Rintaro was born as Shigeyuki Hayashi in Tokyo, Japan on January 22, 1941. He has also worked under the pseudonym of Kuruma Hino. Rintaro works as a freelance director, and is a co-founder of animation studio Madhouse.
Rintaro began his anime career at the age of 17, when he worked at Toei Animation as an in-between animator for the 1958 film, Hakujaden. A few years later, he would work at Mushi Productions under Osamu Tezuka. Rintaro's first directing job was the fourth episode of the classic anime series, Astro Boy. After leaving Mushi Productions in 1971, Rintaro became a freelance director. For over 30 years, Rintaro has served on the staff of a number of anime television series, OVAs, and films.
Over the years, Rintaro has worked on: Hakujaden, Shonen Sarutobi Sasuke, Nezumi no Yomeiri, Tales of a Street Corner, Astro Boy, Astro Boy: Hero of Space, Kimba the White Lion, Jungle Emperor Leo, Jungle Taitei Susume Leo, Sabu to Ichi Torimono Hikae, Moomin, Alakazam the Great, Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Galaxy Express 999, Arrow Emblem Grand Prix no Taka, Hoshi no Ko Chobin, Wanpaku Omukashi Kumu Kumu, The Littl' Bits, Adieu, Galaxy Express 999, Jetter Mars, Ganbare Genki, Manga Nihon Mukashi Banashi, Dr. Slump, Dash! Kappei, Harmagedon, The Dagger of Kamui, Bobby's Girl, Toki no Tabibito – Time Stranger, Phoenix: Karma Chapter, Neo-Tokyo – Labyrinth, Take the X Train, Matasaburo of the Winds, Bride of Deimos, Kaze no Matasaburo, Spirit Warrior, I Am Son Goku, The New Adventures of Kimba the White Lion, A Wind Named Amnesia, Dragon Warrior, Down Load – Namiamidabutsu wa Ai no Uta, Battle Angel, Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals, Doomed Megalopolis, Peacock King, The Diary of Anne Frank, X, X – X2 double X, Pet Shop of Horrors, Reign: The Conqueror, Metropolis, Alexander: The Movie, Space Pirate Captain Harlock: The Endless Odyssey, Master Keaton, Paradise Kiss, Paranoia Agent, Tenjho Tenge: Ultimate Fight, 48 x 61, and Yona Yona Penguin. Metropolis was nominated for Best Film at the 2001 Festival de Cine de Stiges.
Rintaro has said he is a fan of science fiction. As his influences, he has listed American westerns, gangster films, film noir, and French films. He has also cited Osamu Tezuka as an influence on his work. Rintaro is also a founding member of the Japan Animation Creators Association (JAniCA), an animator labor group in Japan. He has also lectured at Kyoto Seika University.