Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hisayuki Toriumi, Chief Director for first Gatchaman series, passes away

Hisayuki Toriumi, the Chief Director/Supervisor of the first Gatchaman series, passed away of heart failure on January 23, 2009. He was 67 years old.

Much of the pivotal work in Gatchaman belonged to Toriumi. He directed 32 episodes of the first series—#1 ("Gatchaman vs. Turtle King"), #39~40 ( the Jigokiller two-parter), #53 ("Farewell Red Impulse"), #78 (Joe's confession aboard the Marine Satan), #81 ("Fight on Gallactor Island"), #102 (Berg Katse's unmasking), the final episode, and the 1978 Gatchaman Feature Film. He also acted as a writer, co-writing the following episodes with Satoshi Suyama: #22 ("Firebird vs. Fire-Eating Dragon"), #53 ("Farewell Red Impulse"), #71 ("The Immortal Gov. X"y), and #92 ("The End of Crescent Base")) and five episodes on his own (#52 ("Secret of Red Impulse"), 68 (Micro Saturn), #88 ("Iron Snake #828"), #102 (The unmasking of Berg Katse), and #105 (The series finale). In my own opinion, these were some of the most suspenseful and involving episodes in the entire series.

Mr. Toriumi wrote a novel version of the Gatchaman feature film that added some details to the events in the movie (and unlike the movie, it also involved what happened in #81, "Duel on Gallactor Island"). He later became an accomplished novelist with over two dozen titles written.

He remained active in the animation industry until 1998, and acted as a mentor to director Mamoru Oshii. Funeral services will be held Monday, January 26 in Hachioji. He is survived by his wife, Hiroko.

Thank you, Oshii-sensei, for the inspiration.

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