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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

The world is a little bit darker today, as an animation legend has just passed on. according to Yahoo! Japan, producer, director, and co-founder of the iconic Studio Ghibli, Isao Takahata died at age 82 after dealing with heart problems.

You may not recognize his name (he has constantly been in the shadow of Hayao Miyazaki — at least in the eyes of mainstream audiences), but he is responsible for producing and directing many animation classics. He’s perhaps best known for his incredibly depressing, yet well-crafted, Grave of the Fireflies, which premiered alongside My Neighbor Totoro back in the ’80s.

More recently, Takahata made films like Only Yesterday, Pom Poko, My Neighbors the Yamadas, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya. The latter film hit theaters only a handful of years ago, back in 2013, and it made a splash as the most expensive Japanese film to date, with its budget of $49.3 million. It was also nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars that year, but lost to the undeserving Big Hero 6.

Of course, his biggest contribution may not be any one film, but the co-founding of Studio Ghibli. without him, it never would have existed, and may not have birthed such classics as Whisper of the HeartSpirited Away, and Princess Mononoke. Furthermore, it may not have been around to nurture such burgeoning talent as Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who has since gone on to direct Mary and the Witch’s Flower for Studio Ponoc.

What’s your favorite work from Takahata? Let us know down below!

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SOURCE: Yahoo! Japan (via ComicBook.com)

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.