Isao Takahata, the director of contemporary classics like Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday, and My Neighbors the Yamadas, was notoriously difficult to work with, and his harsh treatment of film crews “destroyed so many people,” according to new comments made by one of the people who knew him best, Studio Ghibli co-founder and producer Toshio Suzuki.
Suzuki, who produced all of Takahata’s films from Grave of the Fireflies onward, made the comments in a newly published book, The Ghibli Textbook #19: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (Ghibli no Kyōkasho 19 Kaguya-hime no Monogatari). The comments were first reported by Anime News Network.
The respected Ghibli producer also suggests that Takahata was indirectly responsible for causing the death of character designer and animation director Yoshifumi Kondō, who died in 1998 at age 47. Kondō told Suzuki after the production of his Ghibli film Whisper of the Heart that Takahata had “tried to kill him,” and he would physically tremble upon hearing Takahata’s name.