Studio Ghibli is a recognizable name for being a magical storytelling studio, but the name of the studio itself also has an interesting origin and meaning. When talking about anime or feature-length animation, it’s almost impossible not to hear the name Studio Ghibli brought up. The studio has been a powerhouse since its inception in the 80s and especially since breaking into Western pop culture in the 90s with its legendary film Princess Mononoke. A proper explanation of the anime titan’s name has never really been given; While the Studio Ghibli site suggests the name was chosen for its symbolic meaning, the studio’s acclaimed co-founder and director Hayao Miyazaki once said it was a random name he chose and nothing what’s more.
With the master responsible for the film My Neighbor Totoro in their team, it’s very possible that he was picked at random, but that seems hard to believe with Miyazaki at the helm. After going back and forth to find a distributor for their films aimed at Western audiences, Studio Ghibli finally struck a deal that would allow its films to be released unchanged from the original releases, something Miyazaki was very adamant about. , and that is understandable. He proved he knew his stuff to the rest of the world when Princess Mononoke arrived in 1997 and changed the anime and animation industries forever.
Ultimately, the name may have a meaning after all. Word “ghibli“is of Arabic origin and roughly translates to”a very hot wind.” The theory fans have about this origin is that Studio Ghibli aimed to become a hot new wind blowing through the anime industry, changing the future of the genre. Knowing the background of Studio Ghibli since its inception, this explanation is appropriate and well deserved. The other fan theory has to do with Miyazaki himself, as evidenced by movies like Porco Rosso and his beautiful story, being an airplane enthusiast as a child. The theory is that he took the name of the Caproni Ca.309 Ghibli, a World War II Italian reconnaissance aircraft, which got its name from the same warm Mediterranean wind, because he liked the sound of the word.
Why Both Meanings of the Studio Ghibli Name Make Sense
Either explanation works for Studio Ghibli. From the company’s marketing perspective, wanting to say something bold by promoting its artists and storytellers as the best is a bold naming strategy. If it was a bet, then it worked. The Studio Ghibli name is both unique and memorable.
Plan theory also makes sense. Since Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Ghibli’s first animated feature, Miyazaki’s adoration of the sky and flight was prevalent in his work. Miyazaki’s father ran an aircraft parts manufacturing business in Japan during World War II that was owned by Miyazaki’s uncle. He would have been very familiar with many types of planes and might have liked the Italian aircraft nicknamed “Ghibli”, with the word that will stick with him years later.
But the word itself, “ghibli“, captures the feeling that the studio often conjures up. The word just sounds cute, a whimsical word for an elemental phenomenon, which fully evokes the work of Studio Ghibli. The studio is so good at capturing the raw feeling of nostalgia, as well as the , at times, heavy themes of war and peace.Through it all, it’s always laced with a bit of fantasy and nature.Ultimately, the name Studio Ghibli could have been Miyazaki’s own blessing to remember his childhood when creating the joy in his stories.