Yasuo Otsuka, Legendary Animator and Hayao Miyazaki Collaborator, Dies at 89

Today, the art and anime communities are coming together to mourn the loss of a truly talented [...]

Today, the art and anime communities are coming together to mourn the loss of a truly talented animator. Reports from Japan have confirmed Yasuo Otsuka has passed away. The legendary animator helped usher in groundbreaking animation techniques which inspired talent at Studio Ghibli and generations to come. Otsuka was 89 years old.

For those unfamiliar with Otsuka, the artist was born in July 1931 and began his career in art under Toei Animation way back in 1956. Otsuka gave his time to projects like The White Snake and even acted as animation director on Isao Takahata's Horus - Prince of the Sun. He would go on to become a close friend to the Studio Ghibli co-founder, and Otsuka would do the same with director Hayao Miyazaki.

lupin iii
(Photo: Toei Animation)

After leaving Toei Animation, Otsuka became best-known for his work on Lupin III. The artist acted as the character designer and animation director for the story's first anime series. After growing close with Miyazaki through shared acquaintances, Otsuka went on to work with the director on Future Boy Conan and Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro. Otsuka's last credited work in anime dates back to Lupin III as he did some artwork on the anime's 2007 films, Elusiveness of the Fog.

Following his retirement, Otsuka worked as an advisor at Telecom Animation Film and shepherded new generations of artists. Now, those animators are bidding farewell to Otsuka in light of his passing. His legacy will live on through the innovations he created during his lifetime, and future artists will remember Otsuka as a person who helped shape what animation could be.

Our thoughts are with Otsuka's loved ones during this difficult time. May he rest in peace.