THR is reporting that anime industry veteran Yoshiji Kigami is believed to be among the 34 dead in the July 18 arson attack on the studio.
The outlet noted that the names of the dead have not been released yet, as requested by the studio, but Kigami has been uncontactable since the fire. Police have announced that the oldest victim of the fire was 61, Kigami’s age.
Reacting to the speculation that he is dead, his mother, who is in her 80s, told local media on Wednesday, “I still have hope. I want to believe that my son is alive.”
Kigami was key animator on Katsuhiro Otomo’s seminal Akira (1988), of which a new series and live-action Hollywood remake are in the works, as well as on Isao Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies from the same year. He also worked on films including Akira and Studio Ghibli’s Grave of the Fireflies before moving to Kyoto Animation (KyoAni),
Fans are hopeful, too.