On October 11th, 2009, the voice of Sailor Jupiter in the German dub of Sailor Moon, passed away suddenly. She was only 40 years old. She had played many roles in German dubs of anime, including Ash Ketchum from Pokemon, Naga the Serpent from Slayers, Dr. Atsuki Chiba/Paprika from Paprika, and many others. She was also the daughter of legendary German voice actor Hartmut Neugebauer. Throughout her life, she had lived in New York, Munich, Paris, and London, and learned how to act. She began her acting career when she was only 5 years old, as a voice actor for many children’s cartoons in Germany. Later, she was frequently used as the German dubbing voice of Neve Campbell. In 2003, she won the German Dubbing Prize for her outstanding work dubbing the voice of Eileen Walsh in The Magdalene Sisters. Her funeral was held on October 19th, and her invitation read “An angel has come home, how beautiful you were with us, thank you for your love”. She is survived by her father Hartmut, her mother Ananda, and her sister Miryam who is also an actress. She is buried in Munich’s North Cemetery. Our staff sends out our deepest condolences and sympathies to the Neugebauer family on this tragedy. Fans can watch her first episode as Sailor Jupiter on Youtube (Part 1, Part 2).
Yoshito Usui, creator of Crayon Shin-Chan, passed away tragically on September 11th, 2009. That morning, he left his home for a hike in Gunma Prefecture, and told his family that he would be back by evening. When he did not return, and was not answering his cell phone, his wife called the police the next morning. On September 19th, after an extensive search, a male body was discovered at the bottom of the Tomiowa cliff at Mount Arafune, and was later identified as that of Usui’s. While his body was undergoing a 5-hour autopsy, his wife and one of his daughters were at the police station praying that this was all some horrible mistake and that this was not him. It is believed he accidentally fell off the cliff. His broken camera was discovered and the last shot recovered from the card inside was a shot that peered down to where his body was found. Investigators believe he fell at the moment he took that shot. This AMV which was posted shortly after his death features a cameo of Usui at the end.
His greatest and most well-known work was Crayon Shin-Chan , which first began as a comic in 1990, and was turned into an anime in 1992. Both have continued to run through today, and have also been an international success. The protagonist, Shinnosuke “Shin” Nohara, is a foul-mouthed and awkward thinking five-year-old that makes Bart Simpson look like Ned Flanders! Almost always controversial, but still funny to the sordid side in us all, Shin-chan is not like your conventional kindergartner. His foul language and inappropriate behaviour always pushed the envelope, no matter which country that the show was broadcast in. The show often parodied anything and everything, including Sailor Moon. In 1994, Sailor Moon featured a small Crayon Shin-Chan sighting in the form of a toy in episode #104, and throughout Crayon Shin-Chan’s existence, many of the stars of Sailor Moon appeared on the show, either as parodies of their characters or other characters entirely.
While Shin-Chan had gained notoriety for being on the ban list of many parent-teacher associations in Japan, he had recently been used as an icon in educational materials. Since he was a child full of happiness and energy, he had become a sort of mascot for Japan’s Respect for the Aged celebrations. This year, Usui’s death had dampened the celebrations. Two strips that Usui had submitted have yet to be printed, and new episodes of the show are set to begin on October 16th. The companies involved are still producing the next film, set to open in Japan in the spring of 2010. All companies involved with Shin-Chan have stated that they wish to work with his estate to decide the fate of the well-loved property.
Yoshito Usui is survived by his wife, and two daughters. He will be dearly missed. We send out our deepest condolences and sympathies to Usui’s family. As of this writing there is no word of any public memorial, however the family will be holding a private funeral.
Yoshinori Kanada’s (an animator involved with Sailor Moon SuperS) official memorial took place last Sunday at Suginami Kaikan Hall. ANIDO has posted photos of the event, along with links to boards for fans to post their condolences to his family, as well as bank account information for fans who want to donate to help pay for memorial expenses.
Earlier in statements to the press, the legendary Hayao Miyazaki referred to him as the Head Boss, even though he himself was Kanada’s boss. They worked together on 6 films, from Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind in 1984, to Princess Mononoke in 1997. He continued to say that usually 2 or more animators take charge of a scene that becomes animated, and that it was typical that tempers would flare up over how many scenes of movement were required, poses, picture issues etc. However, at an early age Kanada had such talent that whenever he was in charge of something, no one ever argued with him! He bought so many new and fresh ideas to anime, especially in series like Space Battleship Yamamoto or Galaxy Railroad 999. Kanada also never treated his work as easy, and he never changed his style, but thankfully, his style was good and always had a grasp on the audience. He had a knack for lightening up the office, and everyone would be laughing for a long time before they were even aware they were working late! After Kanada stopped working for Studio Ghibli, the two exchanged occasional messages, but Miyazaki never knew his private life. He was very confused when he learned of Kanada’s death. He later said that Kanada was legendary, and one of his favorite people.
