Animator Nobuteru Yuki has Tweeted that his colleague and veteran Bandai Visual anime producer Minoru Takanashi has passed away at the age of 54. The cause of death is not known.
— 結城信輝 (@nobuteruyuuki) April 12, 2017
Takanashi produced anime at Bandai Visual for nearly 30 years and is credited for supporting the companies more ambitious projects. Over the years he has produced five different Macross entries (including Macross Plus), The Vision of Escaflowne, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, Wolf’s Rain, Gunbuster, and Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade. His final project was Concrete Revolutio.
Yuki credits Takanashi’s passion and “project-planning powers” for being a big reason why Escaflowne exists. The series was a surprise success that faced production issues due to the original director leaving and Sunrise cutting the show’s budget. Escaflowne also bucked standard mecha trends by aiming for female audiences, which led to the series having shoujo elements and a strong female lead character. Takanashi also produced Escaflowne: A Girl in Gaea, which is a darker retelling of the series.
Takanashi’s career began as a member of the Macross Attack Team doujin circle where he helped create the Sky Angels doujin manga. This popular Macross doujin series would lead to him being recruited by Bandai Visual and to produce official entries into the Macross franchise.