Keiko Nobumoto, Writer For Cowboy Bebop And Tokyo Godfathers

Keiko Nobumoto, Writer For Cowboy Bebop And Tokyo Godfathers, Dies At 57

Keiko Nobumoto, the acclaimed writer behind Cowboy Bebop, Tokyo Godfathers, and Macross Plus, passed away on December 1 after a battle with esophageal cancer. The news of her passing was confirmed by fellow anime writer Dai Sato on Facebook,who paid tribute to her: “She was someone who personally guided me — she was like a teacher to me.”

A private funeral service was held for her on December 4. She was 57.

A prominent woman in an industry dominated by men, her storied career is rife with highlights. She wrote the cult anime series Cowboy Bebop along with its big-screen adaptation Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.

Nobumoto followed an unusual path into the animation industry. Born in Hokkaido, she first worked as a nurse before finding a job as a secretary at an anime company. But she was already honing her skills as a writer, studying under Dragon Ball scribe Takao Koyama. In 1989, she won a screenplay prize run by Fuji Television.

Her big anime break came when director Shinichiro Watanabe hired her to write on Macross Plus (1994–95), a well-received follow-up to the original series.

Macross Plus forged a partnership between Watanabe and Nobumoto that would flourish with their next collaboration, sci-fi masterpiece Cowboy Bebop. Reflecting on the show’s huge popularity in 2018, Nobumoto told Anime News Network, “Director Watanabe’s rhetoric was, ‘Let’s make something we want to see.’ Our target audience was not kids, but ourselves and our peers. The truth is that kids want to watch what adults are watching. And so, that was perhaps one of the reasons why it attracted a broad audience.”

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