Anime and art communities alike come together to mourn the loss of a talented animator

On Monday, March 15, during the 2021 Tokyo Anime Award Festival, Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki announced that animator Yasuo Otsuka had passed on. Born in Japan’s Shimane prefecture on July 11, 1931, Otsuka departed this life at the age of 89.

The acclaimed artist began his career back in 1956 under Toei Dōga, now known as Toei Animation. He worked on projects such as “The Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon,” “The White Snake.”

He later served as animation director of “Horus – Prince of the Sun” by Studio Ghibli’s co-founder Isao Takahata, who became a close friend.

Young Hayao Miyazaki (left) with master animator Yasuo Otsuka (right)

Otsuka later transferred to studio A Production, currently known as Shinei Animation, and eventually to Telecom Animation Film. He is best-known for his work “Lupin III,” serving as animation director and character designer for the story’s first anime series that set the framework for the long-running franchise.

After growing close with Hayao Miyazaki, Otsuka went on to collaborate with the film director on “Future Boy Conan,” “Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro,” and other animes. His final credited work dates back to Lupin III having made some artworks on the 2007 film, “Elusiveness of the Fog.”

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As an instructor at Tokyo’s Yoyogi Animation Academy, Otsuka helped train future generations of animators. He received an Association’s Special Award for lifetime achievement at the 42nd annual Japan Academy Prizes in 2019.

Our deepest sympathies as we remember Yasuo Otsuka.

Source: Manila Bulletin (