Renowned manga creator, illustrator, and designer Leiji Matsumoto passed away on February 13 due to heart failure. He was 85.
Matsumoto was hospitalized in Turin, Italy in November 2019, but his condition eventually stabilized the following day. The Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported that it was suspected that he had a stroke at the time of his collapse and that he was in serious condition. He was discharged that December.
Matsumoto was born in 1938, and he debuted as a manga artist in 1953 with Michibachi no Bōken (Honeybee’s Adventure) while he was still in high school. His notable works include Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Galaxy Express 999, and Queen Emeraldas — all of which inspired multiple anime or live-action adaptations — and he contributed designs and created the tie-in manga for Space Battleship Yamato. He also supervised animated music videos for French electronic pop group Daft Punk‘s Discovery album, and the videos were strung together into the INTERSTELLA 5555 film. His designs and works have influenced multiple generations of artists around the world.
Matsumoto’s mechanical designs ranged from sleek warships inspired by early 20th century dreadnoughts, to fantastical space trains. His characters similarly ranged from cartoonish or caricatured designs to grounded, realistic figures.
In 2001 Matsumoto was awarded the “Medal with Purple Ribbon” honor, and in 2010 he was awarded with the “Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Rosette.” In 2012 he received the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) decoration from the French government.
Photo provided under CC BY-SA 4.0 license