The anime & manga world has recieved a huge shock after hearing that mega-influential passed away on February 13 due to acute heart failure at a hospital in Tokyo.
Born Akira Matsumoto in 1938, he was inspired by H.G Wells to get into sci-fi and Osamu Tezuka to become a mangaka. His first few manga were published under his real name, but he took up the pen name of Leiji when he wrote an ecchi sci-fi joint called Sexaroid in 1968. A few years after that he was invited to take over writing & directing duties for the anime & manga Space Battleship Yamato, AKA Star Blazers. It's a common misconception that he created the series; he came in a few years after its creation but he did elevate it to new heights, figuratively and literally. Since then, it's had a number of sequels, spin-offs and adaptations.
Yamato introduced elements that would recur throughout Matsumoto's later works, such as epic space settings, slender & beautiful women, deep philosophical themes and well thought-out techology. Not just that, but a number even share a universe, including not just Yamato but Space Pirate Captain Harlock and Galaxy Express 999, among others. The "Leijiverse" as it's known, was a thing long before the expanded universes we have today.
Non-weebs will know Matsumoto as the guy behind Interstella 5555, a collaboration between him and French musicians Daft Punk as a companion piece to their album Discovery. The anime movie is comprised of a series of brilliant music videos featuring his signature slender waifus and detailed technology, and contains some of Daft Punk's biggest hits: One More Time and Harder, Better, Faster Stronger.
Matsumoto was an inspiration to many when it comes to anime & manga, including Trigun creator Yasuhiro Nightow who is one of many fans who tweeted a heartfelt tribute. He's survived by his wife and fellow mangaka Miyako Maki, who said: "I believe that he lived a happy life, allowing his thoughts to run free through the stories he drew as a manga creator. Matsumoto always used to say: "You can meet again at a place that connects to the distant ring of time." I believe in those words and look forward to that day."
It's always sad to see a hugely influential artist go, but seeing people around the world come together to reminisce over and celebrate their life's work is a reminder that we all have the potential to leave behind a legacy that motivates others to create art of their own.
What are your experiences with Matsumoto's work? Leave your answers and tributes in the comments as always!