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Who was Leiji Matsumoto, and What was his contribution to the anime universe?

"Under my Flag, I live in Freedom..."- Captain Harlock

Leiji Matsumoto - Lucca Comics & Games 2018
Leiji Matsumoto - Lucca Comics & Games 2018 || Niccolò Caranti, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hello, Everyone. It's me, Liz!

This post differs from the usual.

I want to pay my respects to the author Leiji Matsumoto, who passed away on February 13 at age 85.

Leiji Matsumoto was born in 1938 in Fukuoka. He took an interest in sci-fi novels and mangas from an early age.

He started drawing before he was 10 years old and created his first manga, Honeybee's Adventure, while in high school!

After graduating, he moved to Tokyo to pursue his dream of becoming a manga artist. He participated in the creation of several notable works, which granted him national and international prizes.

Leiji Matsumoto's Most Notable Works

If you like science fiction and good anti-war messages, there are many Matsumoto manga I could recommend to you. But here are just a few that are impossible to forget. If you don't know them, please consider adding each to your watch or reading list!

Space Pirate Captain Harlock

Captain Harlock in the movie Arcadia of My Youth form 1982
Arcadia of My Youth, Movie || Credits: Arcadia of My Youth IMDb

Don't be surprised to see Harlock in other animes and mangas, as some of Matsumoto's stories share universes.

Captain Harlock disagrees with humankind's submissive and apathetic behavior and prefers traveling among the stars in his spaceship with his crew.

However, when aliens threaten life on earth, Harlock and his crew take action to save the planet and humans.

Galaxy Express 999

Tetsuro Hoshino and Maetel as seen in the movie adaptation of Galaxy Express 999
Galaxy Express 999, Movie || Credits: Galaxy Express 999 IMDb

In Galaxy Express 999, humans can transfer their minds to mechanical bodies and become virtually immortal.

In the scene above, we have a homeless boy called Tetsuro Hoshino, who has lost his mother and yearns for an indestructible body to achieve his mother's dream and avenge her.

The mind transfer is too expensive for him, but he knows that if he takes the intergalactic train 999 to its last stop, he could get it done for free.

He happens to meet a mysterious woman called Maetel, who offers him a ticket under the condition that he becomes her travel companion.

Space Battleship Yamato (Star Blazers: The Quest for Iscandar)

The battleship Yamato as seen in the anime from 1979
Star Blazers, Season 1, Episode 19 || Credits: Star Blazers IMDb

This story takes place in 2199 when Earth is under the effects of deadly radiation and the control of a cruel alien empire.

Humans live underground by force, knowing the radiation gets closer to them each year. Any attempts to leave or fight the aliens are in vain.

Their last hope is the battleship Yamato, created after a particular transmission from planet Iscandar with a solution to the threats against humankind.

We'll Never Forget About Him

As an otaku, I am grateful for Matsumo sharing his talent and creativity with the world.

His style and life lessons influenced older generations of otakus and will undoubtedly keep influencing the new ones. Rest in peace, and we'll never forget.

Images from IMDb

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