The Oscar-nominated anime director Isao Takahata, who co-founded Studio Ghibli, has died aged 82.
Takahata is best known for his 1988 masterpiece Grave of the Fireflies, a tale of two orphans in Japan during the Second World War. His last Ghibli film, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, earned him an Academy award nomination.
“[His death] is true, but we can’t comment further as we are trying to confirm some facts around it,” a Studio Ghibli spokeswoman told the news agency AFP.
Takahata began his career as a director at Toei Animation in 1959 but was demoted after the failure of his debut movie, Hols: Prince of the Sun. He left the company but continued to write and direct, teaming up with Hayao Miyazaki to work on Pip Longstocking, Lupin III and Heidi, Girl of the Alps.
In 1985, Takahata and Miyazaki went on to found Studio Ghibli – now famous for blockbuster movies including My Neighbour Totoro and Spirited Away.
In the eighties, Takahata and Miyazaki often worked in collaboration, with Takahata producing the Miyazaki-directed movies Castle in the Sky and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi adventure.
Over his long and distinguished career, Takahata directed and wrote several of Ghibli’s most-loved films.
His works also include Pom Poko, Only Yesterday and My Neighbours the Yamadas. He proved himself talented in comedy, adventure, romance and war movies.
His final project was 2016’s The Red Turtle, for which he served as artistic producer.