RIP TOREN SMITH.
For all of you nerds out there who like Japanimation, let’s be real for a second.
Toren Smith was a translator and comics writer with a deep appreciation of Japanese comics and animation. He’s most known as the founder of Studio Proteus, which put out tons of translation work for manga.
Why should you care? This dude was the first person to go to Japan and try and distribute manga in the United States, which means that if it wasn’t for him, we’d be missing out on a lot of great works, and a lot of comic artists, illustrators, writers, and animators might not have gotten interested in the mediums they now work in today.
Toren took a literal gamble on whether Americans would have an appreciation for foreign comics by going over to Japan and pretty much living in terrible conditions just so that he could try and secure the contacts he needed. That’s passionate as hell! What comics publisher does that?!
He also lived with/worked alongside members of STUDIO GAINAX, which is why there’s a character based off of him in GUNBUSTER.
Toren Smith was also an advocate of translating works entirely, and not relying on the lazy “weeaboo language” that has recently cropped up in fansubs, and for that I also appreciate him.
More on Toren Smith
Toren Smith on meeting Hayao Miyazaki and working on Nausicaa
ANN memorial article