A Fond Farewell to Studio Ghibli


Working on getting ready for GenCon 2014, where we’ll be presenting the Firefly RPG corebook in print. I’m also wrapping up some other gaming supplements that have been sitting on the back burner, and am getting ready to dive into a new (yet announced) edition of an RPG in September. Been scrambling, really, to get caught up after our move and make sure I answer questions as fast as I possibly can. The Firefly RPG fans are reaching out to us every which when they can, and myself and our team have been hitting the forums, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, etc. and while everybody has been great? I’m ready for some time off from the web, in part because the news has been incredibly depressing lately and it’s hard NOT to see it, even when you’re logging in to answer a few questions.

I suppose any art-related news I share will likely sound anti-climatic given today’s current events, but it does depress me that Studio Ghibli is putting an end to new film production on so, so many levels. I watch a lot of anime, along the lines of Death Note and Ghost in the Shell, and fell in love with Studio Ghibli’s films some time ago, beginning with the first film I saw of theirs, Princess Mononoke. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been in love with Far East myths and legends and really love the growth of characters in these films. It’s sometimes hard for Western audiences to grasp, but often the antagonist (like Lady Eboshi in Princess Mononoke) isn’t a flat “villain” in the sense that the audience clearly knows/wants this character to get what’s coming to her/him. X-Men’s Magneto is a good Western example; in some cases he’s clearly rendered as “the” character to bring down. In others, you sympathize and even want him to survive. Not to get too off-topic, but in strange writerly facts I’m obsessed with martial arts films(1), too. I also have a kodama on my netbook and more collectibles than I care to admit. *fist bump*

Totoro Screencap

Though they do have films in their catalog that are more eastern, like the fairy tale Spirited Away and From Up On Poppy Hill, the company has also adapted books to animation, like the amazing Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle. Ghibli’s attention to artistic details, which employ traditional animation visuals, has turned me into a huge fan.(3) What this news means for the future of 2D animation I’m not really sure, but I do hope that 2D animation won’t be totally replaced by 3D modeling. What can I say? 3D modeling and digital animation has greatly improved over the years, but I’m in love with brushstrokes and line art. I much prefer to see the artistry than a sterile, perfect rendering. Art is my religion.

soot sprites

Studio Ghibli, in my mind, is the reason why more people here in the states have become familiar with anime in general. I can only imagine the studio’s impact and popularity in Japan and how this news is being received fans over there–maybe one day I’ll be lucky enough to travel and visit the Studio Ghibli Museum. Regardless, the films are all exemplary(3) in my mind and I’m sure I’ll enjoy them for years to come. Just very, very sad that there won’t be anymore.

Kodama Screen Cap

(1) As my memory is shot, I don’t really remember titles or *gasp* names unless I write them down immediately before or after. See also: this is the reason why I am surrounded by notebooks. Tsui Hark is one director I follow, though.

(2) Note that I opted for a screencap from Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and My Neighbor Totoro in this post.

(3) Ayup. Fan art may be in my future.

UPDATE: A reader on Google+ shared this new article with me. Seems there might be more to the story here. Studio Ghibli Is Not Dead Yet

    Mood: Wait. It’s Monday, again? WTF’ery is this?
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: There is not enough chemically-induced lifts created in the history of mankind to get me through to today.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Well, I unloaded more boxes. You know, because unpacking is work.
    In My Ears: That shocked sound you make when you realize you left the air conditioning on all night.
    Game Last Played: Age of Reckoning: Kingdoms of Amalur.
    Book Last Read: Re-reading His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman
    Movie Last Viewed: Spirited Away
    Latest Artistic Project: Making gifts.
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing. See also: need to write more flipping comics and exercise my art skillz again. Feh.
    Latest Game Release: Mortal Remains
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work, original comics, short stories, and novels.

Monica Valentinelli is an author, artist, and narrative designer who writes about magic, mystery, and mayhem. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore near you.

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