Kemurikusa Director Tatsuki Reveals Production Has Kept Him from Home for Nearly a Year

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge
Comment sparks discussion of anime's industry-wide work balance problem

Since gaining popularity for his work on the original Kemono Friends anime, TATSUKI has been very busy. Supportive fans line up for his dōjinshi booths and his five-minute anime short Keifuku-san topped Amazon bestseller charts.

TATSUKI is a member of the three-person independent animation group irodori — which also includes Kemono Friends art director Yūko Shiromizu and Kemono Friends animation director Yoshihisa Isa. All three continued working together after Kemono Friends season two brought on all new staff. Instead, TATSUKI, Shiromizu, and Isa produced the original anime series Kemurikusa at the Yaoyorozu in January. According to TATSUKI, his non-stop schedule means that he hasn't slept at home in quite awhile.

The director wrote on Twitter on Sunday that he's worried about the situation because he's paying rent but hasn't been to his apartment in nearly a year. He finally got to sleep in a futon for the first time in half a year and wrote that it felt so good it's "scary."

TATSUKI's tweets sparked conversation throughout the anime industry. Kemono Friends 2 director Ryuichi Kimura wrote , "Seeing the obituaries of young creators reminds me of my acquaintances that have passed away, you know." Kimura retweeted a freelance artist who mentioned the rise in death due to acute heart failure among young creatives. The tweet reads: "I don't know what kind of lifestyle they had, but I want to be very careful because the high stress environment and lack of sleep are likely to lead to acute heart failure."

Kimura wrote that people shouldn't brag about not being at home due to work regardless of what industry they are in.

"If you have to work so much that you break your body, you don't have to make anime," Kimura said. "There are times when working too hard will happen. However if you ruin your body again and again, you'll lose everything." Kimura added that he wants to follow this rule himself to make sure he doesn't impose on others.

Director Seiji Mizushima shared a similar experience to TATSUKI's while working on Gundam 00. Mizushima shared that he was often in the Sunrise Studio while planning out the series and rarely went home.

"As long as you have a warm futon, wherever you work can also be your bed," Mizushima wrote. The tweet was part of a congratulations messages for the Gundam franchise reaching its 40th year. He added that there's also "developments" for Gundam 00 and wished everyone good luck and to "fight on."

milktub vocalist bamboo wrote that he was fine without sleeping and thinking only about work 24 hours a day when he was in his 20s, but now he makes sure to sleep.

"You'll end up with hateful complaints regardless of whether you sleep or not. It's better to go to bed, shift your strength in the direction to raise your product's quality and earn more money, than to die," he wrote.

"It's better to be declared an idiot and alive than declared dead and with God," bamboo wrote.

The Japanese work environment in the gaming and anime industry is well documented and the karoshi phenomenon (literally working to death) is sometimes even used as a plot device in isekai stories, as are "black companies", corporate entities known for unhealthy work environments.

Super Smash Bros. game director and Kirby creator Masahiro Sakurai revealed he has continued working while hooked to an IV drip to stave off food poisoning.

While not necessarily due to overwork, looking through Anime News Network's articles of deaths show a trend of young individuals in the anime, manga, gaming, and music industry passing away due to acute heart failure. 29-year-old Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas bassist Kei died of acute heart failure in January. 44-year-old manga creator Ugeppa (U.G.E), 31-year-old vocalist and guitarist wowaka, 29-year-old drummer and former nano.RIPE member Yūki Aoyama, and 31-year-old Pay money To my Pain vocalist Kei Goto have all passed due to acute heart failure.

Animator Kazunori Mizuno died on the job in 2017 while working on Welcome to the Ballroom in 2017. Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki rocked the industry when his book, released not long after director Isao Takahata death, held Takahata partially responsible for the death of character designer and animation director Yoshifumi Kondō.

According to Suzuki, Miyazaki has claimed that he's the only person to survive Takahata. The studio continued to lose potential artistic successors due to Takahata's work expectations.

"You are overworked and exhausted. You have to prepare for yourself to break," Suzuki said.

Source: Tatsuki's Twitter account via Yara-on!, Otakomu

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