Japanese broadcaster Nippon TV has taken a controlling stake in acclaimed animation house Studio Ghibli.
A joint statement said that Nippon was taking 42.3% of the studio, which is behind animated features such as Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro and Howl’s Moving Castle.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the statement revealed that Studio Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki and president Toshio Suzuki had been seeking new management to replace them for some time.
Nippon TV’s senior operating officer and board director, Hiroyuki Fukuda, will now head up Studio Ghibli, with Suzuki becoming chairman and Miyazaki honorary chairman. The firm will become a “subsidiary” of Nippon.
“At Studio Ghibli, director Miyazaki Hayao is now 82 years old, and producer Suzuki Toshio is also 75 years old, and the issue of succession has been a problem for a long time,” said Studio Ghibli.
“Miyazaki Goro, the eldest son of founder Miyazaki Hayao and an animation film director himself, has been mentioned several times as the successor to Studio Ghibli. However, Miyazaki Goro himself firmly declined, believing that it would be difficult to carry Ghibli alone, and that it would be better to leave the future of the company to others.”
The studio is well known for its animated features, which also included Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service and its most recent release, The Boy And The Heron. The firm also produced TV series including Ronja, The Robber’s Daughter for NHK in 2014, and, more recently, the Star Wars short Zen – Grogu and Dust Bunnies for Disney+.
Nippon TV was also the Japanese broadcaster of the 1985 Miyazaki film Nausicaa Of The Valley of the Wind and an investor in 1989’s Kiki’s Delivery Service.
“Because Nippon Television has maintained a long-standing relationship with Studio Ghibli while respecting its values, we were confident that we could permanently protect Studio Ghibli’s ‘manufacturing’ and brand value,” said the two companies.