films seen
11/12
average score
3.59*
nationality
Japan - 82 years old
status
R.I.P. (1935 - 2018)
more info

Mentor of Miyazaki and Ghibli's most talented director. His films are smart, tender, down-to-earth, deeply humane and magnificently animated. The fact that he kept challenging himself until the very end makes his oeuvre a joy to explore.

Beyond exceptional

Grave of the Fireflies

by Isao Takahata
Also known as
Hotaru no Haka
Specifics
1988 / 89m - Japan
Genre
Drama, War, Animation
More info:
rating
5.0*/5.0*
toplist position
Grave of the Fireflies poster

Not the ideal film for a fun evening on the couch, but it reaches well beyond the boundaries of traditional animation films and delivers an experience you'll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else

My Neighbors the Yamadas

by Isao Takahata
Also known as
Hohokekyo Tonari no Yamada-kun
Specifics
1999 / 104m - Japan
Genre
Comedy, Animation
More info:
rating
5.0*/5.0*
toplist position
My Neighbors the Yamadas poster

A simple screenshot cannot capture the amount of love and detail this film houses. The animation is exceptional, the music a blast and the film consists of one big succession of memorable moments.

Rare treats

Only Yesterday

by Isao Takahata
Also known as
Omohide Poro Poro
Specifics
1991 / 118m - Japan
Genre
Drama, Animation
More info:
rating
4.5*/5.0*
toplist position
Only Yesterday poster

There aren't any big dramatic swoops, nor any major events or surprising plot twists. The setup in simple, the setting is simple, but the execution is absolute perfection.

The good stuff

Pom Poko

by Isao Takahata
Also known as
Heisei Tanuki Gassen Ponpoko
Specifics
1994 / 119m - Japan
Genre
Comedy, Adventure, Animation
More info:
rating
4.0*/5.0*
Pom Poko poster

The Tale of Princess Kaguya

by Isao Takahata
Also known as
Kaguyahime no Monogatari
Specifics
2013 / 137m - Japan
Genre
Drama, Fantasy, Animation
More info:
rating
4.0*/5.0*
toplist position
The Tale of Princess Kaguya poster

The Tale of Princess Kaguya is still a marvel to behold and definitely worth your time, but it's also a film that feels like a natural end to Takahata's career.

Solid pieces

Gauche the Cellist

by Isao Takahata
Also known as
Sero Hiki no Gôshu
Specifics
1982 / 60m - Japan
Genre
Fantasy, Music, Animation
More info:
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Gauche the Cellist poster

The inoffensive

Panda! Go Panda!

by Isao Takahata
Also known as
Panda Kopanda
Specifics
1972 / 34m - Japan
Genre
Comedy, Animation
More info:
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Panda! Go Panda! poster

Prince of the Sun: The Great Adventure of Horus

by Isao Takahata
Also known as
Taiyou no Ouji Horusu no Daibouken
Specifics
1968 / 82m - Japan
Genre
Fantasy, Adventure, Animation
More info:
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Prince of the Sun: The Great Adventure of Horus poster

Worthy but flawed

Anne of Green Gables: Road to Green Gables

by Isao Takahata
Also known as
Akage no An: Gurîn Gêburuzu E no Michi
Specifics
2010 / 100m - Japan
Genre
Drama, Animation
More info:
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Anne of Green Gables: Road to Green Gables poster

Not really a 2010 film, instead it's a compilation/rework of the first 6 episodes of the original TV series (1979), which lists Takahata as series director. Just to say that you shouldn't expect a modern Ghibli-like Takahata, but an early 80s TV anime with strong Western influences, recut to resemble a feature film.

I'm not familiar with the original Montgomery novel, nor with the original anime adaptation, but I've seen plenty of similar series on Dutch TV when I was younger. The style is very typical, charming but rather basic, with a clear love for rural environments and traditional values.

The animation is basic, but there are some dream-like sequences that rise well above expected TV quality. Anne is also a fun character. Quite chatty and a little exhausting, but her inquisitive outlook on life is refreshing. The film is a too slow though, with hardly anything happening within these 100 minutes. It's not bad, but it's clear the pacing is better suited for a TV series than a feature film.

The Story of Yanagawa's Canals

by Isao Takahata
Also known as
Yanagawa Horiwari Monogatari
Specifics
1987 / 167m - Japan
Genre
Documentary
More info:
rating
2.5*/5.0*
The Story of Yanagawa's Canals poster

Chie the Brat

by Isao Takahata
Also known as
Jarinko Chie
Specifics
1981 / 105m - Japan
Genre
Comedy, Animation
More info:
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Chie the Brat poster