Isao Takahata died this week. Understandably, many of the published obituaries and tributes have focused on his great films and his role as a co-founder of Studio Ghibli. But he was also someone who was involved in TV anime, from 1963 to 1983. In one sense what we’re living through now, and will be seeing for some time yet, is the gradual departure of the remaining industry figures who experienced the birth of commercial, mass-broadcast anime as adults.
I remember taking a friend who knew nothing about anime to see The Tale of Princess Kaguya, the last film Takahata directed, when it ran in cinemas here in 2015. We left afterwards delighted and moved, my friend possibly even more so than me. Takahata was a great artist.
It’s always sad to see an influential figure pass on. Takahata will undoubtedly be remembered. I haven’t seen many of his works, but Only Yesterday is a calm and moving film, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya is something I’ll remember forever.
But time continues to pass, and for now we’re here to try to keep track of things people have written and said about older anime. As usual, remarks from Feez are in blue and those from Thaliarchus are in red.
There’s a fine new tribute to King Gainer at Mage in a Barrel. If you don’t know the show and are at all curious, this is a neat and accessible introduction to it. If you’re familiar with and enjoyed Gundam Reconguista in G, I recommend giving King Gainer a look. They both share several staff members!
Atleir Emily carries a perceptive treatment of mundanity in the first Patlabor OVA.
Feez himself has written up a couple of neat memorabilia posts. Physical anime scripts are rarely discussed in fact, I’d never seen one before but he has some photos of and details about the script to Turn A Gundam episode 11 here. I didn’t know that anime scripts could include encyclopaedia-style supplementary information about setting, &c. He’s also showcased his cels from Turn A. I hope people’ve enjoyed these posts. I have much more planned, so stay tuned! Incidentally, Turn A counts, like Princess Kaguya, as another (rather less direct) anime reflex of the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. Princess Kaguya is actually what made me cognizant of Turn A‘s nods to the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, so I really appreciate that film.
Animated Action has an episode on the 1991 Sukeban Deka OVA, with Dawn from the Anime Nostalgia Podcast as a guest. We should have included this last week but forgot—sorry!
Warui Deshou have released the first half of a long, full-series discussion of the 1997 Berserk adaptation.
Blade Licking Thieves cover the 2001 super robot revival OVA Mazinkaiser. Which I remember fondly, because it was the first Mazinger-related title I watched.
Here’s a neat thread of VHS sleeve scans and various international intros for Mighty Orbots (directed by the mighty Osamu Dezaki!).
- Bonobono (1995) 16 (GANGO)
- Condition Green (orphan)
- Fantasia (orphan)
- Ai no Kusabi (orphan)
- Ask Dr Rin 28 and Legend of Heavenly Sphere Shurato 1 (live-evil)
- Jungle Emperor Leo 6 (live-evil)
- Ginguiser 8 (Luurah) obey ginguiser
- Daikengo 20 (Luurah)
- Dragonar 28 (/m/subs)
- Grendizer 7 (johnnyenglish)
What we’re up to
Feez — I’ve been making good progress in Dunbine, though I’ve been taking it in chunks rather than at a consistent pace. But like I’ve said, I’ve been enjoying it. The Xenogears 20th anniversary concert is/was this weekend and I’m super salty that I can’t be there. If only it wasn’t so complicated for a foreigner to obtain a concert ticket…
Turn A Gundam‘s 19th anniversary is 9 April! I’ll be making a few tweets about it later today, and I have a little treat to share soon as well.
Thaliarchus — I finished reading Franz Werfel’s The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, which I thought was great—baggy, overbearing, but great. I’d definitely recommend it if you like big, doorstop historical fiction. It has some remarkably good passages, including some vivid descriptions of battle, but also tense and frightening meetings and committee scenes: Werfel could well capture how evil intentions can be passed down and executed through petty, disunited bureaucratic organs. While the novel has a pessimistic view of human nature it also possesses a kind of wide-ranging sympathy for human failings, and Werfel was clearly at pains not to condemn all Turks as a group even as he accused their government. But there are some subtler strains of European Orientalism in his treatment of both Turks and Armenians. One minor result is a lot of ‘keikaku means plan’ in both the original German text and the English translation, which is amusing if you’ve any experience of the range of translation approaches used in fansubbing.
Anime-wise, I’ve nearly finished Dunbine (so expect some concluding comments on it next time!), and I’ve been watching more of Takahata’s films, prompted by news of his death: Gauche the Cellist, pictured above, is simple and simply excellent, and Grave of the Fireflies is just as good as everyone says.