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Monday, April 18, 2011

Legendary Anime Director Osamu Dezaki Has Died

The term "legend" can sometimes just be tossed around at random, but Osamu Dezaki is one of those people who full-heartedly deserved the title. He was a part of the Japanese TV animation industry since the generally agreed upon beginning, which was the original Astro Boy in 1963 (Dezaki did some episode direction for it), and was still working on new titles to this day. It's with such sadness that I have say that this true legend died just a few hours ago of lung cancer. Considering that he was a normal smoker (hell, this well-known picture of him shows him smoking!) this is no surprise, and dying at the age of 67 isn't as shocking as that of Satoshi Kon's passing last year, but it's always a shame to lose such an influential person.

Considering his long resume, I'll just link to ANN's Encyclopedia page for Dezaki and instead I'll list off the titles of his that were licensed and you can actually go and watch/purchase right now:

[5/2017 ADDENDUM: List updated to reflect "newer" official means, such as streaming & later releases]

Air (Toei's 2002 movie adaptation of Key's visual novel was released on DVD by ADV Films and was later re-released by FUNimation)
Ashita no Joe (Tai Seng released the first compilation movie of what is considered one of Dezaki's iconic works under the name "Champion Joe" on DVD; like I said in one of my very first posts, you can buy this movie for less than $10 online right now! Go do so!)
Ashita no Joe 2 (CrunchyRoll is currently streaming the entire 1980-1981 TV continuation of the AnJ story, using the name Champion Joe 2 to match the name Tai Seng gave the first compilation movie)
Astro Boy [1963] (Right Stuf released some portion of the original English dub of what is considered "the very first anime" on DVD)
Astro Boy [1980] (Manga released some of this colorized remake on DVD)
Belladonna of Sadness (A young Dezaki did some key animation on this movie produced by Osamu Tezuka's original studio Mushi Productions, which is received a painstakingly remastered release on BD by Cinelicious Pics)
Black Jack (The now-defunct Central Park Media released both the 10-episode OVA as well as the 1996 movie on DVD, both of which were directed by Dezaki, & Discotek has since released a remastered DVD & BD for the movie)
Clannad (Toei's 2007 movie adaptation of another of Key's visual novels was recently released on DVD by Sentai Filmworks)
Cobra the Animation (Dezaki only did the screenplays and storyboards for this 2010 adaptation of the classic manga and it isn't available on DVD, but CrunchyRoll simulcasted this show back when it was airing. Since then, Sentai Filmworks released this series, & the two OVAs that came before it, on DVD & BD.)
Dear Brother (Dezaki directed this TV anime based on Riyoko Ikeda's manga & Anime Sols successfully crowdfunded DVD sets for the entire show)
Dororo (Dezaki directed episodes 1, 6, & 11 of the only anime adaptation of Osamu Tezuka's manga of the same name, which is also the last TV anime to be fully produced on B&W. Discotek Media released a complete series boxset in April 2016)
The Golgo 13 Movies (Urban Vision released both the 1983 movie "The Professional" and the 1998 movie "Queen Bee" on DVD, and Discotek released a remastered version of "The Professional" on DVD & BD)
Hakugei: The Legend of Moby Dick (The 26-episode re-imagining of Moby Dick was released on DVD by ADV Films)
Karate Baka Ichidai (Dezaki storyboarded episodes 36, 40, & 44 of this TV anime under the Makura Saki pen name that is currently streaming at Hulu, under the name Karate Master, & was released on DVD by Discotek)
Lupin the 3rd Part 1 (Dezaki storyboarded episodes 3, 7, 13, & 17 of the first TV series based on Monkey Punch's manga of the same name. Discotek released it twice on DVD & it is currently streaming at CrunchyRoll)
Lupin the 3rd: Bye Bye, Lady Liberty (Dezaki directed the first Lupin TV special, & Discotek put it out on DVD, complete with the English dub produced by Manga UK)
Lupin the 3rd: From Siberia with Love (Dezaki also directed this TV special, which Discotek put out on DVD)
Lupin the 3rd: Napoleon's Dictionary (Dezaki also directed this TV special, as well as animation supervision, which Discotek put out on DVD)
Lupin the 3rd: The Hemingway Papers (Dezaki also directed this TV special, which Discotek put out on DVD)
Lupin the 3rd: The Pursuit of Harimao's Treasure (The 1995 Lupin special was released on DVD by FUNimation)
Nobody's Boy - Remi (This 51-episode adaptation of Hector Malot's Sans Famille/Nobody's Boy was given a print-on-demand DVD release by imaginAsian TV and is now impossible to purchase)
One-Pound Gospel (One of the only two anime directed by Dezaki under his Makura Saki pen-name, this 1988 OVA adapation of Rumiko Takahashi's comedic boxing drama was released on VHS by Viz back in the 90s)
The Rose of Versailles (Dezaki directed the second half of this TV anime classic based on Riyoko Ikeda's shojo manga of the same name, following the death of Tadao Nagahama, & Right Stuf released it on DVD through its Nozomi label)
Sohryuden  -  Legend of the Dragon Kings (This 12-episode OVA from 1991 based on Yoshiki Tanaka's novel series was released on DVD by Central Park Media; Dezaki executive produced this title)
Space Adventure Cobra - The Movie (Urban Vision released this movie on VHS back in the 90s but never gave it a DVD release. Madman Entertainment did give it a DVD release in Australia & New Zealand in 2007, though, & Discotek has re-released it in North America on both DVD & BD, though with only the Streamline-produced dub; Manga UK's dub uses licensed music that makes it too expensive to import)
Space Adventure Cobra (Right Stuf released the TV anime based on Buichi Terasawa's manga on DVD through its Nozomi label)
Sword for Truth (Generally considered to be Dezaki's worst title, but Manga Entertainment did give this movie a DVD release back in 2000)

From what I can tell, that's everything that Dezaki worked on that's been given either a VHS or DVD release over here, as well as a whatever that can still be watched on CrunchyRoll. We should be thankful that we have gotten a good amount of his works over here, but at the same time we have never gotten the titles that are generally considered his masterpieces: Aim for the Ace!/Ace wo Nerae! & Ashita no Joe 1 (TV)...  Maybe one day we'll actually get those shows, but for now I guess we'll have to make due with what we have.

Rest in Peace, Dezaki-san.

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