Masamune Shirow is the pen name of Japanese manga artist Masanori Ota. The pen name is derived from the legendary sword-smith Masamune. Shirow is best known for the manga Ghost in the Shell, which has since been turned into two theatrical anime movies, two anime TV series, an anime TV movie, an anime OVA series, and several video games. Shirow is also known for creating erotic art.
Born in the Hyogo Prefecture capital city of Kobe, he studied oil painting at Osaka University of Arts. While in college, he developed an interest in manga, which led him to create his own complete work, Black Magic, which was published in the manga fanzine Atlas. His work caught the eye of Seishinsha President Harumichi Aoki, who offered to publish him.
The result was best-selling manga Appleseed, a full volume of densely plotted drama taking place in an ambiguous future. The story was a sensation, and won the 1986 Seiun Award for Best Manga. After a professional reprint of Black Magic and a second volume of Appleseed, he released Dominion in 1986. Two more volumes of Appleseed followed before he began work on Ghost in the Shell.
In 2007, he collaborated again with Production I.G to co-create the original concept for the anime television series Shinreigari/Ghost Hound, Production I.G's 20th year anniversary project. A further original collaboration with Production I.G began airing in April, 2008, titled Real Drive.