Top Ten Movies Isao Takahata Has Worked On

Isao Takahata, Studio Ghibli co-founder, has passed away at the age of 82 due to lung cancer. While I unfortunately haven't been able to watch most of the movies he has worked on yet at the time I publish this list, it goes without saying that Takahata was no doubt an influential and significant person in the medium of anime films. From getting his directorial debut in Horus: The Prince of the Sun to directing critically acclaimed classics like Grave of the Fireflies and The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Takahata was just as important to Studio Ghibli and anime films as Hayao Miyazaki was. Since I want to try and include movies Takahata has worked on but hasn't directed, this list will be counting down the top ten movies Isao Takahata has worked on.

That said, feel free to vote and add to this list.

R.I.P. Isao Takahata (October 29, 1935 – April 5, 2018)

The Top Ten

1 Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies is without a doubt one of, if not, Takahata's most well-known film directed by him. Just from hearing about the movie itself, it's practically almost common knowledge that Grave of the Fireflies is one of the most heart-wrenching war films in Japanese animated cinema. As one of Studio Ghibli's earliest works next to Castle in the Sky, Grave of the Fireflies is a tale of two siblings in Japan struggling to survive the last months of World War II in the Pacific where their home country of Japan is fighting in. It goes without saying by this premise alone that what unravels is not all sunshine, rainbows, and lollipops. Rather, it's all clouds, deaths, and tears. In other words, this isn't your typical family film. It's tear-jerking war drama in anime form. And if I am to argue, if it probably wasn't for Grave of the Fireflies, we probably wouldn't even see Japanese animated war films like it today. Even with war anime films like In This Corner of the World, ...more - ModernSpongeBobSucks

My favorite movie made by Studio Ghibli. It tugs at my heart strings every single time. I plan on showing Studio Ghibli movies to my son when he arrives on October. I hope he enjoys these as much as I did. - RoseRedFlower

2 The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Like Grave of the Fireflies, The Tale of Princess Kaguya is another one of Takahata's most well-known films directed by him. The fact that this movie has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes only proves how beloved and acclaimed this is by critics and audiences alike. The Tale of Princess Kaguya tells of a story about a tiny nymph found within a bamboo tree who one day transforms into a beautiful women, attracting several suitors who are astonished by her beauty and are put through impossible tasks to prevent them from marrying what is now an elusive princess. Huh, sounds like what the Greek heroine Atalanta of the Argonauts did when she kept men from marrying her by challenging them to a foot race. That said, it goes without saying Takahata really ended his directorial career well since The Tale of Princess Kaguya was his final movie directed by him. And it shows in the engaging story from the depths of a nymph-turned-princess and the beautiful detail of the visuals in The Tale of ...more - ModernSpongeBobSucks

One of the best directors of all time, dearly missed. God bless him in Heaven. - girlcool

3 Only Yesterday

Only Yesterday is one of the only films directed by Takahata other than The Tale of Princess Kaguya to currently have a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While I haven't even heard a single thing about Only Yesterday prior to researching it, the premise itself already looks to be thought-provoking and groundbreaking for not just Japanese animated cinema, but also animated cinema in general. Basically, Only Yesterday broke the glass ceiling by focusing on the subject of a realistic drama written for adults and especially women. To cut to the chase, Only Yesterday tells the story of an unmarried employed women named Taeko Okajima who has flashbacks of her childhood struggles and desires that make her contemplate if her dream for adulthood when she was a child was a far cry from the reality of adulthood she is facing now. When considering how most women in Japan are unmarried employed civilians like Okajima herself and that most, if not, all of us have a longing for youth as we endure ...more - ModernSpongeBobSucks

I love this movie, it's so beautiful and amazing

4 Kiki's Delivery Service

Okay, so Takahata didn't direct Kiki's Delivery Service. That honor would have to go to Miyazaki himself. However, Takahata was a musical director for Kiki's Delivery Service. That said, I think any anime fan, especially ones who have watched or are familiar with the Studio Trigger anime Little Witch Academia, have heard of this gem. For the premise, the title says it all. Kiki's Delivery Service tells the story of a young witch named Kiki who moves to a new town and must use her broom flying abilities to make a living. As expected of a Studio Ghibli movie, the traditional animation style is fluid as always and the visuals are as beautiful as always. But the real selling point is with both the titular main character Kiki and her endeavors along with the themes of struggling between independence and reliance that are relevant to teenage to Japanese girls and perhaps even still to this day. I really wish I could say more about this film since I never actually got around to watching it, ...more - ModernSpongeBobSucks

I loved this movie when I was a kid. Dressed up like Kiki's Delivery Service for Halloween once too and I always wanted a cat like her. Now I do have a black cat. Thanks for all the great memories! - RoseRedFlower

I've seen a few Studio Ghibli films, this being one of them, and it is great - Gangem

My favorite anime movie ever. My god, does his death make me sad. RIP Takahata - NightmareCinema

