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.
At the “Belladonna of Sadness” screening, guests Furukawa Masashi, Sugii Gisaburo, and Maruyama Masao paid their respects to legendary director Yamamoto Eiichi, who, it was revealed, passed away just weeks ago on the 7th of this month. pic.twitter.com/zFIyvj5LMD
— Renato Rivera Rusca （レナト・リベラ・ルスカ） (@RENATOLOGY) September 25, 2021
- 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.
RIP Eiichi Yamamoto. Here’s what I wrote about his defining work, Belladonna of Sadness, placing it at 18 on Paste’s list of the 100 greatest anime films of all time: pic.twitter.com/NNNfPxrBki
— SPIRAL CURSE DEMARCO (@Clarknova1) September 26, 2021
R.I.P. Eiichi Yamamoto (1933-2021), director of BELLADONNA OF SADNESS, CLEOPATRA, and A THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS. pic.twitter.com/Vwrk64Egs6
— Japan Society Film (@js_film_nyc) September 26, 2021
Belladonna of Sadness (Eiichi Yamamoto, 1973).
We lost a giant. pic.twitter.com/kdwAl582zR
— Matteo Pozzani (@matteop91) September 26, 2021
Rest in peace, Eiichi Yamamoto, who worked closely on the original Space Battleship Yamato, directing, writing scripts, and designing the iconic Japanese logo!
His strongest individualist mark on the world of anime is likely Belladonna of Sadness. He also directed Astro Boy! pic.twitter.com/iS33Mps6Ds
— Leijiverse (@LeijiverseUSA) September 26, 2021
Rest in peace, Eiichi Yamamoto. Hell of a director, with some revolutionary and historic animation under his belt. Among them the very first anime TV series. pic.twitter.com/de6gtmtQdJ
— Doctor Gamma (@Doctor_Gamma) September 26, 2021