Legendary Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli could be in the process of shutting down production as general manager Toshio Suzuki is reported to have confirmed the company is undergoing restructuring — a translated transcript of which has been made available by the Anime News Network.
Suzuki announced a halt in production yesterday on Japanese television, confirming plans to downsize staff to manage trademarks and copyrights on its portfolio of 20 feature films.
The company's demise has been rumored in the last month following the poor profits of its recent releases, including the studio's latest film When Marnie Was There which was released in Japan last month.
Studio Ghibli was founded in 1985 by Miyazaki, Isao Takahata and Suzuki following the success of classic anime film Naussica: Valley of the Wind. The company would go on to produce a number of films including My Neighbor Totoro, Pom Poko and Spirited Away, before moving briefly into video games territory with the co-produced release of Ni No Kuni.
Ni No Kuni, co-developed by Studio Ghibli and Level-5, received a 6.5 out of 10 from Polygon at its launch on PlayStation 3.
"Level-5 hasn't created a bad game but an inconsistent one that doesn't seem to understand its own strengths and weaknesses," reads the review. "The flashy look and cheerful tone will pull some people through, but at its core, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is missing a chunk of its heart that's hard to ignore."