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Nippon TV Acquires Studio Ghibli

Not so many years ago Studio Ghibli's future was far from certain. With Hayao Miyazaki retired, the studio paused production and its staff moved on to other things. This wouldn't last long as Miyazaki came out of retirement, firstly to work on a short for The Studio Ghibli Museum, and then to work on his new feature The Boy And The Heron (aka How Do You Live?). Now that Miyazaki's latest opus is in Japanese cinemas Ghibli has made a major announcement.

Japanese broadcaster Nippon TV (NTV) has announced that it will acquire 42.3% of the shares of Studio Ghibli. Once completed, this will make NTV Ghibli's largest shareholder and will make the studio a subsidiary of Nippon TV. This is a big deal, as Ghibli has been independent since its founding.

The two companies called a press conference that was fronted by Nippon TV representative director and operating officer Yoshikuni Sugiyama and Ghibli president and co-founder Toshio Suzuki. Suzuki said that the search for the successors to the studio's founders, Miyazaki, Suzuki and the late Isao Takahata, prompted the acquisition plans. The studio has offered the role to Goro Miyazaki several times, but he has turned it down- plus there's the fact that Miyazaki Snr is against the idea of his son taking over. 

How will Studio Ghibli becoming part of NTV affect its future? It's likely that the company will become more 'commercial' and will try to make the most of its library. This might see more merchandising, sequels, prequels and spin-offs, even TV series. Releases might be more regular and we might see more CGI films like Earwig And The Witch.

The studio might begin to act a bit more like a 'normal' anime studio and do things like work on television series for broadcast or streaming.

This is all speculation, however, and NTV might yet leave the current staff to run the company as they have for the past three decades. One thing's for sure: interesting times are ahead for Studio Ghibli.