Animerica Interviews Isao Takahata and Akiyuki Nosaka
From the vaults comes this excellent and in-depth interview with Isao Takahata and author Akiyuki Nosaka in Animerica Magazine, circa 1994. The topic, as I'm sure you can guess, is Grave of the Fireflies, which at that time had recently been released on home video, courtesy of Central Park Media (now deceased). While people around the world knew Takahata as the mastermind behind Heidi, Marco, and Anne, Americans were just discovering his brilliance for the first time.
Grave of the Fireflies is just about the greatest animated movie ever made, and yet it remains almost criminally neglected. Anime fans may be aware, and a movie buff or two might have some vague, abstract awareness of its existence, but the film remains an unknown quantity. That's simply inexcuseable. Isao Takahata's films are required-viewing as much as any master of the cinema, and it's about damned time that American cinemaphiles get with the program.
Nosaka is the author of the autobiography on which the anime is based; he and his sister were children during WWII, they were bombed out of their homes, and the younger sister starved to death. Overwhelmed by grief and survivor's guilt, Nosaka wrote his story in hopes of making peace with his traumatic experience. The book became required-reading for Japan's schoolchildren, and this is why Takahata was able to secure funding for an anime film adaptation. In addition, a very determined and very clever Hayao Miyazaki (he encouraged Takahata to take the project) secured funding for the film, on the condition that his own pet project be included as a double-bill: My Neighbor Totoro.
The six-page interview (scanned, so you'll need to click each page to enlarge) follows after the jump: