Dr. Osamu Tezuka (1926-1989) is considered by most to be the father of modern anime and manga. He first developed the distinct visual style prevalent among most anime and manga today. He was the person in Japan, who had the philosophy that animation, and comics were not just crap for kids, but should be enjoyed by everybody.

He is most known in the United States for Astro Boy (a popular series in Japan that ran for 10 years) and Kimba the White Lion (which disney essentially remade into The Lion King). He is also known for Adolf(Manga) and Black Jack(Both an anime and a manga).

Late in his life he worked on several experimental shorts, including Jumping, Broken Down Film, and finally Legend of the Forest, his homage to american animation, in particular Fantasia. Odd that the father of anime, ends by creating a film that looks like it could have been made in America (except for the fact, that the story is darker, and the direction is much more dynamic, than most if not all American animation.)

He died of a gall stone infection at the (really young for Japanese) age of 63 .

Some more interesting facts and tidbits:

  • Tezuka studied medicine, but by the time he graduated, he had already become a successful professional manga writer, so he never actually worked as a doctor.
  • He created the first manga for girls, Ribon no Kishi, and most of the shoujo manga conventions with it, like the sparkling eyes and the gender uncertainty theme.
  • All in all, he created over 150,000 pages of manga and over 60 animated movies and series.
  • He loved insects and permanently added the kanji for "bug" to his first name (this was relatively unproblematic because it didn't change the pronounciation)!
  • He invented the manga assistant system and the animation bank, two things that, while not necessarily very "artistic", made possible a lot of things in manga and anime that had previously been too expensive to implement.
  • Due to his enormous influence and the great amount of work he did, he is commonly called "the god of manga" in Japan.

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