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1938- . Born in Yamagata Prefecture, Hirata graduated from the Department of Western Art at Musashino Fine Arts University in 1961, immediately finding work at Toei Animation as an animator on The Littlest Warrior and Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon. He worked for a number of companies, including Mushi Production, Zuiyo (now Nippon Animation), Group Tac, and Sanrio. His directorial debut came with Unico, and later works included the second of the Barefoot Gen movies and Rail of the Star. In old age he has continued to work in anime, directing the opening and ending sequences for Catnapped and working as a key animation supervisor on Metropolis.