Celebrating Thirty Years of My Neighbor Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies

Two Studio Ghibli classics are turning thirty this year. One is Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro, and the other is Isao Takahata’s devastating Grave of the Fireflies. We initially planned to rerun this article in celebration of this anniversary. Sadly, we are also now honoring the iconic Takahata, who passed away on April 5th at age 82. In addition to mentoring the younger Miyazaki and co-founding Ghibli, Takahata produced all-time classics of Japanese cinema, pushing animation in new directions, and working tirelessly to perfect new forms. From Only Yesterday to Pom Poko to the stunning Tale of Princess Kaguya, all of his films deserve your attention.

But now we return to the studio’s seemingly strange choice to premiere My Neighbor Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies as a double feature in Japan. (I do not recommend recreating this experience!) Together, three decades ago, Miyazaki and Takahata gave ...

Grave of the Fireflies