Both Cardcaptor Sakura movies (Special Effects)
- Flame of Recca (Background Art)
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (In-Between Animation)
- IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix (In-Between Animation)
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (In-Between Animation)
- Neon Genesis Evangelion (Animation Assistants - Episode Eleven)
- Overman King Gainer (In-Between Animation)
- Raideen (In-Between Animation & Digital Paint)
- S-Cry-ed (In-Between Animation)
- Shin Chan (In-Between Animation)
- Tekkon Kinkreet (Background Art)
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (In-Between & Finish Animation)
- XxxHOLiC (In-Between Animation)
A game produced cooperatively by Studio Ghibli and Level 5 was released in 2010. Its name is Ni no Kuni. Before that, they provided the character designs and artwork for the PS2 monster battler Magic Pengel.
Also distributes Western animated films in Japan such as the works of Michel Ocelot, Sylvan Chomet, and Aardman under the Ghibli Museum Library label.
In recent years there has been some concern on the part of Studio Ghibli management over their ongoing lack of a new generation of directors capable of taking over for founding directors Miyazaki and Takahata. Yoshifumi Kondo died prematurely shortly after directing Whisper of the Heart and Goro Miyazaki's directorial debut Tales of Earthsea was not considered a success.
Miyazaki appears to have chosen Borrowers director Yonebayashi as his successor. According to interviews with Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli would be shut down if Borrowers did not do well enough at the box office to allow Ghibli to secure financial backing for another film. Since Borrowers did relatively well (over 80 percent of Ponyo's receipts) a shutdown does not appear to be imminent. The fact that four films have been released since then also gives one hope for the studio's future.
Projects in development:
- The Red Turtle by Dudok de Wit, a co-production with Why Not Productions and Wild Bunch.
- sort-of named after the Caproni Ca.309 Ghibli fighter