Isao Takahata, the Oscar-nominated Japanese animator, has passed away at 82. As reported by The Telegraph, the legendary animator’s health has been in a steady decline since he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Takahata finally succumbed to the disease and died inside a hospital in Tokyo, Japan. The award-winning animator was the co-founder of the popular Japanese anime company, Studio Ghibli. The company is responsible for creating popular anime films such as Spirited Away, My Neighbors the Yamadas, and Grave of the Fireflies.
Takahata along with Hayao Miyazaki, another legendary anime artist, worked with Studio Ghibli to produce several hit anime feature films that had a massive impact not just in Japan, but also the rest of the world. Both artists left Toei Animation Studios in the early 1970s to form their own company. The duo initially planned to create a studio that would essentially become the Japanese version of the Walt Disney Company. While Takahata and Miyazaki both worked for the same company, they previously mentioned in several interviews that they do consider each other as both friends and rivals at the same time.
Studio Ghibli is well known for producing films that utilize hand-drawn manga-styled animations. The studio continued this practice despite the rise in popularity of digital filmmaking techniques and computer generated graphics (CGI). The studio’s films also deal with powerful and emotional topics such as environmentalist and the harsh realities of war. The latter was the case for the studio’s hit 1988 animated war drama film, Grave of the Fireflies, which Takahata personal wrote and directed. As reported by The Guardian, the critically acclaimed film was deemed as one of the best war films ever made, which resulted in it winning several awards.
The legendary’s animators last film, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, was released in 2013. The movie was Takahata’s final film with Studio Ghibli. The film currently holds the title of being the most expensive Japanese movie ever produced with a budget of $49.3 million. Shortly after its release, the movie was nominated for a best animated feature film Oscar award during the 87th Academy Awards in 2014. The film was also featured at the Cannes Film Festival during the same year.