James Hudnall has reported that his close friend, manga translator and founder of Studio Proteus, Toren Smith, has passed away, at the age of 52.
Studio Proteus was one of the main producers of translated manga for the English-speaking world, and spearhead manga across the US, struggling with poverty in the early years before everything he pioneered finally caught on. His translation and production work included Appleseed, Akira, Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind, Lone Wolf And Cub, What’s Michael, Ghost In The Shell, Domu, Blade Of The Immortal, 3×3 Eyes, Oh! My Goddess, worked Eclipse Comics and Dark Horse Comics, to whom he would eventually sell his translations in perpetuity, worked with Adam Warren on Dirty Pair and Empowered, translated the Ghost In The Shell anime and co-founded AnimeCon. The character of Smith Toren in the Aim for the Top! Gunbuster anime is named after him.
Without his work, diligence and passion through the most difficult of times, it is unlikely that manga would have gained the penetration into the US reading market that it did.