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Legendary Anime Director Isao Takahata Passes Away

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This is never happy news to report. Farewell, Takahata-sensei. May you find rest in the next life.

Earlier today, Sankei Sports reported that director Isao Takahata passed away at a Tokyo hospital. He was 82.

According to representatives, Takahata fell ill last summer, and was hospitalized numerous times. The director was suffering from a heart condition.

Another person, who met with Takahata in November, noted that he was thinner than before, and had to support his body as he walked. The official went on-record, stating “the person who was impressed by expressions that sparkled with that childlike curiosity wasn’t energetic, and seemed to be a completely different person.”

A funeral is planned for the near future.

Isao Takahata was born on October 29, 1935 in Ujiyamada (now Ise), Mie Prefecture. On June 29, 1945, Takahata survived a raid by American troops on Okayama City. He graduated from University of Tokyo with a degree in French Literature, and found employment at Toei Animation shortly afterwards.

Takahata made his directorial début in 1968, with Hols: Prince of the Sun. The film ultimately proved to be a commercial failure, though, leading to his demotion within the studio. In 1971, Takahata left Toei with Hayao Miyazaki and Yōichi Kotabe to collaborate on an animated adaptation of Pippi Longstocking. The three found their way to A Animation (later Shin-Ei Animation), but were unable to secure the rights to the work.

In the same year, Takahata, Miyazaki, and Kotabe would go on to direct episodes of Lupin III, albeit on an uncredited basis. Later that year, Takahata, Miyazaki, and Kotabe would collaborate once more on Heidi, Girl of the Alps. In 1981, Takahata parted ways with his comrades to work at Tokyo Movie Shinsha, where he would go on to direct Little Nemo: The Dream Master.

Takahata later went on to co-found Studio Ghibli, where he worked up until his hospitalization. His first film, Grave of the Fireflies, hit theaters in 1988. The film earned 1989’s “Special Award” at the Blue Ribbon Awards, as well as two awards at the 1994 Chicago International Children’s Film Festival.

Takahata helmed numerous films following Grave of the Fireflies, including:

  • Only Yesterday (1991)
  • Pom Poko (1994)
  • My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)
  • Winter Days Segment 28 (2003)
  • The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)

Takahata’s final work was on 2016’s The Red Turtle, for which he served as Artistic Producer.

We’d like to extend our deepest condolences to Takahata-sensei’s family and friends. The world has lost a legend, today.

Source: Yahoo! News

About the author

Samantha Ferreira

Samantha Ferreira is Anime Herald’s founder and editor-in-chief. A Rhode Island native, Samantha has been an anime fan since 1992, and an active member of the anime press since 2002, when she began working as a reviewer for Anime Dream. She launched Anime Herald in 2010, and continues to oversee its operations to this day. Outside of journalism, Samantha actively studies the history of the North American anime fandom and industry, with a particular focus on the 2000s anime boom and bust. She’s a huge fan of all things Sakura Wars, and maintains series fansite Combat Revue Review when she has free time available. When not in the Anime Herald Discord, Samantha can typically be found on Bluesky.

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