Makiko Futaki, 'Akira' and Studio Ghibli Animator, Dies at 57

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8:14 PM PDT 5/29/2016 by Gavin J. Blair

The prolific animator worked on nearly every major Studio Ghibli animation, including the hit factory’s final feature, ‘When Marnie Was There’.

Animator Makiko Futaki, who worked on all of Studio Ghibli’s biggest hits, including 2002 Oscar-winner Spirited Away, died on May 13. She was 57.

A private funeral was held for Futaki, who died in a Tokyo hospital from an unspecified illness.

Futaki worked for Studio Ghibli for three decades and was an animator for all of legendary Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki’s productions including Howl’s Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke and 2013’s The Wind Rises. Her final film credit was Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s critically acclaimed When Marnie Was There.

Futaki also worked as a key animator on Akira, the iconic 1988 feature adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s cyberpunk manga, which the author directed. A Hollywood adaptation of Akira has been at various stages of development for years.

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