Noboru Ishiguro, the original director of Macross, Megazone, and many other anime series, has passed away on March 20th due to a lung infection.
Ishiguro's influence in anime can not be understated. Macross is well known to American audiences in its adapted form as Robotech, but in Japan it was noteworthy as one of the first shows to feature an idol singer, Lynn Minmay, who was voiced by Mari Iijima. Macross was also groundbreaking for featuring an interracial couple, Roy and Claudia. The film adaptation Macross: Do You Remember Love was a major event in anime, as one of the first anime films that was a completely original animation production. Most other anime films until that point were just summaries of TV series, taking the footage of an entire season and chopping it down to 90 minutes. His other works, Megazone 23 and Legend of Galactic Heroes are each noted for being influential, the former as an inspiration to The Matrix and the latter for exemplary political drama in an anime.
We got to meet Noboru Ishiguro in 2001 during Animeigo's production of the US DVD release of Macross. At Anime Expo, Animeigo's Shin Kurokawa interviewed Ishiguro for the Macross DVD commentary track. Although our meeting was brief, I was struck by how unassuming and humble he was about his productions.
We asked some friends to share their thoughts about Mr Ishiguro.
Jan Scott Frazier was broke, jobless, displaced and hungry in Japan when she met Noboru Ishiguro. Ishiguro hired Jan as a production assistant, the first time a foreigner ever worked in anime production. When Ishiguro discovered that Jan walked 3 hours to work the first day, he loaned her money for living expenses. Jan had this to say:
The world has lost a very great man and creator. Noboru Ishiguro, my great friend, mentor, business partner, partner in crime and adventure accomplice, died at the age of 73. I would not have had my anime career, nor would I be here talking with you today without Ishiguro. The same can be said by some of the anime industry's greatest artists and creators and all of those they taught. He gave me opportunities that nobody else would and helped me learn so very much. We travelled all over SE Asia, England and the US together and our experiences were sometimes hilarious, sometimes terrifying and sometimes sublime. He stood with me, in place of my parents, when I got married. There is a big crater in my life today. It's like my father died again.
Jan Scott Frazier
Former Production Assistant, Artland. Former President, Production IG USA.
It was my honor and great pleasure to meet Mr.Ishiguro. Having watched many of his shows as a kid growing up in Japan, I was initially star-struck when he finally agreed to sit down with us one afternoon in 2001 to record his thoughts on "Macross" as a commentary track for the DVDs we were working on at the time. However, he was a very kind, generous, peaceful and funny man. He had stories to tell and advice to give, and I know that he believed there is a place for everyone. The world lost a great man. My heart goes out to his family, friends, co-workers and everyone who knew him.
Former Producer, Animeigo.
With multiple news sources posting the obituary, it's open information. Noboru Ishiguro, director of titles including Space Battleship Yamato, Macross, Megazone 23, and LoGH, passed away on March 20 Japan time. It hits me particularly close to home, as the producer of LoGH and I were the last two non-hospital staff who saw him. He was showing no signs of succumbing; in fact, we said goodbye to him as it was time for him to get his daily exercise in the rehab room. That's not the daily routine of a man who was about to die. I don't know if I have to live with the thoughts of "should I have noticed any signs?" But he was an in-patient at a hospital. There were nurses and doctors on the watch. And I'm sure his exercise routine was supervised by medical staff. There are several words that I must cherish forever now. He was saying he still had ideas for ten more projects when he got out of the hospital. The nurses were playful, and instead of a name tag, they gave him a picture of Lin Minmei and Mikan the Cat. Most of the nurses were too young to know Minmei, and they were finding Mikan the cat they loved.
I remember that day just like yesterday. You were watching me perform my songs while smiling softly at the audition in the studio. You were behind the glass window but I already knew in that moment, I was chosen by you to play Minmay. Thank you for the opportunity and love towards me. I've always loved you like a father although we only saw each other a couple of occasions after Macross. I'm thinking of you. Rest in peace and please protect me from heaven. Kisses. Photo - Noboru Ishiguro and Mari at Anime Expo 1999. That was the day I released and debut my very first English album "No Limit". He happened to be there and I was happy to be reunited with him.