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