Director, animator and scriptwriter Shuji Iuchi has passed away at the age of 66. We all love our transported-to-another-world shows, no matter how many there are to wade through, and Iuchi was at the helm of one of the underdog classics in studio Sunrise’s legacy. For Mashin Eiyuden Wataru, which ran from 1988 until 1997, he oversaw the story of the young boy Wataru Ikusabe, dropped off in Soukaizan by a dragon and tasked with saving the world from its evil ruler. He had also written novels for the franchise, his stamp on the story clearly marked, which only makes his loss on December 15th all the more regrettable.
In his time, he also directed such anime as Galaxy Express 999: Can You Live Like a Warrior!!, Ranma ½: Big Trouble in Nekonron, China, and Gekito! Crush Gear Turbo. He also acted as episode director for Space Battleship Yamato, and created storyboards for Gundam Build Fighters Try, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Speed Grapher and Yakitate!! Ja-pan. Meanwhile, he was writing scripts for several Pretty Rhythm series, including Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream, Pretty Rhythm Dear My Future, and Pretty Rhythm Rainbow Live.
Only recently he was drawing storyboards for anime like Shonen Maid, Cerberus, and Shonen Ashibe GO! GO! Goma-chan. From his vast portfolio of work to the fact he worked in anime until the last year of his life, it’s this dedication that defines him out as an artist. The joy and humour of his writing and art will be sorely missed. As his fellows in the industry, like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood‘s Satoshi Koike, share our sadness, our thoughts are with his loved ones at this time.