Legend of Japanese Animator “Takahata Isao”

Legend of Japanese Animator “Takahata Isao”
2020年9月29日 leakaquare
In Anime

Do you know Takahata Isao (1935-2018)?
He is known as a pioneering director in Japanese animation whose career spanned(〜にわたって) a half century, dating to the 1960s.

Personal history

Born in Mie Prefecture and raised in Okayama Prefecture, Takahata joined Toei Doga (now Toei Animation) in 1959 after completing a degree in French literature at the University of Tokyo. Tokyo University is top level in Japan. He is so clever.

In his first full-length theatrical(演劇) film, Little Norse Prince Valiant(勇壮な) (1968), Takahata realized a visual world with a grand scale that went so far as to attract adult viewers. He went on to develop a succession of new realms(国土か分野) of expression. In his outstanding TV series of the ’70s, including Heidi, Girl of the Alps (1974) and Anne of Green Gables (1979), Takahata created rich human dramas that were distinctly different from typical fantasies, using a directorial(監督) method based on careful depictions(描写) of everyday life. In the ’80s, Takahata shifted the setting for his narratives to Japan. In films such as Downtown Story (1981), Grave of the Fireflies (1988), and Pom Poko (1994), he vividly(鮮やかに)portrayed(描く) the country’s regional climate and culture, and the reality of ordinary people’s lives while also producing a series of powerful works that reexamined Japanese people’s experiences during and after World War II from a contemporary perspective(現代の見方). In the posthumous(死後) work The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013), Takahata set himself the new challenge of bringing sketches to life in order to create an expressive technique that transcended(超える) traditional cel-based animation.

Takahata was an innovator who constantly searched for contemporary themes(spell:thim-) and pursued new means of expression that suited these subjects. The trajectory(弾道、軌道?) of his creative work established a foundation for postwar(戦後) Japanese animation while also exerting(及ぼす、働かす) a tremendous(巨大な) influence on other artists, both in Japan and abroad. In this exhibition, we focus on Takahata’s directorial artistry by presenting previously unreleased production notes and storyboards, and closely examining the fertile(肥えた、fertle) world of his works.

Toshio Suzuki the ghibli producer reveals Dark Side of Isao Takahata.

The respected Ghibli producer also suggests that Takahata was indirectly responsible for causing the death of character designer and animation director Yoshifumi Kondō, who died in 1998 at age 47. Kondō told Suzuki after the production of his Ghibli film Whisper of the Heart that Takahata had “tried to kill him,” and he would physically tremble upon hearing Takahata’s name.

Suzuki, Miyazaki, Takahata, and another animator that Suzuki refers to as “S-san” all attended [Kondō’s] cremation. S-san had worked with Takahata and Miyazaki since their time at Toei Animation. During the cremation, Suzuki says that S-san said aloud, “It was Paku-san [Takahata’s nickname] that killed Kon-chan, wasn’t it?” The air in the room froze until Takahata quietly nodded.

According to Suzuki, Miyazaki has claimed that he’s the only person to survive Takahata. The studio continued to lose potential artistic successors due to Takahata’s work expectations.

“You are overworked and exhausted. You have to prepare for yourself to break,” Suzuki said.

Publisher Shinchosha’s was involved with the production of The Grave of the Fireflies. Its representative Takashi Nitta told Suzuki he had worked with writers like Seichō Matsumoto, Renzaburo Shibata, and Kōbō Abe, but compared to Isao Takahata, they all seem normal. Suzuki also described him as someone who never thanked any of the Ghibli staff for their contributions.

MY Takahata’s Best film best 3

3. Heisei Tanuki Gassen Ponpoko

Pom Poko (Japanese: 平成狸合戦ぽんぽこ, Hepburn: Heisei Tanuki Gassen Ponpoko, lit. “Heisei-era Raccoon Dog War Ponpoko”) is a 1994 Japanese animated comedy-drama fantasy film directed by Isao Takahata, animated by Studio Ghibli for Tokuma Shoten, Nippon Television Network and Hakuhodo, and distributed by Toho.

