Leiji Matsumoto

Essays on the Manga and Anime Legend


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About the Book

Leiji Matsumoto is one of Japan’s most influential myth creators. Yet the huge scope of his work, spanning past, present and future in a constantly connecting multiverse, is largely unknown outside Japan. Matsumoto was the major creative force on Star Blazers, America’s gateway drug for TV anime, and created Captain Harlock, a TV phenomenon in Europe. As well as space operas, he made manga on musicians from Bowie to Tchaikovsky, wrote the manga version of American cowboy show Laramie, and created dozens of girls’ comics. He is a respected manga scholar, an expert on Japanese swords, a frustrated engineer and pilot who still wants to be a spaceman in his eighties.

This collection of new essays–the first book on Matsumoto in English–covers his seven decades of comic creation, drawing on contemporary scholarship, artistic practice and fan studies to map Matsumoto’s vast universe. The contributors–artists, creators, translators and scholars–mirror the range of his work and experience. From the bildungsroman to the importance of textual analysis for costume and performance, from early days in poverty to honors around the world, this volume offers previously unexplored biographical and bibliographic detail from a life story as thrilling as anything he created.

About the Author(s)

Helen McCarthy has been researching anime and manga since 1981. She has edited two classic British anime magazines, curated exhibitions and film seasons, lectured widely, and written a dozen books translated into seven languages including Japanese. She lives in London, England.

Darren-Jon Ashmore holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Sheffield. His main area of research is in Japanese media arts, especially the literature, theater and film of the 1960s–1980s. He is Head of Japan Studies at Yamanashi Gakuin University.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Helen McCarthy and Darren-Jon Ashmore
Foreword by Gilles Poitras

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 246
Bibliographic Info: 55 photos, appendices, glossary, notes, bibliography
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7996-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4085-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents


Gilles Poitras 1


Darren-Jon Ashmore and Helen McCarthy 3

Glossary 5


Darren-Jon Ashmore and Helen McCarthy 7

Leiji Matsumoto: A Life in Context

Helen McCarthy 13

Sailing a Sea of Stars: Growth and Change in Matsumoto’s Space Opera

Darren-Jon Ashmore 29

Even Better Than the Real Thing: Matsumoto’s Manga

Tim Eldred 57

The Cockpit and the Nobility of Failure

Jonathan Tarbox 84

Female in a Male Universe: Women in Matsumoto’s Space Operas

Stefanie Thomas 111

The Impact of Matsumoto’s Universe on Anime Magazines as a Platform for Cosplay

Edmund W. Hoff 147

A Captain’s Tribute to Leiji Matsumoto: A Cosplay Project

Ondine Montoya and Matthew Montoya 164

Translating Leiji Matsumoto

Zack Davisson 187

Interview with Leiji Matsumoto

Darren-Jon Ashmore 200

General Bibliography and Weblinks 211

Appendix A: Matsumoto Animation 213

Appendix B: Matsumoto Comics and Graphic Works 215

Appendix C: Matsumoto Collaborations and Other Works 229

About the Contributors 233

Index 235

Book Reviews & Awards

“The real deal, honestly a one-of-a-kind must-have. Informative, unique essays, revealing interviews, and an exhaustive appendix of Matsumoto’s manga and anime career guarantee you’ll be returning to this again and again.”—Let’s Anime