6 must-watch Isao Takahata anime series and films
It’s a sad day for anime fans.
Isao Takahata, co-founder of Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli, died in his home on Friday, April 6. He was 82 years old.
While Studio Ghibli is most often associated with his longtime collaborator Hayao Miyazaki, Takahata himself is an animation legend, having directed and produced many anime films and series that helped mold Japanese animation into what it is now.
Nerdist’s Kyle Anderson wrote that Takahata was "always stretching the boundaries of the art form, and shifted styles almost every movie.”
Together with Studio Ghibli, Takahata undoubtedly introduced many of us from around the globe to the beautiful world of Japanese animation.
Here are just some of our favorite Takahata films and series from his notable decades-long career.
Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Grave of the Fireflies was Takahata’s most iconic film and one of Studio Ghibli’s masterpieces. It's a critically acclaimed war drama that told the story of a young boy named Seita and his younger sister Setsuko who were trying to survive on their own during World War II. It’s an incredibly sad movie which achingly shows the reality in every war: many innocent people dying.
Pom Poko (1994)
Pom Poko is about a group of tanuki (Japanese racoon dogs) who are threatened by a development project which would cut into their forest habitat and divide their land. The tanuki, who have been fighting among themselves due to limited resources, decide to unite and fight human real estate developers. Pom Poko threads carefully between drama and comedy and is a testament to Takahata’s distinct animation style.
My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)
Takahata had been known for using unconventional techniques and pushing the boundaries of Japanese animation. My Neighbors the Yamadas is a great example of this, where he used a stylized comic strip aesthetic, making the film stand out among Studio Ghibli’s other works. The film features a series of vignettes following the misadventures of the Yamada family, humorously presenting family life in a way that crosses cultural boundaries.
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)
After making My Neighbors the Yamadas, it took Takahata 15 years to direct another animated film and come up with his latest masterpiece: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. It’s fairy tale that tells the story of a high-spirited princess who was found by a bamboo cutter inside an enchanted bamboo shoot. Believing her to be a divine presence, the bamboo cutter and his wife raised her as their own, eventually taking her to the capital and turning her into a proper noblewoman. The film received critical acclaim and was even nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 87th Academy Awards.
Heidi, Girl of the Alps (1974)
This might sound familiar to Filipino kids who lived through the 1990s. It was one of the many anime shows on Filipino television back in the day.
The series’ main protagonist, Heidi, is a five-year-old orphan who was taken to live with her grandfather on the Swiss Alps. Before Heidi came to live with him, her grandfather lived a solitary life with his dog and developed a fearsome reputation among other villagers. But it didn’t take long for Heidi’s cheerful disposition to help soften his hardened heart. It was directed by Takahata but was based on a novel by Johanna Spyri.
Anne of Green Gables (1979)
Anne of Green Gables was adapted from the novel of the same name by Lucy Maud Montgomery and was directed by Takahata. It tells the story of Anne Shirley, an extremely imaginative and talkative young girl from the orphanage, who was accidentally sent to an adoptive family who was expecting a boy.
Did we miss your favorite Isao Takahata anime films and series? Let us know about it in the comments below! – Rappler.com