The world lost a great member of Studio Ghibli, Isao Takahata who passed away April 5, 2018, from lung cancer. The panel I went to was hosted by AWO (Anime World Order) where they discussed his life and his greatest achievements. This was an interesting and informative panel, the audience was able to see clips of some of his work like his very long documentary on bridges. The guest speaker explained how his goal was to make people laugh with his skills, I was able to learn some of Takahata’s greatest achievements there was so much to learn about his life that I did not know before.
One of his greatest achievements was in the creation of Studio Ghibli and his discovery of Hayao Miyazaki, they worked on many films together before they started Studio Ghibli. Takahata was interested in writing and directing his own anime series since he was very young, Takahata started his directing career at Toei Animation and for his first assignment as an assistant director, he worked on Wolf Boy Ken. While he worked here he met Hayao Miyazaki and they became good friends, they left Toei Animation together and worked at another anime studio where they began working on a feature film based on Pippi Longstocking. Once they were dropped from the project they moved on to do several other animations based on Pippi Longstocking such as Heidi, Girl of the Alps and Lupin the Third part 1. The last studio they went to work for was TMS Entertainment, where they worked on Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland. After that, in 1985, Miyazaki and Takahata created Studio Ghibli after the success of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.
Most of the films released by Studio Ghibli was a collaboration between Miyazaki and Takahata but Takahata did have films where he worked on his own as well. The most powerful and impacting film I saw was Grave of the Fireflies, every single time I watch this movie I cry, this movie will make any emotional or non-emotional person who has a sibling shed a tear It is an overall beautiful movie and it is critically acclaimed for its emotional impact and pro-peace ideology.
The story is about the bombing of Okayama City and its impact on two children, a brother and sister who suffered because of the war. He worked on other films like Only Yesterday, Pom Poko, and Kiki’s Delivery Service. The last film he worked on before his passing was The Tale of Princess Kaguya which he won many awards for this animated film.
The story is about a miniature girl, a man who is a bamboo cutter and his wife who discover her in bamboo. The girl grows rapidly aging fast and her family sees her as nobility as she ages she becomes so beautiful she gains a lot of suitors. Eventually, she discovers she is not of this realm and she must return home but she is conflicted about her love of Earth and how much she wants to return home. The animation was amazing the story looks like a painting coming to life in every frame, It is a beautiful story with amazing artwork.
“Like it or not, a caterpillar must first live as a chrysalis before becoming a butterfly.
Maybe I remember those days because I am going through a chrysalis stage.” ― Isao Takahata (Los Angeles Times)
Isao Takahata will always be known as a great director, co-founder of Studio Ghibli, and a great friend to Hayao Miyazaki. He will always be remembered and never forgotten because of his greatest achievements. I will never stop crying watching Grave of The Fireflies as long as I live, I’ve learned so much about Isao Takahata from this panel and have developed a great respect for this director and all he has achieved. I would like to thank AWO for this panel and for all the information I have gained about Isao Takahata and I hope to see more panels like this in the future. You can follow AWO (Anime World Order) on Twitter and or you can listen to their podcasts as well. Many people watch anime and would like to know information about the creators behind it, this was an interesting panel and I hope to sit in another panel again in the near future.