Studio Ghibli animation studio web page

DEVELOPING: Studio Ghibli, long home to the now-retired Oscar winner whom the Walt Disney Corp. has called the Walt Disney of Japanese animation, may shut its animation-production facilities because of the challenges of financing new features, according to an interview of an unnamed company insider posted on Japanese news sites.

The rumbles about the studio’s future have gotten louder in recent months after the latest retirement of Hayao Miyazaki, the 73-year-old director and animator whose Spirited Away won the 2003 Oscar for Best Animated feature. Miyazaki said he was stepping out of animation for good after his latest film, The Wind Risesdebuted last year, and went on to become his third Oscar nominee. When Disney took over distribution of Miyazaki’s films in the United States, it billed him as “the Walt Disney of Japanese animation.” Miyazaki’s many ardent fans famously include Pixar co-founder (and now head of Disney Animation) John Lasseter, who exec-produced the English-language translations of Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle.

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