In the world of anime and manga, there are few figures as influential as Leiji Matsumoto. It would be difficult to imagine the landscape of the industry, particularly that of overseas fandom, without his creations fueling and shaping it. Sadly, according to an announcement from Toei, Matsumoto passed away on February 13 due to acute heart failure at the age of 85.
Inspired by American animation and comics as a kid, Matsumoto got an early start at creating when he formed a manga doujinshi group in elementary school. He would then go on to pursue a career in manga upon moving to Tokyo in 1953, making his debut with Mitsubachi no Boken at just 18 years old. He gradually carved a name for himself with beloved creations ranging from Space Battleship Yamamoto to Captain Harlock, Galaxy Express 999 and beyond.
Many of his works would make their way over to the west in localized form, and there aren’t many anime as essential to the formation of anime fandom in the west as Space Battleship Yamato, which came to TV in the states as Star Blazers. Matsumoto was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette honor in 2010 for his work in promoting Japanese culture overseas. His work in the arts was also honored in France, where the government knighted him in 2013.
A private funeral has already been held for close family and friends. Leiji Matsumoto is survived by his wife, fellow manga artist Miyako Maki, who created the award-winning manga adaptation of Genji Monogatari, among others.
May this legend rest in peace.
Via Crunchyroll News