Wow, huge news from Japan on Studio Ghibli's upcoming plans thanks to Miyazaki fansite Nausicaa.net. The site has translated and transcribed an interview with the legendary anime director/writer/artist from the September issue of Japan's Cut film magazine that contained oodles of fascinating info. However fascinating, though, it's merely distraction compared to the two big items: Hayao Miyazaki plans to write and direct a sequel to Porco Rosso, but only if The Borrower Arrietty does well and he doesn't dissolve the studio entirely.
That first item made my mouth fall agape, the second damn near caused me to choke. Let's tackle Porco Rosso 2 first. Miyazaki says the film will be called Porco Rosso: The Last Sortie and will take place during the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939. His plan is to pitch it as a tragedy to Ghibli head producer Toshio Suzuki, the gatekeeper for what does and doesn't get made at the place. Speaking of this powerful behind-the-scenes personality, Suzuki is also the man, Miyazaki states, charged with drawing up and implementing a dissolution plan for the studio should Arrietty "fail." What connotes failure isn't made clear, but if they do judge it to be a flop then the studio will cease production on all projects and pare down to a tiny number of staff who will manage copyrights of their existing products.
Dissolution seems inexplicably harsh considering the studio's past decade has only had one critical flop and several sparkling successes, not to mention their truly illustrious history. I know, I know--I fawn. But titles like Porco Rosso are fawn-worthy things. With the old man behind the production there's a very good shot that it'll be at least as magical as the first.