This Wednesday, animator Yoshinori Kanada passed away after suffering a sudden heart attack. He was 57 years old. A "Superanimator" since the 1970s, Kanada left his mark on Square Enix as well.

After working at Toei, he moved on to become the Key Animator on a number of Studio Ghibli's biggest titles: Kiki's Delivery Service, My Neighbour Totoro, Porco Rosso, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Princess Mononoke.

He later went on to work for Square Enix as a layout artist on movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and also was an animation director for Final Fantasy XI and did story boards for Final Fantasy IV on the DS.

The Spirits Within was a commercial failure; however, it was the first photorealistic 3D animated feature film. Critic Roger Ebert called the film a "technical milestone".

Kanda's style was exciting and he always found new ways to thrill audiences ‚ÄĒ making him of the most influential animators of his generation. He will be missed.

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Kanada [AniPages Daily via Moon Chase]