Earlier today, ANN reported on the recent death of Ramen Fighter Miki creator Jun Sadogawa. He was 34 years old. Sadogawa’s body was found this morning hanging from a tree in Ibaraki’s Shinsui Park. According to police, Sadogawa, who is estimated to have passed away at around dawn, was discovered with rope was tied around his neck by a 60-year-old man discovered. Sadogawa’s identity was confirmed by his driver’s license, and his vehicle was found in the park’s car lot.
Every year, we see a number of tragic deaths in the industry. Whether it’s Satoshi Kon’s (Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress) succumbing to pancreatic cancer in 2010, Ryutaro Nakamura’s (Kino’s Journey, Serial Experiments Lain) falling to the same this July, or Yoshito Usui (Crayon Shin-chan) falling to his death in 2009, we see the industry grow a bit darker, and a little sadder. Faces that bring joy, excitement, or simply quiet contemplation are gone in the blink of an eye, are suddenly gone from this world. The people and places that they brought light to suddenly grow that much dimmer, and their presence becomes missed by friends and fans alike.
Sadogawa, while not as revered as Kon, Nakamura, or Usui, leaves a legacy among fans in the US and Japan. Since its release in America, Ramen Fighter Miki has grown into a cult classic among western fans. His oddball sense of humor and innate ability to create charming, charismatic characters came together to form a rare gem that, while rough around the edges, proved to be a fantastic experience that could cause even the most jaded to crack a smile.
With Sadogawa’s passing, the world has grown a bit dimmer. A talented creator has leapt from this mortal coil with the aid of his own hands. We may never know what compelled Sadogawa to carry out his suicide. However, this shouldn’t be the focus. We should remember how he lived, and the legacy he left in his library. For years, Jun Sadogawa created titles that would bring smiles to those who read it. Hopefully, we can continue to look at his work so fondly going forward.