The phrase “Pom Poko” in the title refers to the sound of Bake-danuki (Japanese raccoon dogs(=呼び方ラクーン、意味アライグマ), Nyctereutes procyonoides viverrinus) drumming their own bellies(ベリー、意味;腹部) as a form of tanuki-bayashi.

Consistent(一貫してる) with Japanese folklore(民俗伝承), the tanuki are portrayed(ポートゥレイ⤴︎、意味:描く) as a highly sociable, mischievous(ミスチビス、意味:イタズラ好きな) species(種), who are able to use “illusion science” to transform into almost anything, but too fun-loving and too fond of(〜を好む) tasty treats to be a real threat – unlike the kitsune (foxes) and other shape-shifters. Visually, the tanuki in this film are depicted((映画を)描く) in three distinct(明確な) ways at various times: as realistic animals, as anthropomorphic(アントラポモーフィク、意味;擬人化された) animals that occasionally(時折) wear clothes, and as cartoon-like figures based on the manga of Shigeru Sugiura (of whom Takahata was a great fan). They tend to(〜する傾向) assume(思い込む) their realistic form when seen by humans, their cartoon-like form when they are doing something outlandish(奇妙な) or whimsical(ウィムゼィコル、意味;気まぐれな), and their anthropomorphic form at all other times.

The tanuki spend their days playing idly(何もしない)in the hillsides and squabbling(口論)over food – until the construction of a huge new Tokyo suburb clears the nearby forest and threatens their way of life. In an effort to defend their home, the tanuki learn to transform into humans and start playing tricks to make the workers think the construction site is haunted, ending in a spectacular night-time spirit parade, with thousands of ghosts, dragons and other magical creatures descending on the city — in an abundance of fantastical characters that would not be matched on screen by Studio Ghibli until Spirited Away.

2. Omoide Poroporo

Only Yesterday (Japanese: おもひでぽろぽろ, Hepburn: Omoide Poro Poro[n 1], “Memories Come Tumbling Down#) is a 1991 Japanese animated drama film written and directed by Isao Takahata, based on the 1982 manga of the same title by Hotaru Okamoto and Yuko Tone.

Only Yesterday explores a genre traditionally thought to be outside the realm of animated subjects: a realistic drama written for adults, particularly women. The film was a surprise box office success, attracting a large adult audience and becoming the highest-grossing Japanese film of 1991 in the country. It has also been well received by critics outside of Japan – it has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Extra effort seems to have been taken on facial expression and human mannerism. Notably, Taeko’s cheeks curl up whenever she smiles. Her nose wrinkles when she laughs and she shakes and lilts her head when talking. It’s far more than we’re accustomed to seeing from anime. It may actually seem like too much. The cheek lines make her face seem wrinkled, even. You can see why this new rendition of the human face didn’t exactly catch on. Apparently this approach was impressed upon the film because of the fact of the dialogue being recorded before the animation was completed, contrary to the usual development process in anime.

1. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (Japanese: かぐや姫の物語, Hepburn: Kaguya-hime no Monogatari) is a 2013 Japanese animated fantasy drama film co-written and directed by Isao Takahata, based on The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, a 10th-century Japanese literary tale.

It was released in Japan on 23 November 2013, distributed by Toho. At the budget of US$49.3 million, it is the most expensive Japanese film as of 2020. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 87th Academy Awards

What makes Kaguya Hime different from other Ghibli films? For starters, there’s the visual style. With subdued colors and sparsely sketched backgrounds, it’s a far cry from the lush, vibrant scenes of clouds and forests that grace films such as My Neighbor Totoro or Kiki’s Delivery Service. For that matter, Kaguya Hime’s thick, trailing outlines make it unlike the works of any animation house in Japan, where the move to all-digital artwork has resulted in precisely defined line work in all other contemporary anime.

Kaguya Hime also marks Isao Takahata’s first time in the director’s chair for Studio Ghibli since 1999’s My Neighbors the Yamadas, which came and went from Japanese theatres with so little fanfare it’s often forgotten even by self-proclaimed Ghibli devotees.

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