I recently added a large number of screenshots from Anne of Green Gables to Ghibli Blog's Facebook page, so I decided I should post a few here on the website. Anne is another classic in the Takahata-Miyazaki canon that I don't spend nearly enough time writing about; one of these days, we're going to sit down and go through the entire series, episode by episode, start to finish.
I think it's very insightful to compare Isao Takahata's version of Anne to the popular Canadian tv production from the 1980s. While they are both similar in many ways, Takahata's Anne is much more rooted in the neo-realist tradition, with a reverence towards accuracy in all details, great and small. The World Masterpiece Theater series was a way to introduce Japanese audiences, young and old, to the outside world. These series - Heidi, Marco, Anne - are as much about their respective Western countries as they are about the original books.
Takahata also balances this naturalism with the romantic flair of Anne Shirley's vivid imagination. We are constantly brought into her world, and her world takes on a surreal, impressionist flair. This psychological focus is a signature element of the Takahata style, and no other director has focused so intensely on the paradox of psychology in animation. No character in animation is real, after all; these are drawings and paintings. But how do you portray a character's thoughts, their mood, their personality? Walt Disney and his animators discovered how to reveal character through movement. The genius of Takahata is how he can reveal character through stillness, silence.
Mamoru Oshii once declared that "Isao Takahata is walking logic." You can see that powerful intellect on display throughout his career, and especially so in Anne of Green Gables.