Leiji Matsumoto, one of the greatest authors of Japanese manga and anime, died a few days ago (February 13, 2023), at the age of 85.
The author, known for his extensive oeuvre, including the space series “Galaxy Express 999” and the cult classic “Space Battleship Yamato“, was a pioneer of Japanese animation.

Matsumoto was born on January 25, 1938 in Fukuoka, Japan, and grew up with his grandmother after his mother died. He started drawing by hand from a very young age and started selling his first works when he was just 14 years old. Matsumoto's career in manga and animation began later, around the 60s, when he created the series "Otoko Oidon“, centered on the story of a wandering samurai.

The most successful series arrived later and we want to remember some of them including "Capitan harlock"and "Queen Millennia“, both of which achieved literally planetary success. But it is with the series “Galaxy Express 999” that Matsumoto achieved his greatest success.

This series, released in Japan between 1977 and 1981, has become a great classic of Japanese animation. It combines an exciting space adventure with a touching story of friendship.

Matsumoto continued to work actively in the world of animation until the end of his life, producing works such as “Queen Emeraldas"and "Space Battleship Yamato 2199".

The famous Captain Harlock

"Capitan harlock“, known in Japan as “Uchuu Kaizoku Captain Harlock”, was first broadcast in Japan in 1978. It achieved great success, becoming one of the most famous and iconic series of Leiji Matsumoto.
The series follows the adventures of Harlock, a space pirate who opposes the corrupt government of the Earth and fights for the freedom of mankind. The series is distinguished by its gothic style and the strong presence of philosophical and political elements.

The figure of Harlock is an icon of Japanese pop culture. She is often cited as a major influence on many subsequent series and films. Harlock is an enigmatic and mysterious character, with a strong sense of justice and a pirate ethos that make him a fascinating anti-hero.

The series has had several sequels and spin-offs, including “Galaxy Express 999” and “Queen Emeraldas”. Also, a 2013 television series titled “Space Pirate Captain Harlock” was produced. The series has received many positive reviews for its animation and faithfulness to the original story.

Leiji Matsumoto Captain Harlock

A few words about Galaxy Express 999

“Galaxy Express 999” is a manga and anime series created by Leiji Matsumoto. The work was published in Japan between 1977 and 1981 and was a huge success, becoming one of Matsumoto's most famous and iconic series.

The series follows the adventures of Tetsurou Hoshino, a young boy who tries to get a mechanical body. Tetsurou meets the mysterious Maetel, a woman traveling aboard the Galaxy Express 999 space train. Maetel offers Tetsurou a free ticket for the train in exchange for her companionship. Together, the two travel across the solar system, visiting planets and meeting weird and wonderful characters.


Let's take a closer look at the Galaxy Express 999

In "Galaxy Express 999” we can see that his reflections focus on the themes of life and death, immortality and humanity. The work explores the aftermath of a society where immortality is attainable only through transformation into a cyborg. It also explores the conflicts between those who seek to extend their lives at any cost and those who embrace their mortality.

In particular, the series focuses on the importance of human experience, travel and exploration as fundamental to personal growth and development. The characters of “Galaxy Express 999” traverse the solar system in search of adventures, discovering the beauty and worth of humanity along the way. The series suggests that human life is precious precisely because it is transitory and limited, and that mortality gives meaning to life itself.

In summary, the philosophy of “Galaxy Express 999” focuses on valuing the human experience and reflecting on the themes of life and death. The series suggests that human mortality is what gives value to life itself. Furthermore, exploration and adventure are essential for our personal development. These reflections have madeGalaxy Express 999” a work much loved by Japanese animation fans and have influenced popular culture around the world.

Leiji Matsumoto's Philosophy of Work

Leiji Matsumoto's philosophy is often described as a reflection on the human condition and the importance of love and friendship.

In many of his works, the author explores themes such as mortality, loneliness. But also the sense of belonging and the fight against power and corruption. Many of his stories feature characters who are searching for meaning in their lives. They are figures who feel alienated from the world around them or who struggle to find their identity.

Leiji Matsumoto has often expressed his concern for the future of humanity, especially regarding the negative consequences of technology and science. In “Galaxy Express 999,” for example, Matsumoto explores the perils of immortality and the obsession with eternal life. In “Space Pirate Captain Harlock”, however, he reflects on humanity's struggle for freedom and self-determination against the control of the authorities.

However, despite his often pessimistic portrayal of humanity's future, Matsumoto's philosophy is infused with hope and a strong sense of humanity. His stories are characterized by the presence of characters who, despite the difficulties, always try to maintain their humanity, their integrity and their ability to love and create bonds with others.

In summary, Leiji Matsumoto's philosophy is a reflection on the human condition and the importance of love and friendship. His work focuses on humanity's struggle against the destructive forces of the world and the search for meaning in life. However, his philosophy is characterized by a strong sense of humanity and hope. Important elements of his style and his vision of the world.


Conclusions and thoughts on the death of Leiji Matsumoto

The death of Leiji Matsumoto shook the world of Japanese animation deeply and led to numerous reactions from fans and colleagues of Matsumoto. His legacy, however, will live on forever through his iconic creations and his influence on Japanese and global popular culture.

Domu arigato Matsumoto sensei