Anime fan and publisher Toren Smith (b.1960) died on March 5. Smith organized the first major convention anime room at BayCon in California in 1986 and translated The Legend of Kamui, one of the first manga ever translated into English, in 1988. In 1991, he co-founded AnimeCon. In 1986, he founded Studio Proteus, which proceeded to translate manga into English.
Japanese voice actor Takeshi Aono (b.1936) died on April 9. Aono provided voice work for Space Battleship Yamato, Dragon Ball, Tekken 5 and numerous other anime. In addition to voicing anime roles, Aono also worked dubbing dialogue for English language films imported into Japan, including Predator, the Harry Potter series, and Space Jam.
Japanese anime director Noboru Ishiguro (b.1938) died on March 20 from a lung infection. Ishiguro directed Space Battleship Yamato, The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, The Super Dimension Century Orguss, and Legend of the Galactic Heroes, among others.
Japanese animator Osamu Dezaki (b.1943) died on April 17. Dezaki was the director of Space Adventure Cobra, The Mighty Orbots, and Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light. Dezaki was known for his signature “Postcard Memory,” in which the animation would freeze and be replaced by a stylized illustration of the same image. Dezaki also worked under the pseudonym “Makura Saki.”
Japanese voice actor Takeshi Watabe (b.1936) died on December 13 of pneumonia. Watabe provided voice work for several anime series, including Doraemon, Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, and Legend of the Galactic Heroes. He also wrote a book on voice acting.
Tokyo has banned the sale of manga that depicts rape, incest, and other sexual crimes to anyone under the age of 18. Anyone caught violating this rule faces a fine of ¥300,000 ($3,570). A group of publishers has threatened to boycott the Tokyo International Anime Fair in March 2011 over what they see as an attempt at censorhip.
Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki (b. Hirofumi Nishizaki, 1934) died on November 7 after falling overboard off the coast of Chichijima Island. Nishizaki wrote and produced the anime series Space Cruiser Yamato, Star Blazers, and Space Battleship Yamato among others. He was wearing a wetsuit and was believed to be planning on going for a swim at the time of his accident.
Scriptwriter Takeshi Shudō (b.1949) died on October 29 from a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Shudō worked for Studio Ghibli before taking a job at the Pokémon Company, where he became the chief writer for Pokémon and worked on the company’s first three films.
Animator Satoshi Kon (b. 1963) died on August 24. Kon began drawing manga for Young magazine and eventually became an animator, working on films including Rojin Z and Memories. In 1998, he directed Perfect Blue. He was currently working on The Dream Machine.
Actor Peter Fernandez (b. 1927) died on July 15. Fernandez is best known for his involvement with the 1967 anime series Speed Racer, providing the voicework for both Speed Racer and Racer X and writing scripts. Other shows of genre interest he worked on include Captain Video and His Video Rangers, Gigantor, and Space Cruiser Yamato and the films Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster and Mothra. He had a bit role in the live-action Speed Racer film.