At the 2021 Tokyo Anime Award Festival on Monday, Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki announced that Yasuo Otsuka had passed away that day at the age of 89. Yasuo Otsuka was an acclaimed animator who worked as a director on popular anime titles such as Lupin III, Future Boy Conan, and Horus – Prince of the Sun.
Otsuka was born on July 11, 1931, in Japan’s Shimane prefecture. He started his career at Toei Dōga (now known as Toei Animation) in 1956, where he worked on classic titles such as Tale of the White Serpent, Magic Boy, and The Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon.
He then served as an animation director alongside Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata on the critically-acclaimed classic anime film Horus – Prince of the Sun. After completing his next film, The Wonderful World of Puss’ n Boots, Otsuka left Toei to join A Production (now known as Shinei Animation), and eventually to Telecom Animation Film. He also worked with a young Hayao Miyazaki as the animation director for Future Boy Conan and as a character designer on Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro.
He also wrote several books about the anime industry in his career. One such book, titled “Sakuga Asemamire,” is considered “a prime resource for the history of 1960s and 1970s anime.” In 2003, he became an advisor to Telecom Animation Film. He also became an instructor at Tokyo’s Yoyogi Animation Academy, and in 2019, he received an Association’s Special Award for lifetime achievement at the 42nd annual Japan Academy Prizes.