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RIP Kazuo Koike

 RIP Kazuo Koike
Russell Phillips
Author: Russell Phillips

Russell has been a semi-regular reviewer for UK-Anime since 2005 [mainly specialising in non mainstream manga titles].

Mere days after the passing of Lupin the 3rd creator Monkey Punch, Anime news network  has announced the death on Wednesday the 17th of mangaka and novelist Kazuo Koike, who has also died due to complication of Pneumonia. 

Koike was well known in the west  for his work as a mangaka - co-creating with Goseki Kojima the samurai series Lone Wolf and Cub (and its prequel Samurai Executioner), and the revenge drama Lady Snowblood.  He also created Yakuza action series Crying Freeman, and served as a writer for Takao Saito's GOLGO 13 series, both of which were early Manga UK releases, making him particularly important to the growth of the medium over here.

Koike was also credited for his work as the founder of the Gekiga Sonjuku College course, which strived to produce creators of more mature manga titles, at a time when manga was still mostly targetted at younger readers. The course would produce such graduates as Ranma and Inuyasha creator Rumiko Takahashi, Vampire Hunter D writer Hideyuki Kikuchi and Fist of the North Star artist Tetsuo Hara.

His work would garner him fame in the West, in particular by his induction into the Eisner Award hall of fame in 2004. However the often brutal and sexist portrayal of women in his works would also garnered him no small amount of controversy. Anime Encyclopedia co-writer and NEO magazine  columnist Jonathan Clements provided his opinion for an article for All the Anime:

"He was a star of the old-world era of comics for men, making him part of the very establishment against which the women’s manga of the 1980s and beyond deliberately reacted against. But as Koike himself would have noted, everybody needs an opposite."

Koike Kazuo died at age 82.

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