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Tensai Bakabon, Akko-chan Creator Fujio Akatsuka Dies

posted on by Egan Loo
Osomatsu-kun, Hennako-chan gag manga creator also did early magical girl manga

Fujio Akatsuka, the creator of many popular comedy gag manga and one of the earliest magical girl manga, has passed away of pneumonia in a Tokyo hospital on Saturday at 4:55 p.m. He was 72.

Akatsuka was born in 1935 in Manchuria, the area that is now the northeastern part of China. When World War II ended, his family moved back to live in Japan's Nara and Niigata prefectures. Since he dreamed of becoming a manga artist like Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy, Jungle Emperor/Kimba the White Lion), he moved to Tokyo in 1954 to work in a factory while he honed his craft. He lived in the Tokiwa-sō, the Tokyo apartment building that became the haunt of famous and soon-to-be-famous artists such as Tezuka, Shōtarō Ishinomori (Cyborg 009, Kamen Rider, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past), and the Fujiko Fujio duo (Doraemon).

Akatsuka made his professional debut with Arashi o Koete in 1956, and his first hit was 1962's Osomatsu-kun gag manga in Shonen Sunday. This manga won a Shogakukan Manga Award in 1965. Akatsuka helped pioneer a new kind of gag manga that specialized in fast-paced, nonsensical humor. He would create dozens of manga titles, including the Mooretsu Atarou children's comedy, the popular family comedy Tensai Bakabon, and the early magical girl manga Himitsu no Akko-chan. In 1997, the Japan Cartoonists Association gave him the Literary Giant Award.

Osomatsu-kun, Mooretsu Atarou, Tensai Bakabon, and Himitsu no Akko-chan were all animated for television. He also helped plan the Lupin III: Strange Psycho-Kinetic Strategy live-action film and later played the president in a special cameo voice role for the animated Lupin III: The Secret of Mamo film. Gonzo launched a limited animation version of one of his manga, the Hennako-chan spoof of supernatural horror stories, just this past April.

Akatsuka was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 1998, and he had been bed-ridden since 2002 due to a brain hemorrhage.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun, Nikkan Sports

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