‘Spirited Away’ Animator Makiko Futaki Dies At Age 57

by Grace Easterby

‘Spirited Away,’ 2001

The renowned Japanese animator, Makiko Futaki, died Friday, May 13, after being treated for an unspecified illness. She passed away at age 57 in a Tokyo hospital, according to Hollywood Reporter.

Futaki began working with Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli in 1981 on the film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. After the release of the film, she became one of the lead animators at Ghibli, working closely with Miyazaki on all his major projects.

BUST Akira photo‘Akira,’ 1988

Makiko Futaki aided in the creation of some incredible films during her three decades of work with Studio Ghibli. She’s perhaps most well-known for Spirited Away, a beautiful film set in the bathhouse of the spirit world, which became the highest grossing film in the Japanese box office in 2001. Other successful films Futaki animated include Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, and Kiki’s Delivery Service

BUST princess mononoke pic‘Princess Mononoke,’ 1997

In addition to her work at Ghibli, Futaki was an animator on the film, Akira, a sci-fi anime directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, known as a landmark anime film and a large contributor to anime’s popularity outside of Japan. 

Futaki’s legacy and passion will continue to inspire and awe long after her passing. 

More From BUST

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