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Animation Legend Isao Takahata, Co-founder of Studio Ghibli, Dies at 82 ( 27

Isao Takahata, co-founder of the prestigious Japanese animator Studio Ghibli, which stuck to a hand-drawn "manga" look in the face of digital filmmaking, has died. He was 82. From a report: Takahata started Ghibli with Oscar-winning animator Hayao Miyazaki in 1985, hoping to create Japan's Disney. He directed "Grave of the Fireflies," a tragic tale about wartime childhood, and produced some of the studio's films, including Miyazaki's 1984 "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind," which tells the horror of environmental disaster through a story about a princess. Takahata died Thursday of lung cancer at a Tokyo hospital, the studio said in a statement Friday.

He was fully aware of how the floating sumie-brush sketches of faint pastel in his works stood as a stylistic challenge to Hollywood's computer-graphics cartoons. In a 2015 interview with The Associated Press, Takahata talked about how Edo-era woodblock-print artists like Hokusai had the understanding of Western-style perspective and the use of light, but they purposely chose to depict reality with lines, and in a flat way, with minimal shading.
"Pom Poko", a movie released in 1994, is often considered the best work of Takahata. The New York Times described it as, "a comic allegory about battling packs of tanuki (Japanese raccoon dogs) joining forces to fight human real estate developers. It's earthy and rollicking in a way that his co-founder's films aren't." In an interview with Wired in 2015, when Takahata was asked what he felt about people regarding him as the heart of Studio Ghibli. "Now you've both finished your final films, what are your feelings on Ghibli's legacy and reputation?, the interviewer asked. Takahata said, "I'm not sure I can respond in any meaningful way. What Hayao Miyazaki has built up is the greatest contribution. The existence of that thick trunk has allowed leaves to unfurl and flowers to bloom to become the fruitful tree that is Studio Ghibli."

Further reading: Isao Takahata's stark world of reality (The Japan Times).
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Animation Legend Isao Takahata, Co-founder of Studio Ghibli, Dies at 82

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  • by Type44Q ( 1233630 ) on Friday April 06, 2018 @10:10AM (#56392269)
    If you like Japanese culture/history and haven't seen 'My Neighbor Totoro," do so.
    • And then there's "Lupin III;" enough said.
      • And then there's "Lupin III;" enough said.

        Actually, no, it's not enough said; you need to add "Castle of Cagliostro", the movie in which Miyazaki made Lupin III his own. The other Lupin III works are, well, considerably different. Monkey Punch (the actual creator of Lupin III) has a rather crude sense of humor.

        • I assume Monkey Punch wrote the original manga? According to Wikipedia, the first season (before Cagliostro) was directed by Takahata and Miyazaki and written by others still...
          • Yes, Monkey Punch wrote the original manga. The first TV season may have been directed by Miyazaki, but it stayed pretty close to Monkey Punch's vision. I won't say Miyazaki had no influence, but it was only in Castle that Miyazaki got to do what he really wanted to do.

      • by jon3k ( 691256 )
        That's interesting I just ran into Lupin today as well, haven't watched it yet. Is Lupin III really the best place to start?
    • I'm still trying to reconcile Miyazaki's cat bus [] with the lack of available hallucinogens at the time in Japan...
    • by jwhyche ( 6192 ) on Friday April 06, 2018 @01:19PM (#56393403) Homepage

      Yes. "My Neighbor Totoro" should be on your list. But if you really want to watch something and be completely moved, "Grave of the Fireflies." By far his best work in my option. To bad you can only watch it once.

      • I haven't been able to bring myself to watch it, yet. I might very well be seen as unnecessarily emotional about a work of fiction, but the subject matter seems to rally a lot of concepts that affect me deeply (despite having no specific reason to suffer such empathies).
        • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

          Don't sweet it. It took me 2 or 3 times to actually make it all the way through it. That was 10 years ago. I've not been able to bring myself to watch it again. There is no way you can make it through that movie with out being affected by it emotionally.

          • Watched it last night, thanks for the encouragement. Somehow I was very unspoiled to the plot, despite having read about it before. Watched it back to back with Castle of Cagliostro (which I've somehow been putting off for years) for emotional balance.
  • I am glad that they did not become Disney. There has to be a yin to that yang influence.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    An amazing movie, a pity he did focus in production and not that much in direction.

  • discs are about $16 are everything is well done and of excellent quality. Stories have deep meaning and most definitely are not like typical American cartoons.

  • The Last Unicorn was animated in Japan by a studio named Topcraft. Rankin-Bass had used Topcraft for their earlier television productions of The Hobbit and The Return of the King, and this was their most ambitious collaboration. In 1985, Topcraft went into bankruptcy, at which point a team of its animators bought the studio and began a new one, including many of the same Topcraft employees. That team was made up of Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, and Toshio Suzuki, and the new company was Studio Ghibli.

    A Ghi

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak