Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Space Battleship Yamato" producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki, 1938-2010

by Chris MaGee

Sad news for the world of anime this past week. Yoshinobu Nishizaki, the producer of of the classic 1970's anime series "Space Battleship Yamato" as well as its various reboots died on Sunday, November 7th after falling from a boat cruising the Ogasawara Islands, also known at The Bonin Islands, in the waters roughly 1,000 kilometres south of Tokyo. He was 75.

Born in 1938 in Tokyo (real name Hirofumi Nishizaki) he would study at the Faculty of Arts at Nihon University and go on to work as a host in a number of jazz night clubs. In 1963 he founded his own production company named Office Academy with the intention of producing musical acts. By 1972 that mandate had changed with Office Academy producing the anime series "Triton of the Sea" based on a story by Osamu Tezuka. The following year Nishizaki's company would begin production an animated TV series about a group of people who flee a devastated Earth in a spaceship constructed out of the remains of the WW2-era battleship Yamato. Originally titled "Asteroid Ship Icarus"the name would be changed to "Space Battleship Yamato". The orignal series ran on Yomiuri TV from 1974-1975 and became hugely popular. It was dubbed in to English and aired across North America as "Star Blazers". In Japan the series would go through many re-imaginings and reboots, the most recent being a live-action remake directed by "Always: Sunset on Third Street" helmer Takashi Yamazaki.

"Space Battleship Yamato" would define Yoshinobu Nishizaki's career and he would often contribute story ideas for the many remakes and took genuine pride in his creation. Our deepest condolences go out to Nishizaki's family and friends at this time. Thanks to Anime News Network for the details of his remarkable life and career.

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