Surprise gesture of goodwill comes with an amusing caveat from producer Toshio Suzuki. 

Studio Ghibli has built up a reputation over the years for steadfastly keeping a stern hold over the distribution and copyright of their films, even once sending a samurai sword to Harvey Weinstein with the message “no cuts” in relation to the overseas version of Princess Mononoke.

So it’s come as a bit of a surprise to find the acclaimed animation studio finally releasing its once-firm grip on their movies this year, first with the release of their films on Netflix, and then with the free distribution of official backgrounds for Zoom meetings during the pandemic.

Now the studio is making another unprecedented move, by announcing they’ll be releasing hundreds of images from their movies for the public to use free-of-charge, with one caveat: they’re to be used “within the scope of common sense.”

▼ The images were released with this handwritten message from Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki: “Please use them freely within the scope of common sense.”

While this proviso might sound a little odd, it’s merely a reminder that this gesture of goodwill shouldn’t be abused for advertising or ill purposes. And it certainly is a gesture of goodwill, as they’ve released a whopping 400 downloadable images from eight of their movies, with the promise of more to come in future.

There are 50 images available for each of the following movies:

When Marnie Was There


The Secret World of Arrietty

From Up On Poppy Hill

The Tale of The Princess Kaguya

The Wind Rises

Tales From Earthsea

▼ Spirited Away

The images, which can be downloaded from the official Studio Ghibli website, are a beautiful reminder of the stunning hand-drawn animated scenes produced by the studio. While they’re beautiful to browse through on their own, the images can also be used as screensavers, inspiration for artists and aspiring animators, or for printing out in glossy colour to decorate the walls of your home.

Now that the Ghibli Museum has tentatively reopened after being closed for six months during the pandemic, it’s nice to see the anime studio doing what it can to spread joy around the world during these trying times. We can’t wait to see what films will be included in the next release of images!

Source, images: Studio Ghibli
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