Anime fans around the world are crushed that Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli, will be taking a break from producing more films. Toshio Suzuki, the general manager of the studio, made the announcement on Japanese TV channel MBS on Monday.
Initial translations of his statement mistook the announcement to mean that the studio was shutting down permanently. However, anime website Kotaku later reported that the studio is simply taking a break from producing more films.
The studio is taking time to restructure, restricting itself to manage the trademarks for its existing portfolio of films.
"On what to do with Studio Ghibli's future, it is by no means impossible to keep producing [movies] forever. However, we will take a brief pause to consider where to go from here." said Suzuki. The news comes almost a year after its co-founder and legendary anime filmmaker, Hayao Miyazaki, announced his retirement.
Studio Ghibli was founded in 1985 by Miyazaki and Isao Takahata and is credited with popularising anime across the world.
A few months before his retirement last year, Miyazaki, in the documentary The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, had predicted that the studio will eventually shut down. "The future is clear. It's going to fall apart. I can already see it."
Miyazaki's last film, The Wind Rises, was critically acclaimed and nominated for the Academy Award for the Best Animated Feature Film earlier this year.
His film Spirited Away, became the first non-English language film to win an Oscar for the best animation film in 2002. It also won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival the same year.
Many of the studio's films have been top grossers at the box-office in Japan. Some of its best- known films include My Neighbour Totoro (1988), Grave of the Fireflies (1988) Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) Princess Mononoke (1977) and Howl’s Moving Castle (2004).
Fans are already mourning the loss of more films from the studio.
Studio Ghibli have made my most loved films, it would be devastating if they confirm they won't make any more. pic.twitter.com/Dj0TRS5Mtj
— Matt Tarrant (@MattTarrant) August 4, 2014
Very sad to hear that Studio Ghibli has ceased producing films. A huge loss to animation.
— Last Exit To Nowhere (@LASTEXITshirts) August 3, 2014
Why is Studio Ghibli taking a temporary break from production? Why is the world so cruel?
— Anna Huntsman (@anna_the_duck) August 5, 2014