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Daft Punk Collaborator & Manga Artist Passes Away

22 February 2023 | 10:28 am | Mary Varvaris

Leiji Matsumoto worked on a collection of iconic Daft Punk music videos.

(Daft Punk: Supplied, Leiji: Twitter)

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Leiji Matsumoto, manga artist and the childhood hero of Daft Punk and creator of the iconic music videos from their album, Discovery, passed away last week at 85.

Known for his space operas, Space Battleship Yamato and Galaxy Express 999, Matsumoto was also the mastermind behind the Discovery music videos One More Time, Digital Love and Aerodynamic. 

He reunited with the French duo to supervise the 2003 animated science fiction film, Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem. Matsumoto passed away due to acute heart failure on 13 February.

His daughter Makiko Matsumoto wrote in a statement that NME translated: "Manga artist Leiji Matsumoto departed for the sea of stars at a hospital in Tokyo on February 13, 2023, at the age of 85. 

"The farewell ceremony has already been held with close relatives. I think it was a happy life."

Twitter user Minovsky wrote in tribute to Matsumoto, "Goodbye, Leiji Matsumoto. I will remember you for your peerlessly romantic visions of space travel, dedication to inspiring that sense of cosmic awe in young people through manga and animation, and optimism about humanity's future potential."

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Manga writer Zack Davisson and one of Matsumoto's collaborators shared a Twitter thread, recalling his friend's influence on art. "Saddened to hear of the passing of Leiji Matsumoto. As a young boy, he showed me a train going into space, and I have never been the same since. It has been my great honor [sic] to translate his works and bring them into English.

"Few artists had as much affect on my life as Leiji Matsumoto. His work was some of the first to receive English language releases. Long before the words "anime" or "manga" existed in the English language, we knew the name of Leiji Matsumoto."

Davisson added, "Leji Matsumo's work was the foundation of what we know as "anime/manga fandom," in both the US and Japan. There is a reason the first every anime convention held in the US was called "Yamato Con." And the first ever anime cosplay was a collection of Leiji Matsumoto characters. 

"Leiji Matsumoto's influence on the modern world has been as profound as George Lucas. There are echoes of his work everywhere. He was as large as any of his characters. A dreamer who dreamed great dreams."