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Special Achievement Award

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  • Photo by Takashi Namiki, 2007

KOTABE Yoichi

Animator / Supervising Animator / Character Designer

Born in 1936 in Taiwan. After graduating from the Department of Japanese Painting, Faculty of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts, he joined Toei Animation Studio in 1959. He served as an animator for the feature films Little Prince and The Eight Headed Dragon (1963), Little Norse Prince Valiant (1969) and Puss’n Boots (1969). He made his debut as animation director on The Flying Phantom Ship (1969). In 1971, he left Toei Animation Studio and served as animation director in Panda! go panda! (1972) and Red-Armored Suzunosuke (1972). Later he played an important role in the character design for HEIDI (1974) and From the Apennines To the Andes (1976). In 1979, he served as a character designerand animation director for Taro the Dragon Boy (1979) in which he worked with Toei Animation Studio again. He has constantly contributed to the creation of masterpieces in the history animated films. His achievements include Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984), directed by MIYAZAKI Hayao and The Grave of the Fireflies (1988) by TAKAHATA Isao, in which he provided key frame drawings for short but important scenes. In 1985, he joined Nintendo Co., Ltd. as a development adviser and supervised the design of series titles such as Super Mario Bros. and Pokémon. In 2003, he worked on Winter Days, an animated film based on renku. Currently, while serving in various positions, such as board member of the Japan Cultural Foundation for Animation, he is active in lectures, education for young people and exhibitions. His written works include people and exhibitions. His written works include Yoichi Kotabe Legendary Animator-His Animated Drawings [ANIDO FIM, 2008].

Photo by Takashi Namiki, 2007

Award Reason

Everyone would surely agree this award has come too late. KOTABE Yoichi is one of the legends of the Japanese animation industry. Working as animator and animation director for The Flying Phantom Ship (1969) and many other works during the former Toei Animation era, his expressive ingenuity and originality has not faded even today. Numerous character designs for television and feature-length productions such as Heidi that are enjoyed worldwidehave, at the hands of a maestro, been given eternal life. He has also strived to create chances for juniors in the field and through educational institutions, ushering in a new phase in the games world. The extensive contributions and distinguished service he has rendered to the culture of Japanese animation is formidable. (KOIDE Masashi)

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