Studio Ghibli

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum



Background

Studio Ghibli, Inc. (株式会社スタジオジブリ, Kabushiki-gaisha Sutajio Jiburi) (formerly known as Topcraft (トップクラフト, Toppukurafuto) until June 15, 1985) is a Japanese animation film studio founded in 1971 by former Toei Animation producer Toru Hara. Under the Topcraft name, the studio was known for the production of Nausicaä and the Valley of the Wind and doing hand-drawn animation for Rankin/Bass. It filed for bankruptcy in 1984 (possibly due to the expensive production costs of Nausicaä), which resulted in most of the animators to create a new company called Pacific Animation Corporation, which was sold to Disney and renamed to Walt Disney Animation Japan in 1988, and was dissolved in 2004, the animation staff founded another studio known as The Answer Studio Co. Ltd., while the non-animation staff moved to Disney's Japanese branch. Meanwhile during the studio's bankruptcy, Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki and Isao Takahata bought the studio and renamed it to its current name. The success of Nausicaä caught the attention of Manson International, which would purchase the film's distribution rights from World Film Corporation (the film's international distributor) in all territories outside Asia and release the film in the US via New World Pictures in 1985, but heavily edited. Following that, Miyazaki imposed a "no cuts" policy for all of their later films which led to many of Ghibli's works ending up releasing in several Asian territories (including Hong Kong) for the rest of the decade. In 1993, 50th Street Films released My Neighbor Totoro in the US, using the Streamline-Tokuma dub produced in 1989. In 1996 (a year after Mason's worldwide rights to Nausicaä expired), Tokuma and The Walt Disney Studios inked a worldwide distribution agreement (including Japanese home video rights, except Asia) between the two parties, which included the Studio Ghibli theatrical library. This deal would begin with the Ghibli ga Ippai Collection, which began in August of that same year while the US would get Kiki's Delivery Service via Buena Vista Home Video two years later, albeit briefly edited (due to possible licensing issues with EMI). While the entirety of the library was included, certain productions such as My Neighbor Totoro were excluded in certain territories due to existing distribution agreements, which were lapsed and were later given to Disney. By this time, newly-produced English dubs for Ghibli's previous titles were made featuring celebrity voice actors (which would become a staple for Ghibli's English dubs), but most titles wouldn't get dubbed until many years later. However, Miramax Films acquired the rights to Princess Mononoke in several territories, including the US, but had to wait until 1999 to release the film in North America, due to the company wanting to cut content from the film but Miyazaki refused. The international failure of Princess Mononoke, caused Disney's theatrical release of Castle in the Sky (titled internationally as Laputa: Castle in the Sky) to be delayed indefinitely until 2003, when it was ultimately released on DVD. Beginning with 2001's Spirited Away, Ghibli began working with Wild Bunch International to handle global sales of Ghibli's future works (with the company adding most of their past titles in the coming years). In 2017, GKIDS took over their past catalog in North America after working with them on distributing From Up on Poppy Hill, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and When Marnie was There in that region respectively, officially ending the Disney-Ghibli deal for good. In 2019, Ghibli opened up their catalogue to digital retailers and streaming services, which led to HBO Max (later known as Max) purchasing the streaming rights to the library in the US, while Netflix picked up the rights elsewhere on behalf of Wild Bunch International (and in Canada via GKIDS) the following year respectively. The studio previously was a subsidiary of Tokuma Shoten until 2005.

The name "Ghibli" was chosen by Miyazaki from the Italian noun "ghibli" (also used in English), based on the Libyan Arabic name for hot desert wind (قبلي, ghiblī), the idea being that the studio would "blow a new wind through the anime industry".

The company's mascot, as shown in its logo, is Totoro from the 1988 film My Neighbor Totoro. Several anime features created by Studio Ghibli have won the Animage Anime Grand Prix award including Laputa: Castle in the Sky in 1986, My Neighbor Totoro in 1988, and Kiki's Delivery Service in 1989. In 2002, Spirited Away won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature, the first anime film to win an Academy Award. However, Studio Ghibli never used this logo until 1991, instead they used "TOKUMA PUBLISHING PRESENTS" in their films. On August 3, 2014, Hayao Miyazaki (the director) retired, temporarily halting production. However, Miyazaki came out of retirement on February 13, 2017 and announced a new movie titled The Boy and the Heron, which was released on July 14, 2023. Later that year, Nippon TV and Ghibli announced that the former would purchase a controlling stake in the studio which was finalized by October of that year.

Logo (July 20, 1991-)


Visuals: On a blue background, there is a drawing of the character Totoro from the 1988 film My Neighbor Totoro, with Little Totoro sitting on his head. The Japanese characters "スタジオジブリ作品" are seen on the bottom right, and underneath that is "STUDIO GHIBLI" in Futura, with a line above it.

Variants:

  • On the 1994 Fox Video release of My Neighbor Totoro, the logo fades out and goes straight to the "This film has been modified" screen.
  • A rare variant used for a couple English-language promos for Princess Mononoke (1997) removes the Japanese characters & the text reads "A STUDIO GHIBLI PRODUCTION" in a bold Futura font instead.
  • Starting with Spirited Away in 2001, this logo was updated to a light blue background, from the previous dark blue. The text also appears to be bolder.
    • HD masters of Ghibli movies use this version instead of the previous one.

Technique: Still digital graphic with Totoro as a hand-drawn graphic

Audio: None, or the opening theme of the movie.

Audio Variants:

  • On the German dubbings of Howl's Moving Castle and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, the logo uses the last half of the VIP Media Group music (likely due to a reverse plaster). This oddity can be seen on the Region 2 DVDs of the aforementioned titles.
  • On the unreleased 1999 Disney dub of Castle in the Sky (which was later given a public release in 2003 on DVD), the opening theme can be heard, but it is silent if you select either the "Japanese" or "French" tracks. This is mostly due to Disney demanding Joe Hisaishi (the film's composer) to rescore and extend the film's musical score to appeal more to American audiences (aside from use of celebrity voices and additional dialogue).

Availability:

  • Can be seen on Studio Ghibli movies since 1991 starting with Isao Takahata's Only Yesterday, but also put at the beginning of re-releases of older Ghibli films such as Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service among others.
  • It is also used as a de-facto home video logo on releases of their titles outside of Asia since around 2009 (it was also used on the 1994 Fox Video release of My Neighbor Totoro) following the logo for whatever distributor distributes their material (the North American Disney releases however only have their logo). On post-2017-US prints of their back catalog, this logo would be preceded by the GKIDS logo. It is spotted on the Australian and UK Blu-rays of Ponyo.
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