Manga creator, illustrator, and designer Leiji Matsumoto passed away on February 13, 2023 due to acute heart failure. He was 85 years old at the time of his passing.

Matsumoto was born with the given name Akira in 1938 at Kurume City in Fukuoka Prefecture, and he debuted as a manga artist in 1953 with Honeybee’s Adventure while he was still in high school. After graduating high school, he moved to Tokyo and became popular in the 1950’s as a shōjo manga creator under a pen name. He then adopted his most famous pen name, Leiji Matsumoto, in 1965.

His works include Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Galaxy Express 999, and Queen Emeraldas, and he also 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: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem 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.

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 from the hospital in December 2019.

Source: ANN