Naruto Director, Osamu Kobayashi, Dies Aged 57

by : Cameron Frew on : 19 Apr 2021 07:28
Naruto Director, Osamu Kobayashi, Dies Aged 57Yves Tennevin/Wikimedia CC BY-SA 2.5/Manga Entertainment

Osamu Kobayashi, a beloved anime director behind BECK and Naruto, has died aged 57.

The filmmaker and illustrator, who worked on the likes of Naruto: Shippuden, BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad, Paradise Kiss and Someday’s Dreamers: Summer Skies, passed away on April 16.


In a tweet from his official profile, it was revealed he’d been diagnosed with kidney cancer two years ago.

The tweet read: ‘I left for heaven last night. I’ve been fighting kidney cancer for two years, but unfortunately I’m exhausted… I’m sorry that I still had something I wanted to do and a work I wanted to make. I’m sure I’ll be reborn and make a good work! Adios. From the eternal 23-year-old.’

Kobayashi earlier spoke of his influences, learning from both Yoshinori Kanada and Hayao Miyazaki. However, one film that particularly inspired him was Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. ‘It’s an old movie, yeah, but I cried in the theater when I saw it,’ he previously said, as Heavy reports.


Among the messages online, one user wrote: ‘Wow, Osamu Kobayashi, an absolutely legendary icon of the animation industry has reportedly passed away from cancer at age 57. That is beyond devastating. Rest in peace. Your work affected me in indescribable ways.’

Mike Toole, an editor-at-large at the Anime News Network, also wrote: ’57 is too young :( RIP Osamu Kobayashi, who directed BECK, Paradise Kiss, and episodes of stuff like Kemonozume and Lupin the 3rd Pt IV that _always_ stood out for their rough, expressive style. Wish he got to do more.’

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Film and TV, Anime, Japan, Now


  1. Heavy

    Osamu Kobayashi Dead: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know