Kazuhide Tomonaga

Kazuhide Tomonaga (友永 和秀, Tomonaga Kazuhide, born April 28, 1952) is a Japanese director, animator, storyboarder, and cartoonist who worked with Toei Animation, Group TAC, Oh! Production, TMS Entertainment, Studio Ghibli, Bones, DIC, Warner Bros. Animation and Square. He is currently a director at Telecom Animation Film Company (a subsidiary of TMS). He is a member of the Japanese Animation Creators Association (JAniCA). His style inspired another famous animator, Naotoshi Shida [ja].

Kazuhide Tomonaga
Kazuhide Tomonaga 20060707 Japan Expo 03.jpg
Tomonaga at The Japan Expo in 2006
Born (1952-04-28) April 28, 1952 (age 68)
OccupationAnimator and character designer

He is best known for the Lupin the Third franchise; other works he is known for include Galaxy Express 999, Castle in the Sky, Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, Space Battleship Yamato, Tiny Toon Adventures, Batman: The Animated Series, Animaniacs, Sonic X, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, the intro to Inspector Gadget, and the video game Kingdom Hearts.


After graduating high school, he spent six months in Osaka working as a salaryman before moving to Tokyo.


Tomonaga made his start in animation in 1972 with the animated adaption of Devil Man.[1] During his time at Tiger Production while under animator Takeshi Shirato [ja], Tomonaga worked on the anime Mazinger Z and Space Battleship Yamato. He then worked at Oh! Production while Komatsubara Kazuo was drawing director, and worked on a number of anime including UFO Robo Glendizer, Magnerobo Ga Keen, and Superhuman Squadron Baratak. He was primarily responsible for the base drawings for Toei Doga's robot anime.[2] In 1979, Tomonaga moved from Oh! Production to Telecom Animation.[3] In 1980, he made his debut as an animation director with the movie Sugata Sanshirou.[4][5] Since then, he has worked on both international and domestic works for Telecom Animation Film Company, as well as for their parent company TMS Entertainment.

He has received particularly positive critical reception on a number of scenes which include the battleship Yamato flashback scene for the 1974 TV animation Space Battleship Yamato, as well as the Battle of the Rainbow Star Cluster.[5][6][7][8] Other well-received moments are the car chase in the 1979 Telecom Animation anime movie Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro,[9] as well as the battle scene against the Arcadia in the climax of the animated film Galaxy Railway 999.[7][8][10]

In 1984, Tomonaga co-produced with Yoshifumi Kondo the three and a half-minute pilot for Little Nemo, which earned him recognition in the American animation industry,[11][12] with some saying the pilot was one of his masterpieces.[13]

According to fellow animator Yasuo Otsuka, Tomonaga is highly regarded for his skill with action, such as a strong sense of movement and skill with mechanical objects.[14] Animator Yoshinori Kaneda worked with Tomonaga on Space Battleship Yamato and Galaxy Railway 999, and said of Tomonaga that he was "both a friend and a rival".[8]

Production for the TV animation series Sherlock Hound began in 1982, with Tomonaga as animation director. Director Hayao Miyazaki modeled the appearance of the character Todd on Tomonaga[15]

Tomonaga worked on the show openings for Inspector Gadget and Batman: The Animated Series through TMS. He was also an animation supervisor for the video game Kingdom Hearts through Telecom Animation Film Company. He also contributed to a number of Studio Ghibli films when Telecom Animation Film Company was hired by Ghibli for animation support. he was also the animation director, one of the key animators, and even Directed the episode "The Arrogant Palm of a Small Human" on Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood when, once again, Bones, the studio behind the series, hired Telecom Animation Film Company for animation support.

In 2016, Tomonaga was awarded an Animation Lifetime Achievement Award at the 25th Japanese Movie Critics Awards.[16]


Video GamesEdit

TV showsEdit

TV MovieEdit

  • Sugata Sanshirô (1981) (animation director)
  • The Blinkins: The Bear and the Blizzard (1986) (key animator)
  • Lupin the III: Blood Seal ~Eternal Mermaid~ (2011) (key animator)



  • Little Nemo Pilot (1984/II) (animation director/key animator)[12]
  • Soreike! Anpanman: Tsumikijô no himitsu (1992) (animator)
  • Buta (2012) (Director/Writer)



  1. ^ "Lupin III Anime Staff Essay Kazuhide Tomonaga and Lupin III", "Lupin III LUPIN the 40! Animation", "Futabasha," 2007, p.127.
  2. ^ editing, Tokyu Agency, 2002, p.153. ISBN 4884970934
  3. ^ Yasuo Otsuka, "Ambition of Little Nemo", Tokuma Shoten, 2004, p.80.
  4. ^ and debuted in Seishiro, 1977, Jetermars, 23rd episode
  5. ^ a b Masahisa Akahoshi [ja] and others Chapter.3 The Men Who Made Robot Anime Robot Anime Robot Anime Hall of Fame Staff Gentleman's Record" "The Immortal Super Robot Daizen Mazinger Z to Transformers, Gundam W Thorough Research" 2Mi Shobo [ja], September 25, 1998, ISBN 4-576-98138-2, p. 132.
  6. ^ Hikawa Ryusuke [Transition of anime special techniques], "All the diagrams of tv animation", Makoto Mizono, Hara Shobo, 1999, pp.201–203.
  7. ^ a b EYECOM Files Chapter 5 Tech [History of Animation Expression]Ryusuke Hikawa" "SF Anime Is Interesting" Aspect [ja], January 7, 1997, ISBN 4-89366-643-6, page 169.
  8. ^ a b c "Dogaoh" Interview and composition of Ryusuke Hikawa" Testimony and The Age of Giant Robot Animation Kaneda Igo Interview", "Video King Vol.1 Decisive Battle- Giant Robot Anime" Kinema Shunposha, 1997, p.188.
  9. ^ Junji Hotta, Gainax "Gainax Interviews" Kodansha, 2005, p.110.
  10. ^ "World and Japanese Animation Best 150", 2003, pp.10, 172–173.
  11. ^ Little Nemo's Ambition pp.129–130.
  12. ^ a b "Little Nemo test film". YouTube. April 8, 2008. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  13. ^ "Anime-like Seven-Turn-A-Yachi 22nd Japanese Anime History Unprecedented Project" WEB Anime Style [ja] 2005, November 21.
  14. ^ Yasuo Otsuka, Yasuo Moridesk, Yasuo Otsuka Interview Animation, Jitsugyo no Nihon Sha, 2006, p.38.
  15. ^ Roundtable Theme 1: "Detective Holmes" [2], the Animation Film Official Site
  16. ^ "In the Critics' Award Anime Category Go Nagai won the highest prize, and Akira Kushida congratulated Him for the Merit Award, Akira Watanabe, and the film Natalie". May 25, 2016. Retrieved May 25, 2016.

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