Keiko Nobumoto, Writer For Cowboy Bebop And Tokyo Godfathers, Dies At 57

A photo of Keiko Nobumoto at New York Comic Con alongside artwork of Spike and Jet at a bar in Cowboy Bebop.

Image: Sunrise / Kotaku / Roy Rochlin (Getty Images)

Keiko Nobumoto, the acclaimed writer behind Cowboy Bebop, Tokyo Godfathers, and Macross Plus, passed away on December 1 after a battle with esophageal cancer. The news of her passing was confirmed by fellow anime writer Dai Sato on Facebook. A private funeral service was held for her on December 4. She was 57.

If you’re a fan of a certain style of hip, worldly anime from the last few decades, chances are you’re already well familiar with Nobumoto’s work. Her storied career is rife with highlights. She wrote the cult anime series Cowboy Bebop along with its big-screen adaptation Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.

She was also the original creator of the wildly popular TV/OAV series Wolf’s Rain and its manga adaptation. She collaborated with legendary anime director Satoshi Kon in writing Tokyo Godfathers, wrote a little-known indie thing called Macross Plus, and contributed scripts to other Shinichiro Watanabe shows, including Carole and Tuesday, Samurai Champloo, and Space Dandy. Alongside her illustrious career as a writer for anime, Nobumoto also had credits as a scenario supervisor for Kingdom Hearts.

The ongoing relevance of each project Nobumoto worked on is due in part to the thoughtfulness and humanistic viewpoint she brought to her characters. In writing up this post, I’ve found myself floored by just how many great anime she’s had a hand in crafting. Many of them, like Cowboy Bebop and Carole and Tuesday, are series I hold near and dear to my heart and regard as the zenith of writing in the medium.

If you haven’t seen any of Nobumoto’s works, do yourself a favor and take some time to experience some of her creations this weekend. Given that we’re closing in on the holidays, I particularly recommend people check out Tokyo Godfathers. Nobumoto’s writing was a blessing to the world, and she will be sorely missed. May she rest in peace.

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