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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.