April 21, 1944 - July 23, 2011
You saw 199X and beyond, Tough Boy.
Toyoo ASHIDA may not be as crippling a loss to the creativity of the Japanese animation industry as Satoshi KON was last year, but he was still quite notable for being one of the few animators in the country to push for fair treatment towards commercial artists. He was not only the co-founder, but president for the first ever Japanese animators union, JAniCA, in 2007. He also founded Studio Live in 1976, a company that continues to both produce, and contribute to the creation of, contemporary animation.
On a slightly more personal note, he was also the director behind my beloved Vampire Hunter D OVA, as well as series director for Hokuto no Ken: Fist of the North Star, and of course the director of the unforgettable 1986 Fist of the North Star: The Movie. These films remain very dear to me, and I'm just as enthralled by them as I was the very first time I watched them in the early 1990s. Ashida may not have been in the forefront of the modern anime industry, but he will be missed none the less.
I wonder how much it'd cost to get that now-final Hokuto no Ken interview with him from the R2 movie booklet properly translated...