Leiji Matsumoto, one of the best manga artists and creator of several anime and manga series, has passed away at the age of 85, according to the production company Toei. His grand science-fiction tales had a significant impact on Japan’s comic book and anime industries.
In the 1970s and 1980s, animated TV programmes and movies based on Matsumoto’s classic works like “Space Battleship Yamato,” “Captain Harlock,” and “Galaxy Express 999” became immensely famous around the world.
He oversaw the creation of an animation that featured music by the French electro band Daft Punk. A portion of the anime served as the music video for their 2000 hit single “One More Time.”
According to a statement from Toei, the artist passed away last week from heart failure.
Matsumoto, an early prodigy and a young fan of the legendary manga artist Osamu Tezuka, released his first comic book, “The Adventures of a Bee,” at the age of just 15.
Matsumoto’s imaginative representations of engineering and space travel were admired both in Japan and overseas, and included anything from fights against aliens armed with radioactive meteorites to intergalactic steam trains.
He received the esteemed Order of Arts and Letters from the French government in 2012, and even today in Japan, brass bands frequently play music from his cartoons at baseball games as popular karaoke selections.
Matsumoto talked about experiencing the 1945 atomic explosions that ended World War II in an interview with AFP, a global news agency, in 2013.
“The plane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima went right over my head. The second was meant for a town close to Fukuoka where I was living. It was bad weather that condemned Nagasaki. That traumatized me, but was a source of inspiration, as were all the experiences of my youth… personal experience is essential for a creative spirit,” said Leiji Matsumoto in the 2013 interview.