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Yoroku: The mysterious meeting of the 3 men who changed anime forever

Film producer and former Studio Ghibli president Toshio Suzuki's first "encounter" with Isao Takahata was as a reporter for an anime magazine, calling him to request an interview.

Takahata spoke for an hour about why he wouldn't sit for an interview before handing the phone over to Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki, on the other hand, explained for the next 30 minutes that there was so much he wanted to tell Suzuki and that he wanted at least a 16-page spread in the magazine. Suzuki had only been after a simple comment, and was fed up. After the hour and a half on the phone, he did not write even a single-line article, according to a book Suzuki later authored, titled "Shigoto Doraku" (Work for pleasure), published by Iwanami Shoten, Publishers.

This was the start of the relationship between three men, and yet they would go on to make feature after feature together at Ghibli and change the course of anime history forever. One can't help but think that destiny is a mysterious animal.

That first phone call was colored by each of the men's unique characters, but it was Suzuki who praised Takahata as "an unwavering person" in the aforementioned book. Teaming up with Miyazaki at a young age, the pair alternated releasing works from Studio Ghibli. Takahata's directorial contributions included such films as "Grave of the Fireflies" and "Pom Poko." His work culminated in the cinematic beauty of the dynamic lines and negative spaces in "The Tale of the Princess Kaguya."

Once, when asked if he dreams, Miyazaki replied, "I do. I only have one dream, and Takahata always appears in it." Miyazaki was always conscious of Takahata as a senior creator and rival as he worked, Suzuki explains.

The word "rival" is said to have its origins in disputes over water rights for fields. However, these two great men shared the great river that is anime, and cultivated a bountiful harvest together. Takahata embarks for the next world having left behind magnificent fruit grown out of his unwavering passion, for all of society to enjoy. ("Yoroku," a front-page column in the Mainichi Shimbun)

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