I have a profound love for Studio Ghibli. I adore the work that has come out of it. What people don’t seem to understand, though, is that the studio is not synonymous with a single creator. Hayao Miyazaki is a legendary film maker, and when people think Studio Ghibli they think Miyazaki.
However, there is someone else who deserves love as well:
I’ll be the first to admit I love Miyazaki. I prefer Miyazaki to other work by Studio Ghibli. But I still think Takahata deserves as much recognition and love. Here’s why:
1. He co-created Studio Ghibli with Hayao Miyazaki. Takahata and Miyazaki have been in the animation industry for years before they founded this studio in 1985. The difference is that Miyazaki was an animator and Takahata was a writer/director. He led production for many works before he and his long-time collaborator started their own studio.
2. According to Rotten Tomatoes (as of writing this), there are three Ghibli movies with a 100% rating…and all three were Takahata films: Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya. He created amazing works of art.
3. His film Grave of the Fireflies was partially inspired by his own experiences from the bombing of Okayama City. And if you’ve seen Grave of the Fireflies, you’ll share my sentiment when I say: oof.
4. Takahata was also the music director for Kiki’s Delivery Service. Yep.
5. Unlike Miyazaki, he changed up styles. Again, I adore Miyazaki and his style; he is everything I love. But he’s also very stagnant. Takahata’s films range in animation from Only Yesterday to Princess Kaguya to My Neighbors the Yamadas, and more. It varies.
Now, am I saying ‘don’t have a favorite’? No. Sorry, Isao-sama, but Miyazaki’s films are my life (and favorite). What I’m saying is that we give credit to another great man behind Studio Ghibli that doesn’t get enough recognition. He helped start something amazing and he’s created so much in his lifetime.
Thank you, sir.
P.S. I am also well aware of other people, especially Toshio Suzuki, with a HUGE hand in Studio Ghibli and its works. Maybe I’ll talk about them in the future.