Isao Takahata, Leader in Japanese Animation, Dies at 82

A calm moment in "Grave of the Fireflies," Isao Takahata’s wrenching World War II drama. Isao Takahata, a film director who founded Japan’s premier animation studio, Studio Ghibli , with Hayao Miyazaki in 1985 and made sophisticated animated films like the elegiac World War II drama “Grave of the Fireflies,” died early Thursday in Tokyo. He was 82. The cause was lung cancer, Studio Ghibli said in a statement . Studio Ghibli has released some of the highest-grossing anime films ever, like “Ponyo,” “Howl’s Moving Castle,” “Princess Mononoke” and “ Spirited Away ,” which won an Academy Award for best animated feature in 2003 after an English version was released. These lushly animated fairy tales were all written and directed by Mr. Miyazaki, whose name is more recognizable to international animation aficionados than that of Mr. Takahata. “If Studio Ghibli is your favorite band, then Takahata has the deep cuts from the back catalog,” Dave Jesteadt, now the president of GKIDS , which distributes many Ghibli films in the United States, told The Los Angeles Times in 2014. The disparity in their recognition might in part have had to do with Mr. Takahata’s output, which was considerably smaller than […]

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