Toren Smith Passes Away at 52
While you may not know the name, if you’re reading this, you almost certainly enjoy the results of his work. Toren Smith is the man credited with bringing anime and manga to the United States and, by extension, the rest of North America as well. He was often thought to be the first North American (Smith himself was Canadian) to engage Japanese studios and artists to bring manga across the Pacific, and he was certainly the first successful one. He made many friends in the industry throughout the process, and the relationship he had with Studio Gainax even got him a mention in the opus Gunbuster after living with the animators for a year.
Smith and his team at Studio Proteus are almost entirely responsible for introducing North Americans to the best that the manga industry had to offer, paving the way for others to do the same. I probably wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing for this site if it wasn’t for his work, and I join the rest of staff here in giving our condolences to the friends and family of this great man.