Anime trailblazer Eiichi Yamamoto, ‘Belladonna of Sadness’ and ‘Astro Boy’ director, passed away at 80

Eiichi Yamamoto passed away

On Sept. 7, Eiichi Yamamoto, the trailblazing Japanese director behind groundbreaking anime and film, passed away of a heart failure at the age of 80.

His legacy: Born in 1940 in Kyoto, Yamamoto got a headstart into the world of animation after he graduated high school. He soon met the “Father of Anime” Osamu Tezuka in 1960 and they built Mushi Productions, according to the Anime News Network.

  • Yamamoto worked as an animator and episode director for “Astro Boy” (1963) and as a director for “Kimba the White Lion” (1965) alongside the late Tezuka, who created and also helped animate those series.
  • Other notable works from Yamamoto include the erotic animated films, “A Thousand and One Nights” (1969), “Cleopatra” (1970) and the dark psychedelic cult-classic “Belladonna of Sadness” (1973).
  • Together with Tezuka, the duo was thought to have laid the foundation for modern anime with their studio’s particular style of limited animation.
  • Beyond his animated works, Yamamoto also leaves behind his 1989 semi-fictionalized memoir and exposé, “The Rise and Fall of Mushi Pro: The Youth of Ani Meita,” where he wrote of scandals, his criticisms of the studio with Tezuka and the extremely draining work culture around “Anime Syndrome,” according to Animation Magazine.
  • On Sept. 25, Yamamoto’s death was confirmed at a Tokyo screening of the restored “Belladonna of Sadness,” where fellow anime filmmakers and contributors Furukawa Masashi, Sugii Gisaburo and Maruyama Masao attended and paid their respects.

  • Jason DeMarco, a senior vice president of anime at Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios, also penned a tribute to the late creator, alongside other fans.

Featured Image via Movieclips Indie (left), nozomient (right)

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