10/30/2010: Takeshi Shudo and Nachi Nozawa
Written by Cindy Yamauchi   

Space CobraAs I was writing a blog entry on the passing of Takeshi Shudo, the screenwriter of anime classics such as Minky Momo, Baldios, and Goshogun, I heard that Nachi Nozawa, a veteran voice actor best known for "Space Cobra" in the US, and who most recently starred as Sid in Devil May Cry, had died of lung cancer. I'd never met them in person, but both of them hold a special place in my otaku heart.

Back in the days when anime shows were mostly based on original concepts created by the screenwriters, Shudo-san was definitely one of the most popular writers around. Minky Momo is still one of my biggest favorites. It just occurred to me as I write this that I even worked on inbetweens of Momo early in my career. And as bad as Baldios was visually, I can't just write it off as a poorly-executed show because of its strange, tragic story (though it was cut short in the middle, due to cancellation). In fact, a sizeable chunk of time of my "otakuhood" days was spent watching Baldios and trying to perfect my drawings of Marin (the hero of the show).

Nozawa-san was mainly a voice actor, but not just any voice actor; his voice was well-known throughout the general public as the Japanese voice for Bruce Willis, Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, and most famously for the handsome French actor, Alain Delon. He also lent his voice to many anime characters as well, although many of those characters never made their way to the US. He also was a radio host and a stage actor. As a kid, I used to sneak a radio into bed to listen to his show--Pack In Music--that aired around 1am, and my friends and I would talk about the show in school the following day. Gosh, I have so many fond memories related to his voice...

Rest in peace, Shudo-san and Nozawa-san. You both will be missed by many.

10/26/2010: Satoshi Kon
Written by Cindy Yamauchi   

Yume Miru KikaiAs I read my own blog posting from July, I noticed that nothing much in my working life has changed since then, and yet, so much seems to have happened.

The most notable incident was the passing of Satoshi Kon in August. I remember that I was with talking with another animator/designer at Madhouse who just returned from a short vacation in Los Angeles. Suddenly, he received a text message from his friend. He had a strange look on his face as he showed the message to me. It said, "Is it true that Kon-san passed away?" Our first reaction was to nervously laugh it off, but we both started making calls right away. When we finally got in touch with our producer over the phone, he said he was already at Kon-san's home. Our conversation was brief, but that was enough to confirm that it was indeed true. The great director and artist Satoshi Kon had died of cancer. When I returned to my seat, I noticed that others seemed to be dealing with phone calls as well. No one at that moment knew exactly what was going on, so I confirmed to them that Kon-san had passed away. Only few people knew about how gravely ill Kon-san's was, so it naturally came as a great shock to everyone at Madhouse (including me).

Kon-san's Yume Miru Kikai production had made very little progress since the end of the previous year, but many of us weren't told that it was mostly due to Kon-san's condition. I had seen him around occasionally since Madhouse moved to its new location. He said that "my back is giving me trouble" when one of his concerned colleagues asked why he was using a cane.

A very private service was held for family and close friends. We waited for the company to hold a memorial service that all of us could attend, but that hasn't happened yet. The production of Yume Miru Kikai has restarted, supported by Kon-san's loyal staff. Our president had made a promise to Kon-san that his film will be completed; we all hope to join the production as soon as we can in order to fulfill that final promise.

10/23/2010: Shikishi Auction
Written by Cindy Yamauchi   

auctionOur annual Shikishi Auction has finally gone live! Though this has always been a summer event, we decided to postpone it this year in response to various issues. Unfortunately, Kazuhiro Soeta is unable to participate this year due to a scheduling conflict, but we are happy to bring you the work of our new artist, Kyoko Takeuchi (formerly of Studio Live). I worked with her for the first time on the Trigun: Badlands Rumble feature film. We will set up her page in our Artist section as soon as we receive some samples from her.

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