Isao Takahata, co-founder of Studio Ghibli, passed away at the age of 82 this Thursday, April 5, 2018. He has had a prolific career as producer, animator, and director of many animated films at many companies.
Takahata began as an assistant at Toei Animation in 1959, and eventually founded Studio Ghibli with Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki, and Yasuyoshi Tokuma. His directorial works ranged from Studio Ghibli’s films such as Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Castle in the Sky, to animated adaptations of popular stories like Anne of Green Gables, and popular anime such as Lupin the 3rd. Other films you may recognize include Kiki’s Delivery Service, Only Yesterday, Pom Poko, and Tale of the Princess Kaguya.
One of his most well-known films is perhaps Grave of the Fireflies (director and screenplay), a highly emotional and devastating World War II narrative depicting the lives of 14-year-old Seita and 4-year-old Setsuko as they struggle to survive in the final days of the war after an air raid leaves them orphaned. The film has received international recognition and critical acclaim. Pulitzer Prize award film critic Roger Ebert considers it to be one of the best and most powerful war films.
Takahata will be missed.