Studio Khara has announced that animator and director Shoichi Masuo passed away on July 24, 2017 while under medical care for an unspecified illness. He was 57 years old at the time of his passing.

Masuo was a key animator who specialized in mechanical and effects animation. He started out as an animator in Studio Giants, working on such anime as Sengoku Majin Goshōgun. He was the Assistant Animation Director for the 1984 anime film, The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love?, where he met future Gainax co-founder Hideaki Anno. After working as a key animator and mecha animation director on Project A-Ko in 1986, he moved to Gainax. While at Gainax, Masuo worked as assistant director for Royal Space Force – The Wings of Honnêamise, and as key animator, technical director, and mechanical designer for such anime as Gunbuster, Otaku no Video, Nadia – The Secret of Blue Water, Neon Genesis Evangelion, His and Her Circumstances, and Gunbuster 2: Diebuster. He also worked on anime outside of Gainax, such as Akira and Giant Robo. Masuo is credited for mecha design for The Irresponsible Captain Tylor, and was the animation supervisor and mechanical director for the 6 Angels film.

Masuo has also directed such anime as Crimson Wolf, Countdown, Submarine 707R, and Demonbane.

When Anno left Gainax and founded Studio Khara to work on his new Evangelion anime films, Masuo followed as a key animator as well as a special effects and action director up until the third and most recent film. Among his last credits were the storyboards for the Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom: Wild Dance of Kyoto film and key animation for the Arpeggio of Blue Steel anime.

Source: ANN