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The Animatrix Network is an anime & manga fan club located in the Southwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. We usually meet on the fourth Saturday of each month (except when holidays or conventions coincide). The meetings are free and open to the public. Join us for a day filled with anime.

This site provides news, reviews, commentaries, and previews of the world of anime and everything it inspires, such as live-action films, comics, music, art, and other weird things to enjoy and contemplate.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Manga Translation Pioneer Toren Smith Dies

"One of the first translators of manga to the U.S."
Toren Smith
(1960 - 2013)
  • Toren Smith (April 12, 1960 - March 4, 2013) was a manga translator, who is credited as being one of the major forces for bringing anime and manga successfully to the West.   
  • Smith has been involved in manga and anime since before 1986, when he organized the first major convention room for anime at BayCon in California. He worked at Viz Communications in its first year before translating The Legend of Kamui, one of the first manga ever translated into English, in 1988. Smith then founded Studio Proteus, the outfit which collaborated to bring such titles as Appleseed, Outlanders, Lone Wolf and Cub, Akira, Ghost in the Shell, and Astro Boy to North America. Studio Proteus once said that he co-translated over 23,000 pages of manga. Since Haruka Takachiho's Dirty Pair novels did not have manga in Japan, he and Adam Warren created Dirty Pair comics in English. Smith later sold Studio Proteus to publisher Dark Horse Comics in 2004. Smith, Gainax co-founder Toshio Okada, John McLaughlin, and others created AnimeCon 1991, the predecessor to Anime Expo. Gainax paid homage to Smith by naming the character Smith Toren in its Aim for the Top! Gunbuster anime in his honor.
  • He was born in Alberta, Canada, learned to read by the age of four, and by the age of 12 had won his first award for writing from the Calgary Stampede and Exhibition. By thirteen he had sold his first magazine article, an examination of body morphology in deep sea fishes, which included drawings by himself. In 1974 his science fair project in physics with Martin Brock won first place in the Physics category and they moved on to competition in London, where they took an Honorable Mention. Brock also introduced Smith to comics, which would become a lifetime passion. Smith had already been drawing for years, mostly influenced by newspaper strips such as B.C. and Andy Capp, but now he began to look at the work of Jack Kirby and Walt Kelly. Upon entering high school, Smith became interested in what would now be called extreme sports. He participated in caving, motorcycle racing, climbing, and hang gliding—briefly being the youngest licensed hang glider pilot in Canada. Focusing on climbing, he spent time working at the Lac des Arcs climbing school, being among the first in Canada to experiment with ice climbing tools and techniques. Smith was active in the arts while at school, working with the drama club, writing plays, and drawing for pleasure and sale. After graduating from high school, Smith chose not to attend university, and worked a variety of jobs from oilfield roughneck to computer operator. This gave him the time to pursue climbing and motorcycle touring, combining the two into long trips to places like Yosemite, Black Canyon, and Joshua Tree.
 Toren Smith, a pioneer of anime and manga in America
 

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