Veteran animator, director, and character designer Masami Suda died at age 77. According to Nikkan Sports, the animator had reportedly passed away on August 1, 2021. Fellow animator Hisashi Kagawa, among many other figures in the anime industry, offered their condolences via social media. [Thanks, Nikkan!]
Born in 1943, Suda was one of many animators that worked in the industry during anime’s rising popularity in 1960s Japan. His first project was working on the original Speed Racer at Tatsunoko Productions in 1967. Later, he would go on to work on other prominent children’s shows such as Gatchaman and The Genie Family, mixing between freelance and working at Toei.
Eventually, Suda would go on to work as a character designer and director on Fist of the North Star. A few years later, he also worked on other notable series such as SLAM DUNK, the Speed Racer remake, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and the Viewtiful Joe anime as animation director. Up until 2014, Suda worked as a character designer in the Yokai Watch anime.
Many prominent animators who previously worked under Suda came out to offer condolences after his death. In addition to Kagawa, Kenji Yokoyama stated that “Suda was someone [he] looked up to and aspired to be.” Rumiko Tezuka, the Tezuka Production representative director and daughter of prominent manga artist Osamu Tezuka, also stated that she grew up watching Suda’s work, and she “respects and offers condolences to the life that created such multi-generational characters and art.”