One of the greatest names in the history of anime and manga is Matsumoto Leiji, creator of classic space operas like Space Battleship Yamato, Galaxy Express 999 and Captain Harlock. Matsumoto Leiji was born in 1938, the son of a military test pilot who later trained tokkou butai (“special attack squadron”) pilots, more commonly known as kamikaze to you and me, and this likely colored Leiji’s later works. Leiji was a struggling creator of girls’ manga when his wife, also a shoujo manga-ka, found commercial success when she was asked by the Takara toy company to design their new fashion doll Licca-chan; this enabled her husband to pursue his true love, creating science fiction stories. I’m very much in debt to Mr. Matsumoto, whose works introduced me not only to animated stories that had proper beginnings and endings with characters who fell in love and died in dramatic ways, but to the great romance that was possible through the limitless medium of animation. Mr. Matsumoto is in France now, celebrating an amazing 60 years as a creator of manga and anime while surrounded by his many adoring fans.
The works of Matsumoto Leiji have had a big effect on my life.