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Genma Taisen Rebirth Writer: Harmagedon/8 Man Creator Kazumasa Hirai Passes Away

posted on by Egan Loo
Hirai also wrote Spider-Man manga, Wolf Guy manga/novel/anime franchise, Zombie Hunter

Writer Kyoichi Nanatsuki (Project ARMS, Genma Taisen Rebirth) reported on Sunday that he received word of the passing of his collaborator Kazumasa Hirai. Nanatsuki added that he was at a loss for words.

Hirai was both an acclaimed science-fiction novelist and the story creator of several manga. His Genma Taisen manga spawned the anime film Genma Taisen (Harmagedon), the Genma Taisen (Genma Wars) television anime series, several manga and novel titles, and most recently, the Genma Taisen Rebirth manga. Nanatsuki and artist Masato Hirase just launched Genma Taisen Rebirth in August.

Hirai also created the classic science-fiction superhero manga 8 Man, which inspired a television anime, the 8 Man After original video anime sequel, live-action movies, and several spinoff manga and text stories. He contributed to the writing of the Spider-Man manga drawn by Ryoichi Ikegami and penned the Zombie Hunter manga and novel series. His Wolf Guy manga and novel series inspired the original video anime series of the same name.

Hirai was born on May 13, 1938 in Yokosuka City in Kanagawa Prefecture. When he was still attending Chūō University's law school in 1961, he made his writing debut by winning the first SF Magazine contest's encouragement prize with "Satsujin Chitai" (Murder Zone).

In 1963, the TBS Television anime based on his 8 Man manga premiered. He himself was involved the anime's production as a scenario writer. The anime eventually became a huge hit and even topped the ratings of another anime based on a classic science-fiction manga, Osamu Tezuka's Mighty Atom (Astro Boy).

In 1971, his Ōkami no Emblem novel debuted, garnering more fans for his Wolf Guy franchise that began with the earlier manga. Similarly, his Genma Taisen manga spawned a novel series in 1979, which sold 20 million copies. Director Rintaro and character designer (and Akira creator) Katsuhiro Otomo turned Genma Taisen into a celebrated anime film (pictured right). Hirai began serializing Bohemian Glass Street, arguably Japan's first full-fledged online novel, in 1994.

[Via Hachima Kikō]

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