Studio Ghibli Icon, Isao Takahata, Dies at 82

Takahata started Ghibli with Oscar-winning animator Hayao Miyazaki in 1985, hoping to create Japan's Disney, and helped shape the style and voice of what became one of the world's most respected animation studios as well as this nation's prized cultural export.

His last film, 2013's The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, was nominated for an Academy Award. He would later be promoted to director but his debut Hols: Prince of the Sun was a commercial failure and Takahata was demoted. His most notable achievement, however, was his work on Grave of the Fireflies, one of the first feature length films for Studio Ghibli that he exclusively directed.

He directed films such as the grim, war-themed Grave of the Fireflies, the romantic drama Only Yesterday, the ecological adventure Pom Poko, and the comedy My Neighbors the Yamadas. He also served as a producer and writer for a number of films, such as the much-admired Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Ghibli's first film Castle in the Sky. His big break was actually with Toei Animation while he was in University. More recently, he was also artistically involved with Michaël Dudok de Wit's The Red Turtle.


His latest and most recent work The Tale of Princess Kaguya was critically acclaimed for its making and content. Though at occasions Takahata has denied this praise, but critics like Roger Ebert call this movie as a classic example of an anti-war film and easily be categorised under the list of greatest war films ever to be made.

An adaptation of a popular tale from the 10th century - considered one of the founding texts of Japanese literature - the film was also selected for a slot in the Director's Fortnight sidebar to the main Cannes film competition in 2014.


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