It’s with great sadness that the legendary Manga and Anime artist Leiji Matsumoto has passed at the age of 85.
His artistic legacy is known for its imaginative space epics that delved into profound themes such as antiwar morality, existentialism, and philosophy of science. His contributions to the world of art and storytelling will be deeply missed.
Matsumoto was a sci-fi pioneer who changed the perception of manga and anime. His works like “Galaxy Express 999” and “Space Pirate Captain Harlock” gained a global audience and influenced generations of artists. He was known for injecting emotion into small on-screen movements.
Born in Fukuoka, Japan in 1938, Matsumoto’s early life was shaped by the devastation of World War II. Although his father had been a decorated pilot and army major, Matsumoto opted not to follow in his footsteps. Instead, he drew inspiration from his father, basing one of his most famous characters, Captain Juzo Okita of “Space Battleship Yamato,” on him.
At the age of 15, he began his artistic career when he published his first manga comic, “The Adventures of Honey Bee.” After high school, he moved to Tokyo, determined to succeed as a manga artist.
In Tokyo, Matsumoto established relationships that proved pivotal to his career. He formed a friendship with Hideo Itokawa, Japan’s most celebrated rocket scientist, whose laboratory was close to Matsumoto’s digs.
The prolific manga and animation artist addressed war and other topics, including adult comics. He had a significant relationship with Osamu Tezuka and was married to Miyako Maki, creator of Licca-chan.
Matsumoto’s influence on manga and anime is enduring, with his work serving as the foundation for a multibillion-dollar global industry.