Thursday, April 21, 2011

Animation director Osamu Dezaki, 1943 - 2011

by Chris MaGee

Sad news from the world of anime this past week. Veteran animation director Osamu Dezaki, best known for helming Fuji TV's "Ashita no Joe" animated series and the subsequent animated feature film spin offs, passed away on Sunday the 17th after a battle with lung cancer. He was 67.

Dezaki began his career as a manga artist and then joined Osamu Tezuka's animation studio, Mushi Pro, in 1963. Dezaki was right on time to act as a director for a number of the episodes of the original "Astro Boy" animated series and would then go on to work on other Mushi Pro Tezuka animated adaptations like "Dororo" and "Black Jack". In 1970 Dezaki got his big chance when he became the main director of Fuji TV's animated series "Ashita no Joe" based on the iconic boxing manga by Asao Takamori and Tetsuya Chiba. Episodes of the series, which ran between 1970 through 1971 would later be edited together in 1980 to create the feature film "Ashita no Joe". Dezaki would go on to be a co-founder, along with Masao Murayama, of famed animation studio Madhouse in 1972.

A service for Dezaki was held in Tokyo today, and our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends during this difficult time. We leave you with the opening of 1980's "Ashita no Joe" below. Thanks to SG Cafe for the details on the life of Osamu Dezaki.

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