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Takahata's Studio Ghibli 

Wednesday, Apr 6 2016

Anime powerhouse Studio Ghibli is most often associated with Hayao Miyazaki — Hot Topic currently has a full shelf of Spirited Away merchandise — but he wasn't the only master of the form; co-founder Isao Takahata also made a series of indelible works, four of which screen during the Takahata's Studio Ghibli series. His first Ghibli film is also considered his masterpiece: the brutal children-during-war drama Grave of the Fireflies, which the studio initially released as a double feature with Miyazaki's fluffy merchandising bonanza My Neighbor Totoro. (Totoro merch is also available at Hot Topic; Fireflies merch is not.) Far lighter is the 1994 Pom Poko, about a race of raccoon-like shape-shifters dealing with humans intruding into their forests. Also, their big furry ball sacks factor heavily into the story, so adjust your expectations accordingly. Less scrotum-obsessed is 1999's My Neighbors the Yamadas, a quotidian comedy about a family of troublemakers presented in an atypical comic-book-and-watercolor style. Currently receiving its first American release is 1991's Only Yesterday, which follows a 27-year-old woman as she journeys through her past during a trip to the country, remembering key moments from when she was 10. A contender for Takahata's true masterpiece, Only Yesterday may lack Fireflies' war-movie prestige and boy-friendly themes, but it's also beautiful, heartfelt, and quite un-missable.

About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly


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