07 April, 2018
Born in Mie prefecture in central Japan, Takahata survived a major air raid on Okayama when he was nine years old. Both artists left Toei Animation Studios in the early 1970s to form their own company. Unlike Miyazaki, Takahata didn't draw his films himself; all the same, his talent was plain to see, his style of storytelling visibly distinct from Miyazaki's.
Takahata also produced the popular anime TV series Heidi, Girl of the Alps (1974) and Lupin the Third (1971). A huge success the world over, Heidi was dubbed into approximately 20 languages, including Telugu and Tamil.
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Takahata was most famous for "The Grave of the Fireflies", an award-winning 1988 film about the suffering of a young brother and sister separated from their parents in World War Two. A first for the Ghibli franchise in style was Grave of the Fireflies character Seita staring down the camera in its opening moments. He refers to a watermelon cutting scene in Grave of the Fireflies, "it looks like tofu". Takahata also produced Miyazaki's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, a tale of a princess, nature and environmental disaster. His cordial but conflicted relationship with Miyazaki is detailed the documentary In The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, which also describes Takahata's unusual, and often frustrating, approach to work.
Isao Takahata takes last breath at the age of 82. It turned out to be the final film he would direct. Based on the classic folktale "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter", the film was animated with a water-color-like beauty and fluidity seldom seen in commercial animation.
His latest and most recent work The Tale of Princess Kaguya was critically acclaimed for its making and content.