This may seem like a cruel joke, but appears to sadly be true. A number of news sources internationally have reported that Ghibli's General Manager Toshio Suzuki announced on a Japanese news talk show today that the studio will be shutting down its animation studio. The studio will be transitioning to licensing and merchandising characters and trademarks from its various classic films, as well as keeping a small staff on hand to take part in "Miyazaki projects" that are yet to be revealed. The reasons for the shut down of the animation studio are heavily rumored to be due to Hayao Miyazaki's retirement from animation direction last year and financial issues that plagued the studio over the past year as one of their recent films, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, underperformed in box office earnings in Japanese theaters as it only earned back half the money spent for its animation budget. The studio's final film, When Marnie Was There, was recently released in Japanese theaters on July 19.
UPDATE: Have some additional details on this news. It looks like many of the news sources may have misunderstood Suzuki's announcement regarding Studio Ghibli's future due to a mistranslation. Anime News Network is reporting that the studio is currently taking a hiatus from future animated works to plan out and restructure the company, with the possibility of releasing some among its production department or even completely shutting down any future animation production. It would seem things are still uncertain with the future of the studio for now, but all is not doom and gloom right now.
At an announcement conference in Shinigawa, Tokyo just today, the staff and crew for the upcoming Fate/ Stay Night TV anime at Ufotable revealed their production plans with the popular Type-Moon franchise. Instead of one project, they will be working on two animated projects for the franchise. The TV anime they will be developing will be an all-new adaptation of the Unlimited Blade Works route from the Fate/ Stay Night visual novel that will be made to air for two separate seasons. The first half of the series will premiere on Japanese television on October 4 and the second half will resume things in April 2015.
Unlimited Blade Works is the second route in the Stay Night visual novel game that focuses on Shiro Emiya's interactions with Rin Tohsaka as the two team together to deal with developments in the fifth Holy Grail War where magi can summon the spirits of seven legendary heroes to compete in duels to the death where the winner will be able to make a wish upon the Holy Grail. Unlimited Blade Works was previously adapted into a 90-minute film adaptation by Studio Deen in 2010, where it was later licensed for American video release by Sentai Filmworks. A trailer for the upcoming Unlimited Blade Works TV anime can be seen here:
As for the second animated project...
Ufotable will be adapting the Heaven's Feel route of the Stay Night series into a film adaptation that they are presently in development with. Heaven's Feel is the third route in the visual novel series that had yet to receive an animated adaptation until now. It is the darkest among the three routes of the visual novel as it will focus on Shiro's interactions with Sakura Matou, a girl in his class who has romantic interest in him and regularly deals with an abusive relationship that she has with members of the Matou family that escalates during the events of the Holy Grail War. A trailer for the upcoming Heaven's Feel movie can be seen below:
Figured I'd cover this in case no one has gotten word of it. The Weekly Shonen Jump manga publication has announced that the manga series, Assassination Classroom, will be getting an anime adaptation that will air on Fuji TV late night in Japan every Friday starting in January. A commercial commemorating the new anime series will be hosted on the title's web site in the near-future and Weekly Shonen Jump will be releasing a still of the characters in the series in anime form at Fuji TV's headquarters.
The anime is based on Yusei Matsui's popular and ongoing comedy manga series of the same name focused on a middle school that has a classroom full of misfit students whose teacher is an alien octopus with psychic powers. Said alien has destroyed the moon and plans to destroy the Earth unless his students can succeed in killing him by the end of the year. The Assassination Classroom manga series has been licensed by Viz Media, who plan to release the first volume of the series for American readers in December.
Expect this blog posting to be regularly updated throughout this weekend to account for any later announcements made by American distributors throughout the weekend at Anime Expo. Outside of licensing announcements, I will also add in details on other announcements made by distributors during their industry panels:
Viz plans to release the series to DVD and Blu-Ray sometime later this year, included with additional OVA episodes.
Main Voice Cast
Supporting Voice Cast
Viz is planning to release the first BD/ DVD boxset of the series on November 11; with the Special Edition set including six discs, a chipboard box with space for the second part BD/ DVD set and an 88-page booklet containing artwork, character profiles and episode guides. Extras on the discs will include an interactive art gallery, behind-the-scenes voice recording, announcement panel and fan reactions, sizzle trailer, creditless opening and closing sequences and other trailers. Pre-ordering the Special Edition boxset through Rightstuf will get fans a collectible coin while supplies last.
This is some pretty big news if you're a fan of the Sailor Moon anime franchise. At Anime Central just today, Viz Media announced that they have acquired licensing rights to all TV seasons, specials and movies to Sailor Moon. This licensing snag includes the fifth season of the franchise never released in America called Sailor Stars and the upcoming Sailor Moon Crystal series that will premiere in Japan on July 5. The older titles of the franchise will be released entirely unedited, include a new English dub and will be streamed in subbed format via Viz's Neon Alley service on Hulu starting Monday with its first four episodes and adding on two additional ones for each Monday afterward. Viz plans to start releasing box sets of the older seasons in the series sometime late in the year, while they will announce more details on their release plans with Sailor Moon Crystal in the future. In celebration of the acquisition, Viz plans to hold a "Sailor Moon Day" event at Anime Expo on July 5 (the day of Sailor Moon Crystal's premiere) to host panels with the new dub staff and crew, as well as try attracting a large number of Sailor Moon cosplayers.
The Sailor Moon anime franchise is a long-popular mahou shoujo series based on Naoko Takeuchi's manga series of the same name that debuted in February 1992. The anime focuses on Usagi Tsukino and several middle school girls around her age gaining magical powers based on the moon and planets to battle the forces of evil. The first season and part of the second series, Sailor Moon R, was first brought to America in an edited format for syndication in the mid-1990s by DIC Entertainment and later brought onto Cartoon Network's Toonami block. DIC's English dub was infamous for Americanizing the names of the characters, altering or cutting out plot points and editing or removing content considered objectionable to a young American audience. The later two seasons, Sailor Moon Super S and Sailor Moon Star S, also aired on Toonami which were more faithful to the Japanese script, yet altered several plot points which notably included Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune being cousins instead of lesbian lovers. The first four seasons of the series were originally released to video in the 2000s in unedited formats by ADV Films and Geneon, with the former having rights to the first season and R while the latter had rights to Super S and Star S.
Here is a video of Viz's announcement regarding their acquisition of the Sailor Moon franchise...