Yasuomi Umetsu: Underrated

Yasuomi Umetsu: Underrated

One of my favorite anime directors of all time is Yasuomi Umetsu. Kite and Mezzo Forte are his most recognizable works, however his resume is extensive with other amazing projects he has contributed to. Some highlights of his career include being a key animator for Akira, Lupin III: Dead or Alive, elfen lied, beelzebub etc. 

Umetsu got his big start working on Lensman under the guidance of Yoshiaki Kawajiri, which attracted attention from the anime industry in 1984. Later he worked on the opening animation for Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (1985), he worked as a character designer for the first time on the classic MegaZone 23/Part 2, which made him a popular animator among fans. Finally he made his directorial debut with the release of Robot Carnival in 1987. 

Robot Carnival is A cult classic short film consisting of nine different stories by different directors, each with its unique style and story. Umetsu’s unique style was showcased in full and eventually he was able to put his mark on the industry. Gatchaman (OVA), Casshan: Robot Hunter (1993), Kimera, and Lily Cat are some other projects he's had a great influence on and I highly recommend giving them a watch! 

Umetsu’s influence can be seen in western media, more specifically in No Doubt's “Ex-Girlfriend” music video which depicts various scenes from Kite. Furthermore, Quentin tarnation recommended Kite to be studied by Ogo Yubari actress Chiaki Kuriyama to help prepare for her role. 

Eventually a Kite live action adaptation was made by Hollywood! With Samuel L Jackson even starring in it. Unfortunately it didn't capture the original’s artistic vision and was a critical and commercial failure. 

Umetsu is a legendary director and there are so many great projects Umetsu has had a hand in whether it was directing, animating, character designing etc. He deserves more praise for his work, almost as much as Hayao Miyazaki or Satoshi Kon when it comes to Japanese animation. I definitely encourage you to check out his other works or if you haven't already and don't mind ultra violence and explicit erotic scenes, to check out the original Kite and Mezzo Forte films. 

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