In the world of anime, filmmaker Rintaro is often regarded as one of the founding fathers and most beloved figures. In addition to his involvement with The White Snake Enchantress -- Japan's first animated feature film -- Rintaro's subsequent involvement with such anime cornerstones as Astroboy and Kimba the White Lion propelled him to the forefront of an animated universe that would eventually grow to find an international audience and gain critical acclaim. Born Shigeyuki Hayashi in late January of 1941, the future anime legend got his start in animation when, at the age of 17, he went to work for Toei Doga. Though his start in the business was indeed impressive, it was while working for anime powerhouse Osamu Tezuka's Mushi Productions that he truly began to come into his own as an animator. In addition to laying the groundwork for animated television with work on such early efforts as Astroboy, Hayashi also adopted his more widely recognized pseudonym of Rintaro during this period as well.
As he moved into freelancing Rintaro's creativity flourished, and he quickly became one of the most notable figures in Japanese animated television. An affinity for stories with a science-fiction or fantasy angle resulted in such popular series as Space Pilot Captain Harlock and such features as The Galaxy Express 999, with influences from film noir and American gangster films distinctively setting his works apart from the pack. In the '80s, Rintaro shifted his focus from television to concentrate mainly on feature films and OAVs (original animated videos), yielding such highly regarded efforts as Genma Wars and Firebird: Karma Chapter -- an adaptation of former collaborator Tezuka's popular manga. By the '90s, Rintaro was firmly established as one of the anime world's most enduring figures, and though some would find fault in his 1996 manga adaptation X, Rintaro would subsequently redeem himself in the eyes of many anime fans with the release of 2001's visually extravagant adaptation of Tezuka's classic manga Metropolis. Set in the futuristic titular city and detailing the relationship between a young boy and a robot girl, Metroplis found a wide international audience and near unanimous critical acclaim -- once again putting Rintaro at the forefront of popular Japanese animation. The following year Rintaro would update one of his most popular early works with the release of the OAV Space Pirate Captain Herlock: The Endless Odyssey.