Studio Ghibli Announces Surprise Acquisition by Nippon TV
Animation giant Studio Ghibli, fresh off a new film, is now announcing its acquisition by Nippon TV following decades of independence.
By Noah Oskow
Today has brought big news for Japan’s most internationally beloved animation house. Studio Ghibli, creators of such filmic staples as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Grave of the Fireflies, is now set to become a subsidiary of domestic television company Nippon TV . The broadcast corporation has a long, fruitful history with Ghibli. Nonetheless, this marks a major change for Ghibli, which has functioned as an independent company for nearly two decades.
Observers of Studio Ghibli may have expected that changes were afoot at the company. After all, the past decade has seen Ghibli in a state of flux; from 2014, the studio ceased film production for the first time since its foundation in 1985. This followed a period from the 1990s in which Ghibli films could reliably become the biggest box office hit in Japan nearly every year one released.
From there, in a shocking move, Ghibli excised its famed production department. Soon, however, the company was again working on new projects, mostly with a team of contracted animators. 2020 saw the release of Miyazaki Goro’s CG-animated TV film Earwig and the Witch. The first in-house film for Ghibli in six years, Earwig was met with poor critical reaction; however, the recent theatrical release of studio co-founder Miyazaki Hayao’s The Boy and the Heron has achieved greater success.
All in all, this has been a bumpy decade for Ghibli, with issues of company succession still unresolved. Questions have been raised about the financing for The Boy and the Heron, thought to be a very expensive undertaking. While the movie has taken in over 8.16 billion yen ($55.25 million) , even this amount pales in comparison to what previous Miyazaki films have made. With Ghibli remaining a valuable and respected brand, this sort of shakeup is perhaps understandable.