Published: Fri, April 06, 2018
Medical | By Mark Scott

Isao Takahata (1935 - 2018), acclaimed anime director

Isao Takahata (1935 - 2018), acclaimed anime director

It is with sadness that we've heard that Japanese writer, director and producer Takahata Isao died yesterday. After beginning his career at Toei Animation in 1959, Takahata went on to co-found Studio Ghibli, one of the most acclaimed animation studios in the world, with his longtime collaborator Hayao Miyazaki in 1985. Shortly after its release, the movie was nominated for a best animated feature film Oscar award during the 87 Academy Awards in 2014.

The movies of Studio Ghibli characterised World War II as the main motif. He returned with his fifth and final film for Studio Ghibli in 2013 with the visually gorgeous and thematically rich The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.

And the late Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert once called the movie "an emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation".

However, this has not stopped the films being lucrative box-office smashes. 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. His extensive TV credits included the 1970s series Heidi, Girl of the Alps, based on the novel by Swiss author Johanna Spyri.

Sources close to the anime film legend say he passed away in a hospital in Tokyo on Thursday.

The studio will hold a "farewell ceremony" on May 15.

After studying French literature at university, Takahata enjoyed a long relationship with France and was awarded the Order of Arts and Letters honour in recognition of his work in 2015.

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