The anime world recently suffered a great loss upon the passing of a talented animator who has worked on multiple beloved titles such as Bleach and Naruto.
Veteran artist and storyboard art director Kazunori Mizuno reportedly passed away on March 19th, but the news of his death was not immediately announced. He was 52, Comicbook reports.
For unknown reasons, the news of his passing only broke out after his colleagues mourned his loss by posting messages about the talented artist on Twitter. Although Mizuno’s actual cause of death was not officially made known, observers believe that he died from overwork, which in Japan is known as karoushi, according to Goboiano.
Kazunori Mizuno has passed away. He has been working in the industry for about 30 years and is known for directing the better episodes of.. pic.twitter.com/omkqR4LNkl
— DarkNora (@dark_nora) April 6, 2017
While not many outside Japan may be familiar with Mizuno, his work should be enough to speak for his talent. During his 30 years in the anime industry, he has worked on the anime masterpiece Akira, the fan-favorites Naruto Shippuden, Bleach, Yu Yu Hakusho, and others.
One of his colleagues wrote that Mizuno passed away while working on his passion. According to Twitter user @yaginuma_san, Mizuno excused himself, saying he was not feeling well and that he needed to take a short break. He died while taking a nap at the Studio Pierrot offices. Kazuyoshi Yaginuma worked on Naruto movies, Akira, Steamboy, and Wings of Honnêamise.
— 柳沼和良 (@yaginuma_san) April 6, 2017
Some of his co-workers, however, expressed concern on what may have lead to the death of the hard-working animator.
Apparently a case of overworking. Decided to take a nap at the studio and passed away. Sad reality of this industry.
— リボレクさん (@liborek3) April 6, 2017
After giving a short message to remember his friend, Twitter user @fujisan79 also mentioned about the poor working conditions of most animators in the country.
Reports of such artists being underpaid, overworked and getting little to no vacation have recently become a hot topic within the industry.