A whopping 1100 important figures in anime, as well as fans, attended his memorial service. Images, video, and storyboards of his past work were shown. Takashi Namaki, one of Kanada’s oldest friends and Chair of ANIDO, greeted everyone at the beginning of the service. They had known each other for 37 years, and he was saddened that they would not be growing old together, with sorrow in his manner. Anime critic Ryusuke Hikawa called Kanada his friend, and an expert in animation and animation techniques. He continued and said that he was the star of all the animators, and that he had a collection of talent in this industry. Hideaki Anno, creator of Neon Genesis Evangelion and the director of Nausicaa, also spoke at the service and said it was too early for Kanada. He wanted to see more newer animation from Kanada, and how he very much adored his work as he looked at his portrait. During the service, many funny stories were shared, and the audience would burst into laughter amongst all the sorrow. Legendary director Rintaro also spoke, and said that he was bitterly disappointed he could not help Kanada-kun more and he should have done more work with him. His wife Makiko, shared a very private video of Kanada singing a song, that had the whole audience laughing and shaking! Makiko finished by saying that he liked to make people laugh, and that she appreciated to hear everyone laughing to ease her grief. She wanted to treat this service as more of a reunion than a send off. The writer of this article ended with a fitting comment: “the hall was wrapped in such a warm atmosphere.” A happy ending to a sad and terrible occasion. We only hope that wherever Kanada-kun is now, that he could feel the warmth of his fans around the world.
Anido has posted some very specific guidelines for Yoshinori Kanada’s upcoming memorial on August 30th. We thought we’d share since we found it interesting and many of you might like to read about them! Ticket applications sold out within 12 minutes of them going online, and many fans have expressed interest to wait outside while the memorial is taking place, or waiting in a nearby shopping mall. This is being discouraged as it is not a safe idea for those places to be overcrowded either. There is a stress dress code to be adhered too as well – they have requested dark clothing/funeral attire. Fans will be refused entry if you are wearing colored clothing (especially hawaiian clothing) and they are deeming it disrespectful to cosplay at this service. Fans can’t dress like an animator either. No shorts or T-shirts either. Recording and photography is prohibited. No children under the age of 5 will be admitted. There is also no parking available so everyone is told to use alternative arrangements, including public transportation. Kanada’s family will also be there, and that is why all of these directives for funeral attire are in place. This will not be televised but there will be portions shown in the newsmedia. There will be speeches and screenings of his most important work. Fans who were successful enough to get a ticket should receive it in the mail by the 24th. Many prominent animators and studios are sponsoring this event. We hope that we are able to access some of the reports of this event in Japan and bring you more details – we are sure that he has impacted many fans in North America in the same way he had an impact on his fans in Japan!
We also learned that his private funeral and wake were held on the 25th and 26th of July, and he was survived by his wife, Makiko. Once again, our staff sends our deepest sympathies to Makiko, his family, his friends, and colleagues.
Moon Chase has just learned a few more details regarding a public memorial for Yoshinori Kanada. It will take place on August 30th at Suginami Kaikan Hall. Suginami Kaikan Hall is in part home to an “Animation Museum” since many animation studios have their headquarters in Suginami Ward. It has become known as the “Heartland of Anime”. We think this is a wonderful place to honor such a legendary animator! It is expected that many famous animators will attend, and New Akiba Online reports Hayao Miyazaki will be there as well. Anido has also posted a guest list which includes not only Hayao, but another legendary director at Studio Ghibli, Isao Takahata. Hiroshi Takahashi, president of Toei Animation, anime producer Masao Maruyama, Tezuka Productions President Takayuki Matsutani, and Square Enix President Yochi Wada are also listed to attend. Legendary directors Rintaro and Hideaki Anno will also be there, as well many other animators which worked on Sailor Moon. These are Kazuhiro Ochi (a key animator on Sailor Moon S and SuperS movies), Hideyuki Motohashi (Animation Director of Sailor Moon R and S TV seasons), Keisuke Watanabe* (Key Animator Sailor Moon R TV), and Mamoru Kurosawa (Key Animator on the Sailor Moon R movie, and an Animation Director on Sailor Moon S TV). Some animators which also worked on Yu Yu Hakusho will be attending. As of this writing we cannot say for sure whether Naoko Takeuchi and/or Yoshihiro Togashi will attend. Doors will open at 6:30 PM and the service will run from 7 until 9. Fans are allowed to attend (and admission is free), however each fan which is lucky enough to get a ticket will only be given a maximum of two, as the venue capacity is only 1200. A website will be posted here with details. Children under 5 are not allowed. Events will include memorial addresses from a few of the special guests, and a presentation of flowers. There will be no collection of any kind for fans to send their condolences.
We have learned in the last few days, Kanada was a much bigger influence on anime than we ever knew. Yoshinori, we are glad to have had you work on Sailor Moon, even if it was only for one season, and your contributions to the anime and video game industry will last forever. We send our deepest condolences and sympathies to your family, friends, and colleagues across the anime and video game industry. You will truly be missed.
*Keisuke is a Key Animator on current hit Gurren Lagann, and recently spoke of how Kanada has influenced his animation, calling himself a heir of the “Kanada System”.