Anime fans, the industry has lost one of its brightest talents today. Reports have risen which share tragic news about an animator known for his work on shows like Naruto and Bleach. Last month, Kazunori Mizuno passed away at age 52. A slew of the artist's colleagues began posting tributes about Mizuno on Twitter earlier today, allowing the animator's loved ones time to mourn the loss.
If you are not familiar with Mizuno, then you will likely recognize his work. The artist had a long history with Bleach and even created the anime's tenth opening. As for other titles, Mizuno worked on Akira, Naruto Shippuden, Yu Yu Hakusho, and more.
In one of the tributes, a colleague wrote that Mizuno passed away while doing what he loved. Twitter user @yaginuma_san knew he was feeling poorly and told friends he would go take a break from working and nap in his studio.
However, other tributes have made sure to point out a dark underlying worry about the animator's death. @fujisan79 took time to honor his friend before pointing out the dismal conditions for animators in the industry. Anime fans have likely heard that artists get few to little time between jobs abroad, and overwork has become a serious concern. There's no official word on whether Mizuno's death is directly related to exhaustion, but many industry professionals are hinting they would not be surprised.
For now, anime fans can take a moment to look back on Mizuno's work and honor the creative legacy he left behind. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones at this time.
52歳の演出さんの、3月19日に急死された水野和則さん、スタジオで作業中「一時間だけ仮眠取る」って言われてそのまま亡くなられたんだそうです。— 柳沼和良 (@yaginuma_san) April 6, 2017
不躾で不謹慎なのは重々承知で書きますが— うっちー (@fujisan79) April 5, 2017
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
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