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Slam Dunk’s Animation Director, Masami Suda, Passes Away Due to Cancer

A veritable legend, Masami Suda has contributed as an animator, animation director, and character designer in various classic anime series for more than half a decade.


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His iconic and rustic animation style will always remain in my heart as series like Slam Dunk, Fist of the North Star, and others owe a part of their fame to him.

Masami Suda passed away on August 1, 2021. The news was kept under the wraps as his family was given time to mourn and hold a private funeral. 

The animator succumbed to cancer after a long battle against it.

Masami Suda, the founder of JAniCA, passed away on August 1, 2021. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to you for your kindness during your lifetime. 

Also, due to the Corona disaster, the farewell ceremony was already held only by relatives. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the obituaries of our great predecessors.

English Translation, Twitter Translate

Suda first started working with Tatsunoko Productions and is often referred to as a member of the “three wings of Tatsunoko.” 

It was at Tatsunoko that Suda had the opportunity to refine his artstyle and techniques while he worked on series like Mach Go Go Go, Gatchaman, Tekkaman, and others.

Post this, he worked for Toei Animation and dedicated most of his work life there. His career picked up its pace, especially after he got involved with the Hokuto no Ken saga. 

Twitter was flooded with tributes soon after his death was officially announced.

It seems like no one is going to forget about the legendary animator anytime soon. With the kind of characters and animations he has given us, he has won a place in our hearts forever.

Masami Suda’s work as a character designer in Hokuto no Ken was well appraised as he adapted the mangaka’s original designs for a deeper impression. Instead of cleaning up the extra lines, he superimposed the layers of shadows to give the anime density. 

It is decisions like these that made Masami Suda a treasure to the anime industry. His death is a huge loss to not only studios but also for vintage anime fans. 

Aside from his creative works, he is also one of the founders of the Japanese Animation Creators Association (JAniCA), which serves as a labor union for anime industry workers. After a creative and fulfilling life, I hope he rests in peace. 

Source: JAniCA Twitter

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Aaheli Pradhan

Aaheli Pradhan

A grandma by heart who loves to knit, sketch, and swing in parks. Binge-reads a massive amount of manga from psychological to shounen-ai. Either awkward or salty, there's no in-between.

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