5 My Neighbors the Yamadas

And now another animated movie directed by Takahata. Also, now for something completely different. Hmm, based on the comic strip art style for this film, it seems Studio Ghibli decided to switch things up and use a Doraemon-like art style instead of their traditional anime style. Though, My Neighbors the Yamadas is technically based on the manga Nono-chan by Hisaichi Ishii. That said, the premise for My Neighbors the Yamadas is fairly simple. After all, it is an animated comedy film. It's essentially a slice-of-life dealing with the exploits of a modern Japanese family as their lives are told through loosely connected episodes in a single compilation. While I haven't watched My Neighbors the Yamadas nor do I care much about it in comparison to other more acclaimed works directed by Takahata, I suppose it's a decent comedy anime film. Nothing to write home about, but hey, it's directed by Takahata. - ModernSpongeBobSucks

6 Pom Poko

The Nut Job 2 and Woody Woodpecker (2017), eat your hearts out. THIS is how you do an animated movie with environmental themes. First things first, Pom Poko was another movie directed by Takahata himself. That said, the premise of Pom Poko revolves around a group of tanuki, which are Japanese mythological creatures said to bring great fortune and known for having shape-shifting abilities. One day, their home in the forest is threatened by urban development and it's up to them to use their abilities to drive away the humans planning to destroy their environment. Huh, I wonder if this movie inspired that Kirby: Right Back at Ya! episode where the forest animals try to protect the forest from Kirby and his friends and then King Dedede. Getting back on topic, these tanuki may be benevolent, but it looks like they won't be hesitant to resort to mischief if it means protecting their home. I can't really say much about Pom Poko as a movie, but nonetheless, I'm pretty sure it's a good ...more - ModernSpongeBobSucks

This movie is HILARIOUS - BlazingParasol

7 Castle in the Sky

Alright, so Miyazaki was the director for Castle in the Sky, whereas Takahata was the producer for it. Now if milestones are anything to go by, Castle in the Sky was Studio Ghibli's very first animated feature film to be produced by them. That said, Castle in the Sky focuses on a young female orphan named Sheeta who meets another male orphan named Pazu. These two orphans then embark on a journey to discover the legendary castle in the sky found in the city of Laputa while keeping a magical crystal safe and secure from the greedy hands of Sheeta's kidnapper Col. Muska and his group of military agends along with a band of pirates led by Captain Dola. So let's get this straight. Two orphans are in hot pursuit by military agents and pirates as they seek to find a legendary floating castle while making sure the magical crystal with them doesn't fall in the wrong hands? Now THAT's how you set up an animated adventure film. No wonder this would go on to be Studio Ghibli's first animated ...more - ModernSpongeBobSucks

8 The Red Turtle

Like The Tale of Princess Kaguya, The Red Turtle was also nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the Oscars when it was chosen as a nominee at the 89th Academy Awards. That said, while Takahata didn't direct this movie, he was an artistic producer for it. Meaning that while The Tale of Princess Kaguya was his final directed movie, The Red Turtle was his final movie that he ever worked on before his passing. Now The Red Turtle's premise is fairly simplistic. It tells the story of a man who one day becomes stranded on a deserted island and comes across a giant female red turtle that tries to keep the man on the island by destroying his raft every time he tries to sail back to where he came from. I can't say much more about the plot beyond that since I don't want to spoil it myself, but one thing to note about The Red Turtle is that there is absolutely no speech or dialogue to be heard of in the film. In other words, it's a silent film. From what little I know of the film, what I ...more - ModernSpongeBobSucks

9 Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Once again, Miyazaki was the director for Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, while Takahata was the producer for it. Contrary to popular opinion, while Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is often considered a Studio Ghibli work, it was actually made before Studio Ghibli was founded in the first place. Then again, anything with Miyazaki's name tied to it could be considered a Studio Ghibli work. Now if I'm correct, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is probably one of Studio Ghibli's most environmentally-themed works. But that's not to say everything is all preachy. It wouldn't be frequently cited as one of the greatest animated films ever made if not for its story, themes, characters, and animation. Because trust me, when the story is about a young princess named Nausicaa who rules the Valley of the Wind and gets entangled in a struggle with another kingdom named Tolmekia that plans to use an ancient weapon to terminate giant mutant insects in a post-apocalyptic world, you know ...more - ModernSpongeBobSucks

10 Horus: Prince of the Sun

And now for Takahata's first-ever animated film that he ever directed. While it certainly isn't as well-known as his later works that he directed or worked on, Horus: Prince of the Sun more or less gave Takahata his big break. In other words, if not for this movie, Takahata probably wouldn't have been able to accomplish so much as a Japanese animated cinema veteran as much as Hayao Miyazaki has. In fact, Horus: Prince of the Sun wasn't just Takahata's directorial feature film debut. It was also Miyazaki's first MAJOR work. Yes, you indeed read that RIGHT. Castle in the Sky may have been Studio Ghibli's first major work, but Horus: Prince of the Sun was in fact Miyazaki's first major work. That said, while it wasn't successful in its first theatrical run, Horus: Prince of the Sun is now recognized as a major milestone in anime, having introduced technical and stylistic innovations in animation techniques and even being the first animated movie to break the mold for what Japanese ...more - ModernSpongeBobSucks

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