Bones Co-Founder Hiroshi Ōsaka Passes Away at 44
posted on by Egan Loo
Posters on the 2ch message boards have noted a mixi social community site's diary entry that reported the passing of Hiroshi Ōsaka, the co-founder of the BONES animation studio and animation director of several works including The Vision of Escaflowne, Cowboy Bebop, and Fullmetal Alchemist: The Movie - Conqueror of Shamballa. Animation director Kazuaki Moori (Pokémon, The Daichis - Earth Defence Family) confirmed on his official website's diary that his colleague Ōsaka passed away on the morning of September 24. Ōsaka had been reportedly diagnosed with cancer in spring of 2007, and had been convalescing in his family home in the city of Osaka. He had just attended Anime Expo 2005 as a Guest of Honor.
Ōsaka was an anime fan as far back as high school, when he emulated the style of the first Mobile Suit Gundam series and the works of Mitsuru Adachi (Touch, H2). Ōsaka began working in Japanese animation as a part-time job while he was still taking university classes in Kyoto in 1983. He started in Anime R, a subcontracting studio, under the tutelage of Moriyasu Taniguchi (character designer on Aoki Ryūsei SPT Layzner, Armor Hunter Mellowlink). He gradually moved from animation of in-between cels to animation of key cels and eventually animation direction on Sei Jūshi Bismarck (Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs), City Hunter 3, Yoroiden Samurai Trooper (Ronin Warriors), Macross Plus, and Golden Boy.
His fluid direction of character and mechanical animation led him to work on many Sunrise works, including Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, Mobile Suit V Gundam, and Mobile Fighter G Gundam. That brought him to the attention of Sunrise producer Masahiko Minami, who brought Ōsaka aboard two of their most famous series: The Vision of Escaflowne and Cowboy Bebop.
The collaboration between Ōsaka, Minami, and Gundam 0083/Bebop character designer Toshihiro Kawamoto was so fruitful that the three left their respective companies to be the co-founders of the studio Bones in 1998. The three would work together on several fan favorite works of Bones, including Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, Wolf's Rain, and Fullmetal Alchemist.