As veteran anime producer Toshio Suzuki continues to dance back and forth over the vague linguistic line of whether or not Studio Ghibli is getting out of the movie-making business, some distraught admirers can already see the vultures circling overhead. If this is the end of the line for Japan’s most revered animation house, it’s a sad day, but at least the format of Ghibli’s releases means there aren’t many loose narrative threads left dangling.

With the exception of 1993’s Ocean Waves, Ghibli’s commercial releases have all been theatrical features, most of which have a definite beginning, middle, and end. For the most part, the studio doesn’t really do sequels, since their films’ endings are just conclusive enough to satisfy fans while still leaving enough unanswered for them to comfortably mull over.

There is one big exception to this pattern, though, which is Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. For decades fans have been hoping for a continuation, and recent remarks by Suzuki are adding more credibility to rumors that such a project could be directed by Evangelion’s Hideaki Anno.

Anime is the focus of October’s 28th Tokyo International Film Festival, which includes a special retrospective on the Eva creator’s works titled The World of Hideaki Anno, which was initially proposed by Suzuki. Recently, the pair of animation icons appeared together at a press conference for the upcoming event, where Suzuki designated Anno as the person he expects to “be the driving force of anime, for at least the next 10 years.” He then went on to emphasize this by asserting, “Now that Miyazaki is retired, who else is there but Anno?”

At which point we can’t help but wonder if, from the back of the room, Mamoru Hosoda sheepishly raised his hand.

While the lengthy amount of time mentioned is no doubt a sign of Suzuki’s clear admiration of Anno’s considerable talents, it takes on another interesting layer in light of other statements Suzuki has made. Recently, in speaking about Ghibli’s nebulous future in the post-Miyazaki period, the producer has floated the ideas of the company’s animation production division disbanding or taking a hiatus. He’s peppered those remarks with ruminations about how Ghibli’s founding members wanted to create an organization where they could produce films when they wanted to, and stop when they didn’t.

If Ghibli does indeed plan to break up and then reform in the future, it seems like the studio would have to produce something in the next decade, or else risk its members all drifting irrecoverably far apart. Miyazaki says he’s done directing feature films, and Anno’s schedule should be free in a few years, with his own Evangelion movie series scheduled to wrap up after one more installment.

Should Ghibli need to bring in a director for a new project, why not Anno? Especially since Anno himself has spoken before about how he wants to adapt the large remaining portion of Miyazaki’s original Nausicaa manga into anime.

Aside from having obviously earned Suzuki’s respect, Anno is one of the few anime professionals to be openly praised by Miyazaki, who often gives the impression in interviews that his three favorite directors are Hayao Miyazaki, Hayao Miyazaki, and Hayao Miyazaki.

Of course, a lot of people would agree with the guy.

Aside from having animated one of the most impressive sequences in the Nausicaa film, in 2012 Anno created a mixed live-action/CG short titled Giant God Warrior Appears in Tokyo, featuring the gigantic biological weapons from the classic 1984 anime.

“Only people with a certain kind of talent can create things,” Suzuki told reporters, “Anno has that talent, and I want him to make good use of it.” Here’s hoping that good use turns out to be a return of Miyazaki’s very first warrior princess.

Source: Livedoor News