General Manager implies world-renowned anime studio may close its doors this year
Update: Kotaku's Brian Ashcraft is reporting that some of the conflicting reports about Studio Ghibli's future may be informed by incorrect translations of Toshio Suzuki's interview with the MBS program Jounetsu Tairiku.
In addition, SlashFilm's Russ Fischer is similarly reporting that Ghibli's plans are closer to "housecleaning" or "restructuring," though it's not yet clear whether that means the studio's animation department will remain open.
Original Story: In what is being received as heartbreaking news for fans of anime, animation and film history in general, Studio Ghibli - the legendary Japanese animation studio most famous for bringing the works of Hayao Miyazaki to the world - will shut down its animation studio this year according to multiple sources.
General Manager Toshio Suzuki is reported to have confirmed the news earlier today on a Japanese news-talk show, sending shockwaves through the anime community despite the move having been heavily rumored since last year's high-profile retirement of Hayao Miyazaki and the box-office underperformance of The Tale of Princess Kaguya. The studios now-final production, When Marnie Was There, opened a month ago in Japan. According to Suzuki, the company will transition to focus on licensing and merchandising characters and trademarks from its various classic films, while maintaining a small staff for "Miyazaki projects," though without an animation studio it is unclear what such projects would entail.
Founded in 1985 by Miyazaki, Isao Takahata and Suzuki after the success of Naussica: Valley of The Wind, Ghibli is widely considered to be the Anime world's equivalent to Walt Disney. It produced world-recognized classics such as My Neighbor Totoro, Laputa: Castle in The Sky and the Academy Award winning Spirited Away. The studio also co-produced the video game Ni no Kuni between 2010 and 2013 across various platforms.
At this time, no information has been made available as to the plans of the studios other now-departing animators or of any previously in-production projects.