Japan, News, Obituaries, _Clips and trailers

In Memoriam: Makiko Futaki, Animator

Animator of Spirited Away and Akira passes away…

Veteran Japanese animator Makiko Futaki (二木真希子) passed away of unspecified illness on May 13. She was 58 years old.

If you have a whole lotta love for Kiki, Sophie and the Princess Mononoke, you can thank Makiko Futaki for breathing life into them. For over three decades, she served as an animator for an impressive list of unforgettable animations, most notably for Studio Ghibli where she worked with the revered Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki.

Fukita worked on classics such as Akira and My Neighbour Totoro

Fukita worked on classics such as Akira and My Neighbour Totoro

Her first project with them was Jarinko Chie (1981) and since Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind (1984), she was involved in every one of Miyazaki’s films, such as Castle In The Sky (1986), Princess Mononoke (1997), Spirited Away (2001) and The Wind Rises (2013). Her last film with the studio was When Marnie Was There (2014). The talented animator also had a hand in the makings of classics like Royal Space Force: The Wings Of Honnêamise (1987) and Akira (1988).

futaki 1

Futaki was born in 1957 and made a name for herself as an amateur animator of cine-calligraphy films at the Private Animation Festival (PAF). She got her start in Japan’s competitive animation industry as an in-between animator in 1979 on an episode of Lupin III. Apart from high profile animated film projects, she was also well-known as an illustrator especially for her drawings for Nahoko Uehashi’s Moribito novels.

Futaki’s attention to minute detail added a lot of weight to the scenes she animated. Check out a video here for some Makiko magic (Credit to FahadIVsakuga and @dash199fuls).

About the author

Wai YeeWai Yee Wai Yee
Wai Yee works in communications and aspires to one day produce her own graphic novels. Mecha anime, Brother Fatt, Shammi Kapoor - a childhood of pop culture buffet has introduced her to lifelong companionship in the good, bad and ugly of Asian cinemas.
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6 thoughts on “In Memoriam: Makiko Futaki, Animator

  1. Reeti Sweetman says:

    What a sad loss to humanity
    I for one of many individuals will sorely miss seeing your beautiful artwork productions with your early departure from Earth. Many thanks for enriching my life to your talented and superb drawings that needed no text to illustrate emotions expressed by the individuals you created so realistically.
    Rest in peace
    ॐ शान्ति:

  2. Geoffrey Bruce-Gordon says:

    So very sad, I plus my family enjoy the warmth of the work.

    To move away so young, I hope this is not a sign of the environment. May you all be safe in the land of rising SUN.

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