Farewell to One of Anime’s Great Character Designers: RIP Kimura Takahiro

I normally don’t write about the death of anime and manga figures that often, preferring to save it for people I feel have influenced me in major ways. But here we are again with animator and character designer Kimura Takahiro, who passed away on March 5 from amyloidosis. He was 58.

Kimura worked on series like Gaogaigar, Betterman, Godannar!!, Brigadoon: Marin & Melan, , Gun x Sword, and Code Geass. As far as character designers go, he is one of my favorite ever. His style is distinct, and he would give his designs a real attractiveness and charisma. Are they drawn pretty horny? Certainly, but somehow that aesthetic feels both very grounded in the 90s but also timeless. His art touched so many of the series I love, and I still consider Aoi Anna from Godannar a Top 10 fave among female characters.

I never got to meet Kimura in person, and I think about this because of the fact that he was a guest at Sakura Con in 2006 and Anime NYC 2019. In both cases, circumstances made it impossible for me to see him, and now I wish I could have figured something out. 

I found out the news of Kimura’s death thanks to a tweet from his wife, the artist RICCA—I guess this is how I learned the guy was married. Also, Kimura apparently loved to search his own name, and RICCA mentions that he’s probably watching from heaven and loving the attention.

And here’s a message from the director of Gaogaigar, Yonetani Yoshitomo, recalling the cosplay wedding party Kimura had back in the day. Apparently, Yonetani and Kimura not only sat next to each other at work, but also lived right next door from each other.

Thank you, Kimura Takahiro. You were one of my heroes.

Anime NYC 2019 Hype Post, aka The Craziest, Most Incredible Guests

Anime NYC 2019 is only two days away, and I want to use this opportunity to talk about how amazing the guests are this year. I promise that this is not a paid or sponsored endorsement in any way—these are my genuine feelings, and my feeling is that the guest list this year is just virtually perfect.

First and foremost, you have the legendary director of Mobile Suit Gundam, Ideon, and Zambot 3, Tomino Yoshiyuki. I saw him 10 years ago at New York Anime Festival 2009, and I am eager to see his return. He’ll be showing the first Gundam: Reconguista in G film, and as a staunch defender of that series, I’ve gotta go see it.

Then there’s Kimura Takahiro, animator and character designer on Gaogaigar, Godannar, Betterman, Brigadoon, and Code Geass. He is one of my favorite character designers ever, and I’m so, so stoked for him to be in New York.

Speaking of Code Geass, the voice actor Yukana will be making her New York City debut. In addition to playing C.C. in Code Geass (aka the best character in that series), she’s also Teletha Testarossa in Full Metal Panic!, Li Meiling in Cardcaptor Sakura, and Cure White in Futari wa Pretty Cure!

But Yukana is not the only Cure who will be there, as Ise Mariya (Cure Lemonade from Yes! Pretty Cure 5) is coming to promote The Promised Neverland, where she plays Ray. The director of The Promised Neverland, Kanbe Mamoru, will also be at Anime NYC 2019. He’s also the director for one of my favorite anime ever, Cosmic Baton Girl Comet-san.

Megalo Box is an amazing anime and reinterpretation of Ashita no Joe, Moriyama Yo, and both the director and producer, Fujiyoshi Minako, will be attending.

And the Lantis Matsuri concert Friday night will feature both JAM Project and Guilty Kiss from Love Live! Sunshine!! Having now attended concerts for both groups, I’m pumped to see them again (and again and again in the future, hopefully). Nothing is as fantastic as JAM Project performing “SKILL,” and a part of me is sincerely hoping all the groups involved will join in for a rousing “WHOHhhHHoooHHHooOoooH.”

So see you all at Anime NYC, and I hope these guests get the star treatment they deserve.