Studio Ghibli's Youngest Director Has Quit

Studio Ghibli's Youngest Director Has Quit

Last week, Studio Ghibli's Hiromasa Yonebayashi was talking about what kind of anime he would like to make next. This week, he's revealed he already left the studio.

Yonebayashi directed 2010's Arrietty from a script Hayao Miyazaki co-wrote. At the time, he was the youngest person to helm a theatrically released Studio Ghibli film. Now 41 years old, Yonebayashi recently directed When Marnie Was There, which will be released in the US in coming weeks.

With Marnie's international release just around the corner, Japanese website Oricon is reporting that while at an event for the movie's Japanese DVD and Blu-ray release, the director said, "I'm not at Ghibli. I quit the studio last year, and I'm no longer at the production company."

Yonebayashi said he talked to Studio Ghibli's Yoshiaki Nishimura, who produced When Marine Was There, about what this would mean. "I don't know yet what kind of shape this will take, but I'd again like to make something [at Studio Ghibli]."

In August 2014, it was revealed that Studio Ghibli was restructuring, causing some to worry about the studio's future. This past February, Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki said, "Right now, Studio Ghibli is open, but not in production." He added, "We're worrying over what would be good to make."

Yonebayashi began his career at Ghibli in the late 1990s, doing clean-up animation on Princess Mononoke and worked his way up to director.

Last week, Yonebayashi said that he wanted to do something that's different from Marnie, maybe perhaps like Ponyo. After revealing he quit Studio Ghibli, he talked a bit more about his future plays, saying he wanted to try his hand at making a fantasy anime. Studio Ghibli has made a couple of those. They're pretty damn good.


    I guess Ghibli really is done then. Yonebayashi was the guy they'd groomed to be the next generation director (actually the second director they'd tried that with, but Yoshifumi Kondo died of a stress-induced heart attack after directing Whisper of the Heart). Goro Miyazaki's serviceable as a director but not on the same par as Yonebayashi was, let alone the two veteran directors. Seems like if they do do anything else, they'll have to contract out the directorial duties.

      Upvoted because someone downvoted you for talking loudly the painful truth. It's sad news, but it's life. Ghibli dies, Terry Pratchett dies. We stay a bit longer then we also die. And so it goes.

        It's not necessarily the end for the studio. I wouldn't be surprised if they stick around and do a few more movies with outside directors. I know they've said many times that Hideaki Anno wanted to revisit Nausicaa, but he's busy with the last Evangelion film so I wouldn't think you'd see anything about that if it was happening for 3-4 years. I think they're done as a studio that produces their own films completely internally.

        Things would have turned out so differently had they not lost Kondo.

    I worry when the yardstick is Ponyo. Not one of their better recent films, IMO.

    If I were asked to pick a "fantasy" Ghibli out of the air, I'd probably say Earthsea - also not one of Ghibli's better efforts (though I enjoyed it.) Although most Ghibli films have some fantasy elements.

    Maybe it's time to let a new company take the lead. Makoto Shinkai generally does quality work, but his appeal is nowhere near as broad as Ghibli.

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