Yasuo otsuka, legendaryAnimator and mentor, passes Away at 89.

Short biography on Yasuo

Toshio Suzuki, the founder of Studio Ghibli, revealed that Yasuo Otsuka, one of the founders of anime and a mentor to some of the greatest anime creators ever, passed away this morning at the age of 89 while receiving his anime achievement award at the Tokyo Anime Award Festival 2021.



Hayao Miyazaki (left), the late Daikichirou Kusube (former president of Shin-Ei Animation – middle), and Yasuo Otsuka (right)

When Hayao Miyazaki first began in anime at Toei Animation in the 1960s, Yasuo Otsuka was not only Suzuki’s mentor, but also his immediate supervisor. Before retiring from Studio Ghibli and the Toei Animation Research Institute in2007, Otsuka assisted Miyazaki and Isao Takahata in the early stages of their careers, eventually becoming a mentor to all young animators at Studio Ghibli and the Toei Animation Research Institute. In the 1990s, he also taught at the Yoyogi Animation Academy, where several graduates went on to become well-known in the industry.

Born in Shimane Prefecture on July11,1931, Otsuka developed an early interest in drawing and entered the emerging Japanese anime industry in1956, when he responded to a newspaper ad for animators at Japan Animated Films, which was soon bought out and became Toei Animation. During his time at Toei, Otsuka assisted in the training of future Ghibli co-founders Suzuki and Isao Takahata, as well as becoming Hayao Miyazaki’s boss in the 1960s when the future Oscar winner was just starting out.

He moved to A Output in 1968. (now Shin-Ei Animation). In the years that followed, he was instrumental in the development of the first Lupin series, Lupin the Third Part I, which includes The Castle of Cagliostro and Takahata’s Panda! Before joining Telecom Animation Film (part of TMS) in 1979, he worked on the film Go, Panda!, which was produced by Tokyo Movie Shinsha. On his former mentee’s 1984 film Future, Otsuka reconnected with MiyazakiHe moved to A Output in 1968. (now Shin-Ei Animation). In the years that followed, he was instrumental in the development of the first Lupin series, Lupin the Third Part I, which includes The Castle of Cagliostro and Takahata’s Panda! Before joining Telecom Animation Film (part of TMS) in 1979, he worked on the film Go, Panda!, which was produced by Tokyo Movie Shinsha. On his former mentee’s 1984 film Future, Otsuka reconnected with MiyazakiHe moved to A Output in 1968. (now Shin-Ei Animation). In the years that followed, he was instrumental in the development of the first Lupin series, Lupin the Third Part I, which includes The Castle of Cagliostro and Takahata’s Panda! Before joining Telecom Animation Film (part of TMS) in 1979, he worked on the film Go, Panda!, which was produced by Tokyo Movie Shinsha. On his former mentee’s 1984 film Future, Otsuka reconnected with Miyazaki feature Future Boy Conan (1984), and continued to work on a variety of series and films well into the 2000s, including Chie the Brat, Sherlock Hound, Little Nemo, and more Lupin adventures, before choosing to leave the industry.

In addition to on-the-job mentoring, Otsuka served as an instructor at the Toei Animation Research Institute and the Yoyogi Animation Academy, where he influenced future generations of artists. Directors Yoshifumi Kondo and Gisaburo Sugii, as well as character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, are among the anime masters who have come under his tutelage (best known for the hit Evangelion franchise).In addition to on-the-job mentoring, Otsuka served as an instructor at the Toei Animation Research Institute and the Yoyogi Animation Academy, where he influenced future generations of artists. Directors Yoshifumi Kondo and Gisaburo Sugii, as well as character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, are among the anime masters who have come under his tutelage (best known for the hit Evangelion franchise).

His work

Yasuo Otsuka, an artist who mentored other acclaimed creators and helped form the contemporary anime industry with his work on landmark titles like Tale of the White Serpent, Lupin III, and Future Boy Conan, died Monday morning, March15, at the age of 89.

May his soul rest in peace.

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