Lo Che Ying

Lo is an experienced anime producer and began independent anime creation in 1977. His works won the first prize at the Hong Kong Independent Short Film Festival for four consecutive times and he was promoted as panel member. In the next year, he joined the Radio Television Hong Kong to work as cartoon producer until 1993. Over recent years, he spent efforts on promotion of the anime industry in Hong Kong and planning of anime exhibitions. Recently, he worked as the curator of the 50 Years of Hong Kong and Taiwanese Animation. He currently worked as Secretary General of the Hong Kong Animation and Culture Association.

The retrospective exhibition of Takahata Isao

08 2018 | Issue 28

Japan’s most iconic animation company, “Studio Ghibli”, was founded by animation directors Miyazaki Hayao and Takahata Isao. Over the past 30 years, it has produced many excellent works. Takahata Isao may be less famous than Miyazaki Hayao. But in fact, each of them has their own merits. What’s more, they are closely related and are the spiritual pillar of creation for each other.  


Takahata Isao died of illness in April at the age of 82. His sudden death shocked the animation world. Just as the Hong Kong International Film Festival was preparing for its June and July fan shows, it decided to plan a retrospective exhibition of Takahata Isao’s works. As a result, the show, called “Remembering Isao Takahata”, was held smoothly from the end of June to the beginning of July. In addition to showing five feature films made by Takahata Isao in Ghibli, there was also a lecture, which was conducted by me and Sadao Tsukioka, an animation predecessor who made a special trip from Japan. 

Sadao Tsukioka was in the same period with Takahata Isao. Both joined Toei Animation in the 50s and have cooperated to produce In Search of Mother and other features. In addition, they were the directors of Toei Animation’s first TV cartoon series Wolf Boy Ken. It is fitting for Sadao Tsukioka to tell the story of the young Takahata Isao. Besides, as a professional animator, he comments on the pros and cons of Miyazaki Hayao and Takahata Isao's works and their complicated relationship. Sadao Tsukioka pointed out that the biggest difference between them was that Takahata Isao’s works were realistic. The animated world is also presented from the perspective of realism, so that the audience can more identify with the theme. On the contrary, Miyazaki Hayao’s works tend to be fanciful, which can give greater play to the performance of animation, and the audience could have a great space for imagination. However, the interesting thing is that Takahata Isao’s last work The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, which is based on Japanese classical literature, is the most imaginative of his works. The Wind Rises, Miyazaki’s work of the same year became the most realistic work he had ever made. These two works also reflect that the two veteran animators are willing to make changes. 

In my lecture, I mainly introduced Takahata Isao’s creation experience in the independent company after Toei Animation while before Ghibli. That includes Panda! Go Panda! cooperated with Miyazaki Hayao, the Jarinko Chie based on comic book, as well as the Gauche the Cellist adapted from Kenji Miyazawa. These are all excellent animations, and the diverse techniques of Takahata Isao are not inferior to later Ghibli’s works in terms of materials and artistic expression. Unfortunately, in the lecture, I can only show some clips for audiences to experience. In addition, several works that are believed to be the most familiar to Hong Kong and Macao audiences are also mentioned in the lecture. They are the TV series produced in the 70s, including Heidi, Girl of the Alps, 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother and Anne of Green Gables. These TV films are all very high-quality animation, and their editing and animation techniques are simple and effective. With numerous awards, people are never tired of them. 

Takahata Isao’s works are mainly adapted. He is good at using animation language and selects some works that he thinks are meaningful. With the appropriate art style, the production is made into a pleasant animation. It is his characteristic to produce fine goods slowly, so the quantity of this work is not much, but it’s all good work. Pom Poko brings him the highest honour of the Annecy International Animated Film Festival! I really don’t know if I wasn’t told that the last work Takahata Isao participated in is The Red Turtle produced by Ghibli and a French animation company, in which he served as an art director. Though not much involved, the support for the French animation director, and even the insistence on promoting good works, was in fact the style of Takahata Isao. 

If you want to know a director, to see his works is important. After that, to read the related comments and information, you will naturally get something. Take Takahata Isao as an example, his works can be seen again and again. People who like animation must not miss it. I hope that there will be an opportunity to show all the works of Takahata Isao in the future. 

Finally, I would like to introduce that this retrospective exhibition of Takahata Isao is held in the newly opened “Tai Kwun”.that this retrospective exhibition of Takahata Isao is a British-style building of the last century. With funding from the Hong Kong Jockey Club, it has been revitalised and transformed into a large arts and cultural centre in Central. There are all kinds of facilities and activities in the centre, which is very special. People from Macao can also come and visit when available.