Isao Takahata, one of the founders of the world-renowned Studio Ghibli, passed away April 5th, 2018. News reporting websites Sanspo and NTV News 24 broke the news that the Director and visionary passed away in a Tokyo hospital at the age of 82. Unnamed parties also indicated that Takahata’s health had been declining for quite some time prior to this tragic news.

After working for three decades alongside fellow founder Hayao Miyazaki on countless projects and delighting millions of fans across the globe, Takahata retired in 2013. While he and Miyazaki are likely the most commonly known names from the Studio, Takahata is specifically well known for his incredible writing and film directing. This made him an indispensable part of the team and one of the keys to the Studio’s success.

Takahata was born October 29, 1935, in Ise, Mie, Japan. After completing standard schooling, he graduated from the University of Tokyo. Following his graduation, Takahata directed his first feature, THE LITTLE NORSE PRINCE VALIANT, with Toei Animation. The success following his initial strides into anime was tremendous. Takahata has earned honors and acclaim including the 2014 Anime d’Or, Winsor McCay Award for lifetime achievement, and the 2009 Leopard of Honor. Takahata entered deeper into the realm of animation in 1985. He quickly became working partners and close friends with Miyazaki before the two founded Studio Ghibli in 1985. Both men went on to produce dozens of works and become critically acclaimed authorities in the world of anime.

How ELFEN LIED Successfully Uses Transgression to Stand Out

A Legendary Legacy

The duo’s Studio Ghibli films are among the best works of animation in the history of the industry. GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES, ONLY YESTERDAY, POM POKO, AND MY NEIGHBORS THE YAMADAS are all incredible works on their own. Especially among these is GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES. This film adapts a memoir of a young brother and sister’s survival in the aftermath of World War II. While committing itself to strong themes of love and protection, it also displays the existential trauma of war. This film is likely Takahata’s most well known and well-respected work.

Takahata’s film, THE TALE OF PRINCESS KAGUYA, was his final film prior to retirement. THE TALE OF PRINCESS KAGUYA adapts the classic Japanese folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. In this story, a farmer finds an infant girl the size of his thumb after slicing a bamboo branch. The narrative then follows the girl as she grows into a beautiful princess and deals with struggles of love and marriage. Her beauty attracts many suitors, and with them come problems of their pursuit and difficulties with how Kaguya sees her own identity.

These are just two of Takahata’s extraordinary influences. To list all of his achievements in media and animation would produce miles of accolades and successes.

Saying Farewell to Isao Takahata

In a time when anime is growing incredibly fast, it’s often difficult to keep track of all the new shows and films without forgetting the bad. And when there are continuous good releases, it’s sometimes difficult to properly pay homage to those who built the foundations anime uses today. Anime greats are approaching the age where more and more will begin to pass away. It’s an important time for fans to reflect on the way individuals shape this industry and to honor its founders.

Which of Takahata’s works inspired you the most? What are your favorite Ghibli films? Let us know in the comments!

Featured image from Den of Geek.

Show ComicsVerse some Love! Leave a Reply!