Animator Monty Oum (b.1981) died on February 1 from an allergic reaction. Oum created the series RWBY and also worked in the gaming industry for Midway Games and Namco Bandai Games, often as a combat designer. He began working for Rooster Teeth in 2010. Prior to working in the gaming industry, Oum created on-line videos using character models he was able to extract from various games. He won a Steamy Award and an International Academy of Web Television Award for RWBY.
Actor Hidetoshi Nakamura (b.1954) died on December 24. Nakamura did voice work for several anime, including Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Cowboy Bebop, and Naruto Shippuden: the Movie as well as for video games. He also dubbed American films into Japanese, including The Muppets, Source Code, Bolt, and The Batman.
Japanese voice actor Ichirō Nagai (b.1931) died on January 27. Nagai provided voices for numerous television shows, video games, and films, including Kinnikuman: Showdown! The 7 Justice Supermen vs. The Space Samurais, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Space Battleship Yamato, and Kingdom Hearts.
Manga author Jun Sadogawa (b. as Mutsumi Kawahito, 1979) committed suicide on August 13. His debut work, Muteki Kanban Musume, was published from 2002-2006. He followed that up with a sequel, Muteki Kanban Musume N. In 2012, he finished the thirteen volume Hanzasky and had begun to publish Amane Atatameru at the time of his death.
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.