Sad news for anime fans and the entire animation community in general. News broke out over the weekend about the passing of Studio Ghibli’s Makiko Futaki. She was 57 when she passed away in a Tokyo hospital on May 13 due to an unidentified illness.
Although the anime icon died earlier this month, it was kept secret until recently, when news confirming her death spread like wildfire on the internet. Futaki worked in major projects of animation giant Ghibli over the past decades, including Oscar winner “Spirited Away.”
According to a report from the Hollywood Reporter, a private funeral was held in Tokyo in honor of the animator’s memories. During her years, Futaki worked with Studio Ghibli in most of its projects.
Some of Futaki’s legacies include Princess Mononoke (1997), Howl’s Moving Castle (2005), and The Wind Rises (2013). Her last work with the animation studio was When Marnie Was There by Japanese director Hiromasa Yonebayashi in 2013.
Futaki had also worked as one of the main animators in the Japanese hit manga Akira, which was later the inspiration of an upcoming Hollywood adaptation of the same title.
From 1981, Futaki had been one of the star animators of Studio Ghibli, where she spent most of her professional years until her death. But prior to her stint in Ghibli, she began her career at the Private Animation Festival, Indie Wire reported.
Her last work, When Marnie Was There, was based on a novel of the same title by Joan G. Robinson. It received high ratings from critics when it was released in 2014. It got an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature in 2014.