Galaxy Express 999 Animation Director's Art Auction Angers Creator Leiji Matsumoto

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

An animation director auctioning art of Galaxy Express 999's Maetel has drawn ire from series creator Leiji Matsumoto. The 69-year-old Tomonori Kogawa served as a chief animation director for the 1978 anime series and also worked on Farewell Space Battleship Yamato, Space Battleship Yamato Resurrection, and Star Blazers 2199 anime. Kogawa has auctioned off artwork of Maetel on Yahoo! Auctions without permission from Matsumoto, causing a rift between the two men.

An industry member told the Daily Shincho that there is a fanclub for anime industry members that were active in the 1970s and approximately 80 people belong to the club. He heard that a number of fans in the club have shown disapproval of Kogawa's actions. A fan told the Daily Shincho that Kogawa has sold illustrations on Yahoo! Auctions for about three years.

Kogawa's art sales aren't limited to Galaxy Express 999 characters. He's also sold drawings of characters from Aura Battler Dunbine. Kogawa was the character designer for the 1980s mecha series. The art has sold for 30,000 (US$280) to 50,000 yen (US$465) to as much as 200,000 yen (US$1,850) for a signed image of Maetel.

Kogawa does not hold the copyright for either series. Leiji Matsumoto has stated that Kogawa has not been in touch with him to get permission to sell artwork based on his characters. The 81-year-old creator stated, "Of course, just because he drew the characters [before] doesn't mean he can draw them without permission." Matsumoto stated that his art of Maetel makes her Maetel because he understands the character's nature.

"Actually, when you look at his illustrations, the style is completely different from mine," Matsumoto said.

Kogawa confirmed that the artwork on Yahoo! Auctions was drawn by him. However, he stated that he was selling the art as a service to fans who want to purchase it and the price itself isn't important.

"I don't really want to do auctions," Kogawa said. "However, fans want the illustrations so I draw them as a service."

He added, "Matsumoto draws the manga version of Maetel, and I'm drawing the anime version of Maetel. The anime version has thinner lines and is simplified. What's wrong with drawing something that I designed?"

Since Kogawa's interview with Daily Shincho, all of his listings were pulled from the Yahoo! Auctions site. Daily Shincho spoke with a copyright lawyer who stated that even if the style is different, if buyers understand that the character is Maetel it is copyright infringement.

Source: Daily Shincho via Yahoo! News Japan

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