Initially daily but now sporadic blog about anime and world animation with a specific focus on the artists behind the work. Written by Ben Ettinger.
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‹ Wednesday, July 22, 2009 ›

08:48:52 am , 391 words, 5273 views     Categories: Animation, Animator: Yoshinori Kanada

Yoshinori Kanada passes away

It's a sad day for the world of animation. One of the best and most influential animators of the last 30 years in commercial Japanese animation has reportedly passed away at the age of 57. The news comes from Anido. I don't know how many times I've written about Yoshinori Kanada in these pages. It's not just that I loved his inimitable and delightful work; he was simply that important and influential, and anime would look and move differently today if he hadn't existed. He was really the linchpin figure of the last 30 years in many ways. So many people either became animators because of him or were influenced by him in anime, it's almost impossible to quantify who he influenced or in what way he was an influence. Something like Guren Lagan would be unthinkable without him. Aside from his influence, though, he wasn't just a historical relic. He was still putting out interesting pieces of animation every once in a while, and I was always happy in the knowledge that we could expect continue to see the occasional piece from him. Far from being a distant echo of his past work, he was continuing to develop his trademark style. In many ways, his work was better than ever, as witness the freewheeling awesomeness of the Hanjuku Eiyu 4 game opening. He had numerous very talented followers, but to me, Kanada was always #1. Nobody else could nail that style of animation like the man who invented it, and I never tired of watching his work, old or new. I'm deeply saddened by the thought that we'll never get to see another new piece of Kanada animation. RIP, Yoshinori Kanada.

Here are some related posts.

Karisuma Animators bio
Happy Birthday, Yoshinori Kanada
The Kanada School
Kanada revisits Gaiking

Here are some Youtube vids featuring his work:

Luckyman opening 1
Luckyman opening 2
Scenes by Kanada from the OVA Download
Hanjuku Eiyu 3D game opening
AMV for Kanada's magnum opus, Birth
Unusual line animation sequence from movie Talking Head
Kanada's animation from the climax of Genma Taisen
A half episode of Plawres Sanshiro by Kanada

On NicoVideo there are two videos collecting opening/ending sequences drawn by him (early ones in full, later ones obviously in part):

And here's a short clip from one of Kanada's best pieces, episode 6 of Don De La Mancha.



Régis [Visitor]  

Sad indeed. I know I’ll miss him, especially now when I’m discovering more of his work on Urusei Yatsura.

07/22/09 @ 09:45
huw_m [Member]

Really awful news. I was only just learning to appreciate his amazing work. This must be especially sad for all the people who grew up with his work. RIP.

07/22/09 @ 14:49
h_park [Member]

You know, it feels like the life expectancy of Japanese animators are short. Very sad, indeed.

07/22/09 @ 15:37
bahi jd
bahi jd [Visitor]  

I can"t believe this right now.
Only 57……….this is very sad.
So many GREAT people died this year.
And now Kanada…….

I want to thank him for his great animations.
I learned…no…we learned a lot from him.

PS:I was watching his animations on Studio Ghibli….I didn’t knew he made so much for ghibli!

Is there a book from Kanada’s animations?

07/26/09 @ 00:20
bahi jd
bahi jd [Visitor]  


07/26/09 @ 00:22
Ben [Member]  

Yeah, the whirlwind scene from Laputa has always been a particular favorite of mine. I think that the scene where Nausicaa gets kicked off the ship in the middle of the scuffle is one of the first scenes I may have seen by Kanada, at least in my mature watching period. Even back then, before I knew anything about animation, I could tell there was something different about the movement in that scene.

As for animation books, there are probably a whole bunch of fanzines collecting his art from various shows, like this one, but finding them from over here (short of lucking out by finding one on Yahoo Japan Auctions) is another question. There were a few books published over the years, but again they’re out of print now and impossible to find unless you’re in Japan. This one was apparently published on the occasion of Kanada leaving Japan in 1998 (for Hawaii??). There was a retrospective of his work in a hall attended by lots of luminaries like Anno et al. This one was published in 1982 covering his first 10 years. I think this one is one of the few that was published by a real publisher, but that was way back in 1982 so it’s also impossible to obtain here short of buying second-hand. Someone should collect all of the material published in these various magazines and publish one massive book collecting as much of his genga and illustrations as possible.

07/26/09 @ 20:59
Peter  Chung
Peter Chung [Visitor]  

Yoshinori Kanada’s work was an enormous source of inspiration and encouragement to me over the years. This is very sad news.

I had the very good fortune of working with him in 1997 on the Alexander Senki pilot film, for which he animated several scenes based on my layouts. But of course, he worked with everyone, being as prolific as he was. When his name was mentioned, it was always with a sense of deep reverence– arising, one sensed, from gratitude.

I first noticed his work in the climax of the first Galaxy Express 999 movie. It wasn’t hard thereafter to hunt down his sequences (or entire episodes), as they were everywhere. I remember searching lists of credits for the easily recognizable kanji of his name– and being astonished by how often I’d find it. Daitarn 3, episode 2 hit me like a thunderbolt. It was one of those rare “eureka” moments. I was witnessing an animator who scoffed at the notion that good animation had to be painstaking and laborious. It was as if a great burden had been lifted from my shoulders; it was liberating. I played that episode endlessly- on a vcr, when I could avail myself of one , but mostly in my head, as I strove to find that “zone", while struggling at my drawing desk.

Daitarn 3 Ep 2 - Italian dub

another oldie:

I have several of the books put out of his work, including the “IKO” special, and the numerous volumes devoted to “Birth". But I’d hold off on paying the premium prices for now, as I’ve little doubt that a comprehensive retrospective tome will be coming soon.

07/27/09 @ 00:45
drmecha [Visitor]

Hi Ben !.
I did not know where to advertise this. But the participation of Yoshinori Kanada , I thought this post was an appropriate place .
This now available The Chocolate Panic Picture Show , complete OVA. In FC2 .
link :

I ‘ve seen it all, and as thought is completely experimental .
No wonder it has been Tezuka Productions who produced it.
Among the animators and storyboard artists (as some knew long ) contains , besides the author of the work ( ” KAMUI ” ) , Yoshinori Kanada and Gainax !
Look for a decade this title . This year I bought the LD . And right now appears !!!!! :(
I hope Rainbow Signal ( a music video of Japanese pop Trio Hi-Fi Set, animated by Kaname Pro !! ) which is the other LD I recently bought haha not appear just now.

sorry for my bad English
Greetings !

10/27/14 @ 16:32
Ben [Member]  

I actually saw this a few years ago and was contemplating writing about it, but despite being interesting from an animation standpoint I felt it was just too repulsive in content… Rainbow Signal I haven’t seen on the other hand. I can relate. I have a huge box of once-rare LDs whose dissemination on the net has been an object lesson in the futility of collecting rarities for cachet.

10/30/14 @ 05:00
drmecha [Visitor]

it’s true

10/30/14 @ 06:18