Kazuhiko Kato, or famously known under his pen name Monkey Punch, the creator of the classic manga and anime “Lupin III,” has passed away at the age of 81.
Kato succumbed to pneumonia on April 11. His family did not publicly announce his passing until recently to give them time to mourn in private, according to SoraNews24.
While he is a very popular and iconic manga artist, Kato only had one big hit, and that was the famous manga series released in 1967 – and later adapted into anime and a few movies – “Lupin III.” Its commercial success saw the manga spawning at least six animated series, eight films, two live-action feature films, two musicals, and several video game adaptations, The Washington Post reported.
Hayao Miyazaki, the legendary director of the many Studio Ghibli movies, has also worked with Kato in the past. Specifically on “The Castle of Cagliostro” (1979) where he made his feature directorial debut.
“Lupin III” was originally created for adults and mature audiences, but had to go through a shift to a more family-friendly tone for its film and television series adaptations, The Washington Post noted.
Featured image screenshot via YouTube / シネマトゥデイ