Star Blazers Creator Dead After Falling From...Boat

This Sunday, 75-year-old Yoshinobu Nishizaki, co-creator of 1970s animated series Space Battleship Yamato (imported to the West as "Star Blazers"), fell from his 485-ton boat "Yamato" at an island port in southern Tokyo.

Nishizaki produced other nautical-themed anime like Space Carrier Blue Noah, Odin: Photon Sailer Starlight and Yamato 2520. The other co-creator of Space Battleship Yamato sued Nishizaki over copyright infringement. Set hundred of years after Space Battleship Yamato, Yamato 2520 featured designs from Syd Mead of and Aliens, Blade Runner and Tron fame.

Nishizaki also produced Urotsukidoji, the first anime to feature tentacle rape.

Even as he passed his 50s, Nishizaki never quite settled into old age. In 1997, he was arrested for possession of illegal drugs. He went to the Philippines while on bail, smuggling in a grenade launcher, an M16 and a Glock back into Japan. Two years later, he was sentenced for his drug arrest.

Police later discovered more illegal drugs and firearms in his house. Besides the weapons, he kept 30 howitzer shells in a station wagon in his garage. Nishizaki was also sentenced for the weapons and was finally released from prison in 2007.

The series Space Battleship Yamato helped to popularize flying boats in anime and, later, video games. Bandai developed a series of Yamato games for the PlayStation and the PlayStation 2. As a nod to the series, the StarCraft games have a flying ship that is outfitted with a "Yamato Canon".

On December 1, a live-action Yamato film will hit theaters in Japan.

Nishizaki, producer of anime 'Yamato,' dies after falling off boat [Japan Today] [Pic]