Famed anime director and one of the co-founders of Studio Ghibli, Isao Takahata, has passed away at the age of 82. He passed away in a hospital in Tokyo on April 5, 2018.
Takahata was the co-founder of Studio Ghibli along with Hayao Miyazaki. He directed a number of films including Heidi, Girl of the Alps, Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday, Pom Poko, My Neighbors the Yamadas, and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.
Mr. Takahata was born in Ujiyamada, Mie Prefecture, Japan on June 29, 1945. He would go on to earn a degree in French Literature from Tokyo University in 1959. He joined the Japanese animation company Toei Animation. He would make his directorial debut with Hols: Prince of the Sun. However, the movie was a commercial failure and he would end up getting demoted.
By 1971, he left Toei Animation and joined Hayao Miyazaki and Yōichi Kotabe on an animated Pippi Longstocking film. However, once again he would be met with failure as Swedish author Astrid Lindgren would not allow them to make the movie. He would not be deterred as he joined Zuiyo Enterprise in 1971 to direct an animated adaptation of Heidi.
In 1981, Takahata would leave Nippon Animation (formerly Zuiyo Enterprise) to work for Telecom. While there he would move to the United States and begin working on Little Nemo. Unfortunately, the project did not work out due to creative differences. Takahata’s partner Miyazaki would describe the experience as “The worst experience he has ever been through.” Miyazaki and Takahata were more interested in a story showing Nemo’s growth as a boy rather than creating a feature where everything was a dream.
Takahata and Miyazaki would found Studio Ghibli on June 15, 1985 after the success of Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind in 1984. Studio Ghibli would go on to become a wild success. eight of their films are among the top 15 highest grossing anime films in Japan. Some of the studios more notable works include Grave of the Fireflies, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, Princess Monoke, Spirited Away, The Wind Rises, and Ponyo.
Isao Takahata will definitely be missed.