In Memory of Toren Smith (1960-2013)

Via Anime News Network, we all received the sad news last night that Toren Smith – translator and adapter, co-founder of Studio Proteus, and one of anime and manga’s earliest and most enthusiastic advocates – passed away earlier this week.

Smith began his career as a fan, organizing the first anime room at California’s BayCon convention, and moved to Japan fueled by the conviction that there was an audience for manga in the English-speaking world… if only someone would translate and publish it. 

He played a major role in making this happen, initially through his work at Viz Communications (now VIZ Media), where he translated The Legend of Kamui, one of the first manga to be published in English. Later, via his own firm, Studio Proteus, he licensed, translated, adapted and co-published (frequently with Dark Horse Comics) a hand-picked selection of manga that includes notable and acclaimed titles such as Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Oh My Goddess!, Appleseed, Gunsmith Cats, You’re Under Arrest!, Lone Wolf and Cub, and Blade of the Immortal.

In addition to his manga translation and adaptation work, he and Adam Warren co-wrote the first three series of the American Dirty Pair comics (inspired by the novels of Haruka Takachiho). Smith also worked on the North American anime releases of the Ghost in the Shell movie and Venus Wars, and he was immortalized in animated form by the Japanese animation studio GAINAX, when they named a character in their landmark 1988 Gunbuster OVA series "Smith Toren."

We at Right Stuf share our sincere condolences with Toren Smith’s family, friends and collaborators. His work and legacy as a pioneer loom large to those of us in the North American anime and manga industries and to all who were and are fans of those early releases. His dedication to a high standard of quality continues to inspire and influence many of the works published today.

For more information on Smith and his remarkable career, please see the following links: