The late Isao Takahata is a legend in the anime industry, and his death saddened the anime industry, as well as the fanbase. However, in his new book titled “The Ghibli Textbook #19: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”, Studio Ghibli co-founder and producer, Toshio Suzuki, revealed that he was a bit… difficult. Simply put, he would angrily lash out at subordinates, and might have even caused the death of one of them.

In the book, Suzuki said that Takahata would overwork people, even if it “destroyed them”. The Ghibli producer even went as far as to say that his methods “destroyed so many people”. This included Grave of the Fireflies character designer and animation director Yoshifumi Kondou. Suzuki says that he once visited Kondou in Sendai after finishing Whisper of the Heart. There, the late character designer told the producer that Takahata had “tried to kill him”. He even said that “thinking about Takahata made Kondou Tremble”. After working on Princess Mononoke, Kondou then fell ill, and then passed away in 1998.

During Kondou’s cremation, a Ghibli animator which Takahata calls “S-san” once said “It was Paku-san (Takahata) that killed Kon-chan (Kondou), wasn’t it?” aloud. Because of this, the entire room froze. However, Takahata just nodded quietly.

Suzuki also claimed that Miyazaki told him that he’s the only person to survive Takahata. He also admitted that the studio lost plenty of potential artistic talent because of Takahata’s insatiable demands. To this, Suzuki said “You are overworked and exhausted. You have to prepare for yourself to break”.

Takahata started out his career back in 1959, as he joined Toei Animation, then called Toei Douga, right after graduating from the prestigious University of Tokyo. He would later leave Toei to found Studio Ghibli alongside another legendary animation figure in Hayao Miyazaki. From there, he directed plenty of films for Ghibli, including Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday, Pom Poko, and My Neighbors the Yamadas. However, it was his final film, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, which garnered him an Oscar nomination.

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source: Bunshun Online


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