Acclaimed filmmaker and Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata died on Thursday in a Tokyo hospital after a long battle with lung cancer according to Japanese news outlets. He was 82.
First coming to fame with “Horus: Prince of the Sun” and TV’s “Heidi, Girl of the Alps” for Nippon Animation, he then teamed with Hayao Miyazaki and producer Toshio Suzuki to launch Studio Ghibli in 1985 and produced Miyazaki’s “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” and “Castle in the Sky”.
Three years later Takahata directed “Grave of the Fireflies,” considered one of the greatest masterpieces of the animated form. Takahata followed that up with 1991’s “Only Yesterday” which has recently found a whole new audience, the popular “Pom Poko” in 1994, the disappointing “My Neighbors the Yamadas” in 1999, and the much acclaimed “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” in 2013. He also produced 2016’s “The Red Turtle”.
Takahata is, without question, an icon of the animated art form and his loss has been deeply felt by the community he helped create, not to mention his family, friends and many fans.