News broke last week that famed manga artist and Lupin III creator, Kazuhiko Katou, died due to complications from pneumonia at the age of 81.
Born in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, Kazuhiko became interested in drawing comic strips as a hobby in the tail end of his primary school education. However, his career wouldn't definitively take off until he debuted his manga Playboy School in 1965. Spanning from 1967-2019, the bulk of his career was commited to the creation of Lupin III stories via serilized manga, animated tv shows and movies, OVAs, TV specials, games, music CDs, live-action film adaptations etc. In my opinion, Lupin III's popularity was due to its successful depiction of amusing and unique characters paired with extraordinary situations, ultimately based on simple story premisis. Much like Marvel's new found success with The Guardians of the Galaxy, Lupin III's dynamic cast of misfit characters made for interesting story devlopment in a variety of high-tension heist situations. I think this concept made the manga easy to gravitate toward and captivate audience attention throughout the years as the stories became increasingly more sophisticated. I should also note that Lupin III produced some of the most intricate animated sequences throughout the history of the industry, more than likely inspiring many of today's favorites. Take a look at my selection below. You can gain a deeper understanding of the promising points from Lupin III.
Though you may not be aware of the story from these sequences, can you recognize some of the animation style? Surprisingly, the great Hayao Miyazaki got his film debut through Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, from which a few clips were selected. Though, I'm sure there are countless others who have likely been inspired peripherally through Katou's work, it wasn't until April 2005, he had become the professor of Manga Animation for the Faculty of Media and Arts at Otemae University. Though, Katou's death is a painful loss to the animation industry as a whole, his legacy and profound influence will most definitely be carried into the future by way of inspiring other animated productions; perhaps inspiring yet another Miyazaki or Katou with their own creative visions.
Are you a Lupin III fan? Whats your favorite animated film? Is their an artist you think should be more recognized for their work? Leave your thoughts down in the comments below. As always, please like and share this post~
Until next time,