Tamiya was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Yasuo Ohtsuka, the legendary animator. Otsuka-san had worked on the design of early Tamiya R/C cars and Mini 4WD, as well as military model figures. He is an integral part of our history and will be sorely missed, although we hope that he continues to watch over the model industry he so generously supported. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and loved ones.
Some samples of his work:
Oh, sad to hear this. RIP Mr. Otsuka, the creator of “Wild Willy”.
I read from Mr. Tamiya’s book “Master Modeler” about the stories of Mr. Otsuka made suggestions to Mr. Tamiya on how to make the military figures look more realistic (“two frames too late”) and how to make the Mini 4WD series more appealing to the kids (“too serious, not enough fun” “to kids the word ‘Chevrolet’ is unpronounceable gibberish”). Really inspiring to me.
Talking about the Mini 4WD series, I noticed that the Mini 4WD series (180XX) went through some “phases” of designing trends throughout the decades. I mean, from the first 5 cars (Ford Ranger – Range Rover) they were “more realistic” looking, but did not sell well according to Mr. Tamiya, and then upon suggestion by Mr. Otsuka a new “more comical” design was adopted (Honda City Turbo – Suzuki Jimny) in order to be more attractive to the kids. But then this series went idle for some years and no new models came out after Suzuki Jimny. Then the trend somehow returned to “more realistic” way when models such as Toyota Land Cruiser and Mitsubishi Pajero Metaltop came out. Can it be said that the taste of different generations of Japanese kids are ever changing from time to time, so that the design trend jump from “realism” to “comical” and then vice versa?
Sounds like a reasonable assumption, would be of course interesting to have marketing research data on it.