Osamu Tezuka

Tezuka OsamuOsamu Tezuka gained popularity as a manga writer and illustrator up through the 1950s. He is widely credited as the most influential animator in Japan and, indeed, his career parallels the rise of the Japanese animation industry. Inspired by his great love for cartoon animation, Disney in particular (it's said he saw Walt Disney's Bambi 80 times), he set up Mushi Studios, his own production company, (1961-1973) which became a springboard for a number of influential animators who were to follow, including Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira).

Unlike Disney which some people say has replaced its pioneering vision with a corporate mentality, Tezuka's vision remained fresh.

This by no means a comprehensive list of his work:

TV series

  • Amazing ThreeAmazing Three
    (1965-66 by Mushi Productions, aka W3 or Wonder 3.
    52 episodes)
  • Astro Boy (1963, aka Tetsuwan Atom)
  • Kimba the White Lion (1965-66, aka Jungulu Taitei)
  • Princess Knight
    (1967-1968 by Mushi Productions, aka Ribbon No Kishi.
    Based on the Manga publication of 1953-56. 52 episodes)

Short films

  • Memory (1964)
  • Mermaid (1964)
  • Pictures at an Exhibition (1966)
  • Jumping(10 mins) (1984)
  • Broken Down Film (1985)
  • Self Portrait (1988)
  • UnicoThe Unico trilogy of films (child-oriented films)
    • Unico (1981)
    • Unico: To The Magic Island (1983)
    • Unico: Cloud And White Feather (1989)
  • The series of Phoenix films
    • Dawn 1978
    • Space Firebird 2772 (1981, aka Phoenix 2772 ?)
    • Karma (1986)
    • Yamata (1986)
    • Space 1986 (1986)
  • Legend of the Forest (30 mins) (1987): set to Tchaikovsky's fourth, stylistically the film evolves from black-and-white, Winsor McKay-esque, to a lush visual homage of Disney's material. Tezuka shows the emotional strain on woodland creatures who have to deal with their forest being logged.
  • Adachi-Ga-Hara (1991): a young space jock on a mission from his president tracks down an old hag on a desolate planet, with orders to kill her.
  • Akuemon (1993): the villainous henchman of an evil, fox-collecting lord is shown to have a human side when his wife is thought murdered and he discovers her doppleganger is actually a fox.
Tezuka died in early 1989.

Other places to go

Thanks to David Wybenga for the Unico and Amazing Three pictures.