For fans of anime, today is a sad day as legendary anime director Isao Takahata, who co-founded Studio Ghibli with Hayao Miyazaki, has died at the age of 82. Yahoo Japan reports that he had been suffering from a heart condition and was hospitalised last summer. Studio Ghibli has since confirmed the news of his death.
Often described as a friend and rival to Miyazaki, Takahata has directed some of the best, original and intriguing films from Studio Ghibli. His most notable work was the 1988 war drama Grave of the Fireflies and the moving 1991 film Only Yesterday.
Takahata also produced the Miyazaki-directed 1984 film, The Valley of the Wind, a science fantasy adventure that tells the story of humans’ relationship with nature.
In 2014, his last directorial credit The Tale of Princess Kaguya earned him an Oscar nomination for best animated feature. The film was also selected for a slot in the Director’s Fortnight sidebar to the main competition at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.
Born in Mie Prefecture, Takahata started his career in animation at the Toei Studio in 1959, where he met his long term collaborator Miyazaki.
Together, they co-founded Studio Ghibli in June 1985.
Takahata also dabbled in politics, where he co-signed a petition with other 250 film celebrities against a controversial state secret laws back in 2013.
Isao Takahata will remain an essential figure for Studio Ghibli and as one of the most unique, talented and brilliant directors in animation history. His loss will be deeply felt.