Mamoru Hosoda and Takayuki Hirao, Pompo the Cinephile and One Piece Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island: two of the most brilliant anime filmmakers used their personal misfortunes to fuel very entertaining movies, processing their darker feelings through lively animation.
The massive success of anime movies in recent times is causing a quick, big expansion in this field. We’re now getting all sorts of movies by high-profile anime creators, to the point that the comeback of studio Ghibli-affiliated Kosaka Kitaro to direct a movie 11 years after Nasu: A Migratory Bird with Suitcase doesn’t seem all that extraordinary anymore. Unfortunately, it’s not all good news – Okko’s Inn is a fascinating little film that showcases many of the problems that creators in…
Back in May of 1993, Japanese audiences got to experience a curious experiment: studio Ghibli’s first and essentially last large-scale TV project, a film meant to put their younger staff under the spotlight for a change. Let’s look back at a fascinating little chapter in their story, since both its achievements and shortcomings are rarely discussed with the full context in mind.
Grave of the Fireflies was released 30 years ago on April 16, 1988, alongside its equally renowned sibling movie My Neighbor Totoro. Most unfortunately, its visionary director Isao Takahata passed away at the age of 82 just a couple of weeks ago. Today we’re here to honor not just his most famous film, but a whole career filled with revolutionary, sometimes underappreciated work. This is how Takahata changed anime and his own self.
Studio Ghibli’s announcement that they were halting regular operations in 2014 hit mainstream sources as hard as any piece of anime news ever could. It was such a big deal that the discourse understandably revolved around what this would mean for the industry as a whole, but that also means a smaller scale issue was mostly overlooked: Miyazaki was retiring and Takahata on his way out, but what about everyone else at the studio?