Manga creator Taku Chiba, who wrote of the trials of being the only girl on a boys’ team in Kickoff, has passed away from renal pelvic cancer at the age of 56. His most famous and ground-breaking series, Kickoff first ran its school rom-com story in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump from 1982-83, but the otaku world also wished farewell to the man who published Shōri!!No Side, and Niji no Runner on February 27th as reported by The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Family, friends and loved ones honoured the passing of Yoshikazu Itakura, who created under the pen name Taku Chiba, at his funeral held recently. He’ll be remembered not only as an artist, but as someone who reminded girls that they can be an equal in talent and authority on any team they choose.

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