Anime Biography: Akira Daikubara

Akira Daikubara was born on November 23, 1917. He became an animator during the early years of Japan’s animation industry, and worked on some of the classic early anime films. Daikubara provided key animation for Hakujaden, Japan’s first animated feature film in color. He also directed, did character design, and provided key animation for Magic Boy, the first theatrically-released work of Japanese animation in North America. In addition, he also provided storyboards and key animation for the Puss ‘n Boots anime film, which also featured key animation work by famous anime director Hayao Miyazaki.

Daikubara also served as an Animation Director on the Alibaba to Yonjubiki no Tozuku anime film (which also featured key animation work by Hayao Miyazaki), the Andersen Monogatari Match Uri no Shojo anime film (this film focuses on two of Hans Christian Andersen’s stories: The Red Shoes and The Little Match Girl), the Chibikko Remi to Meiken Kapi anime film, the Doggie March anime film (Daikubara also provided animation for this production), the Honey Honey no Suteki na Boken television anime series, the Kikansha Yaemon D51 no Daiboken anime film, the Maken Liner-0011 Henshin Seyo!! anime film, the Mechakko Dotakon television anime series, and the Shonen Jack to Mahotsukai anime film.

In addition, Daikubara also provided animation and original drawing for the Alakazam the Great anime film, key animation for Anju To Zushio Maru (a film that Isao Takahata served as an Assistant Director on), background art for the Kobito to Aomushi anime film, animation for the Koneko no Rakugaki anime film, key animation for Nagagutsu Sanjushi anime film, key animation for the Sekai Meisaku Dowa: Mori wa Ikiteiru (an anime film that featured character designs by the “father of manga” Osamu Tezuka), key animation for the Sinbad no Boken anime film (which was co-written by Osamu Tezuka), animation for the Ukare Violin anime film, and art for the World’s Famous Stories for Children: Thumb Princess anime film.

Daikubara was awarded the Special Prize at the 2006 Japan Media Arts Festival for his long-standing devotion to his work in anime.

Sadly, it was reported by the Anido animator’s group that Daikubara passed away on June 17, 2012 due to pneumonia and old age. According to Anime News Network, Daikubara had entered a nursing home in 2008, and was hospitalized in 2012 due to pneumonia. Akira Daikubara was 94 years old at the time of his passing.

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