For fans of anime, there’s nothing quite like the works of Studio Ghibli. The small team of animators spends years lovingly crafting each amazing story, bringing to life tales of adventure, love, and friendship through countless hand-drawn frames. From My Neighbor Totoro to Howl’s Moving Castle, each captivating film allows viewers to immerse themselves in magical fantasy worlds.
Studio Ghibli was founded by animator, director, producer, screenwriter, author, and manga artist Hayao Miyazaki; Japanese film director Isao Takahata; and producer Toshio Suzuki. Over the last 37 years, they’ve created 20 feature films (and counting), plus several short films, and television commercials. Read on to discover the history and future of the legendary animation studio.
The Beginnings of Studio Ghibli
Takahata and Miyazaki first met in the 1960s when they both worked for Japanese animation studio Tôei Dôga. They worked together for more than a decade, but it wasn’t until the mid 1980s that they decided to start their own venture. In 1985—with funding from Tokyo-based publishing company Tokuma Shoten—Takahata, Miyazaki, and Suzuki founded Studio Ghibli, a small production studio in the suburbs of Tokyo.
The trio’s first feature film was Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, a post-apocalyptic fantasy adventure based on a manga of the same name published by Miyazaki. Released under the Tokuma Shoten name, it was a success, and prompted the small team to begin their next production. In 1986, Studio Ghibli released Laputa: Castle in the Sky, the story of a young orphan boy and a farm girl who embark on a journey to explore the mystical floating city of Laputa.
Unlike other animation studios at the time, Studio Ghibli didn’t care for international commercial success at first. The makers purely wanted to use their art to explore the depths of the human experience, and tell heart-felt, poetic stories. Void of traditional villains, even the Ghibli “baddies” are somewhat likable, each with their own backstory to explain their behavior.[…]