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Longtime anime director Osamu Dezaki dead at 67

Osamu Dezaki

Osamu Dezaki

Osamu Dezaki, direc­tor of many pop­u­lar Japan­ese ani­ma­tions and the co-founder of the Mad­house anime stu­dio, died at 12:35 a.m. Sun­day of lung can­cer. He was 67.

Also known as Makura Saki, he was born in Tokyo’s Shi­na­gawa neigh­bor­hood on Novem­ber 18, 1943.

Dezaki made use of split screens and stark light­ing as part of his rec­og­niz­able visual style, which later became pop­u­lar and spe­cific to Japan­ese ani­ma­tion. He also incor­po­rated what he called “Post­card Mem­o­ries,” a process involv­ing pas­tel freeze frames, in which the screen fades into a more involved “paint­ing” of the sim­pler orig­i­nal animation.

His many works as a direc­tor included Ace wo Nerae!, the Air film, Ashi-ta no Joe, Bionic Six, Black Jack The Movie, the Clan­nad film, Ganba no Boken, Genji Mono­gatari Sen­nenki, Golgo 13: The Pro­fes­sional, Hajime Nin­gen Gya­toruz, Mighty Orbots, Nobody’s Boy — Remi, The Rose of Ver­sailles, The Snow Queen, Space Adven­ture Cobra and Takara­jima (Trea­sure Island).

In addi­tion, he directed early episodes of Mighty Atom/Astro Boy, along with sev­eral Lupin III TV episodes and specials.

While still in high school, Dezaki started out as a manga artist. In 1963, he joined stu­dio Mushi Pro­duc­tions, which was founded by manga and anime pio­neer Osamu Tezuka. The year 1970 marked his direc­to­r­ial debut with Ashi-ta no Joe.

In 1972, he and and Masao Maruyama co-founded Mad­house. Later, he and fre­quent char­ac­ter design col­lab­o­ra­tor Akio Sug­ino co-founded Stu­dio Annapuru.

Osamu Dezaki is sur­vived by older brother Satoshi Dezaki, who is also an anime director.

A wake will be held Thurs­day, April 20. A ser­vice will be held Fri­day, April 21 in Tokyo.