Buichi Terasawa (Japanese: 寺沢 武一, Hepburn: Terasawa Buichi, March 30, 1955 – September 8, 2023) was a renowned Japanese manga artist, best known for his works such as Goku Midnight Eye and Cobra. Terasawa was not just a pioneer in traditional manga but also in digital art, seeing the personal computer as a creative tool long before it became commonplace in the industry.
Early Life and Career
Born on March 30, 1955, in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, Terasawa showed an early affinity for comics. As a young and relatively unknown artist, he contributed comics to a magazine that won him a prize. This accomplishment guided him deeper into the world of comics.
In 1976, Terasawa moved to Tokyo to study under the legendary Japanese manga artist Osamu Tezuka. During his time at Tezuka Productions, Terasawa’s work, “Mother Earth, Turn Green Again,” was honored with the prestigious Tezuka Award. By 1977, he started drawing for Weekly Shōnen Jump, one of Japan’s most popular manga magazines.
Innovations in Manga and Computing
From the early 1980s, Terasawa began to view the personal computer as a crucial tool for creative work. His foresight led to the launch of an eight-color comic book series, BAT, in 1985. As technology evolved, so did his work; he went on to create TAKERU in 1992, the world’s first computer graphics comic book series.
Terasawa’s portfolio is diverse, featuring original works, scenarios, and directed pieces. Some of his other notable creations include Gundragon Sigma, COBRA II: A Man of Legend, and original animation videos like GOKU, GOKU II, and Raven Tengu Kabuto. His works have been translated and published in over ten countries and often feature in comics and animation-related events globally.
Celebrity Fan and Global Reach
While promoting The Fifth Element in Japan, French film director Luc Besson met with Terasawa to discuss the state of science fiction. Besson, a fan of Terasawa’s work, was particularly drawn to it due to the enormous popularity of Space Cobra in France.
Illness and Death
Tragically, Terasawa was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 1998. Despite undergoing surgery and chemotherapy, he relapsed, leaving him paralyzed on the left side of his body. Terasawa passed away from a heart attack on September 8, 2023, at the age of 68.
Buichi Terasawa left an indelible mark on both the manga industry and the broader world of comics and animation. His innovations in using computers for art were groundbreaking, and his works continue to be celebrated and studied around the globe.