Monday, July 21, 2014

Outsourced Away

I know the feeling.

... Japanese animation production company Studio Ghibli could be about to call it a day. The producer of much beloved films such as Spirited Away, My Neighbour Tortoro, Princess Mononoke and Howl's Moving Castle among many, many others is rumoured to be moving towards scaling back its operations, with the biggest casualty of this being ceasing producing feature films.

The move comes on the heels of the retirement of studio co-founder and director of much of its output Hayao Miyazaki from feature films. Though he's toyed with the idea of retirement many times in the past, it appears this time he's serious, with last year's The Wind Rises being his last film. In addition, fellow studio co-founder Toshio Suzuki also stepped down from producing films, moving into the role of studio General Manager.

Now with Ghibli preparing to release its latest film When Marnie Was There, unconfirmed rumours are surfacing that it might be the studio's last. The rising cost of animation production is cited as a leading cause for the move, with Ghibli's dogged stance of maintaining a locally focused production unit, rather than outsourcing animation overseas. ...

Filmation (Lou Scheimer's studio) also prided itself for doing all work in-house years after competitors had sent most departments overseas. The studio went belly up in early 1989, and I was there with lots of others to get thrown into the drink.

Hopefully Studio Ghibli won't go the way of Studio Lou, but animation being what it is, a closure wouldn't surprise me. All studios -- save Walt's place -- are fungible.

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