The Twitter account of manga artist Leiji Matsumoto, who created such science fiction titles as Galaxy Express 999 and Space Pirate Captain Harlock, has announced his passing at the age of 85.
The statement, penned by Leijisha president Makiko Matsumoto, wrote that Matsumoto “set off for the Sea of Stars” on February 13 in a hospital in Tokyo. A private memorial service with only close relatives in attendance was held.
The statement noted how Matsumoto often said, “At the distant place where the wheel of time meets, we’ll meet again.” It added, “We, too, believe those words and look forward to that day.”
A send-off event that will accept flowers and funeral offerings is planned to be held in the future.
Matsumoto, whose real name was Akira, was born on January 25, 1938 in Fukuoka’s Kurume city. He started drawing at six and started creating manga after encountering Tezuka Osamu‘s New Treasure Island and Gessekai Shinshi at the age of nine. At 16, Matsumoto submitted Mitsubachi no Bouken to Manga Shonen, with the title becoming his serialization debut.
Outside of Space Pirate Captain Harlock and Galaxy Express 999, Matsumoto’s well-known works include Otoko Oidon, Gun Frontier, Queen Emeraldas, and Senjou Manga. Many of these have inspired anime, such as a TV series and movie for Space Pirate Captain Harlock and Galaxy Express 999, OVA for Queen Emeraldas and Senjou Manga (with the latter’s anime being titled The Cockpit), and a TV series for Gun Frontier. The initial Space Pirate Captain Harlock and Galaxy Express 999 anime were followed up by additional titles.
Matsumoto also directed some of the entries in the Space Battleship Yamato series, including the very first anime series from 1974 (for which he was setting designer as well) and its sequel seasons. He co-directed two of the Space Battleship Yamato anime movies and worked on the background art and setting designs for the first film.
Matsumoto was married to fellow manga artist Maki Miyako.