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Kyoto Animation Colorist Naomi Ishida Passed Away in Studio Fire

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda, Crystalyn Hodgkins

Editor's Note: ANN's stance on the announcement of those who died or were injured in the fire has been to wait until the police or Kyoto Animation have released the names officially, instead of relying on unofficial sources. However, as the below article states, the parents of the victim themselves confirmed the death with a trustworthy media outlet. We have decided to respect the decision of the victim's closest relatives to go public with the confirmation of the victim's death, over the wishes of Kyoto Animation, who have yet to release the names of the victims.

The Mainichi Shimbun newspaper confirmed on Wednesday that 49-year-old Kyoto Animation color designer Naomi Ishida passed away in the fire that engulfed the company's 1st Studio building on July 18. The newspaper confirmed Ishida's death through an interview with her parents. Ishida is one of the 34 confirmed fatalities in the fire.

Ishida's parents and younger brother (48) were among about 30 people who attended her wake on Thursday.

Ishida's parents told the newspaper that they believed she normally worked at Kyoto Animation's 2nd Studio building. Therefore, they initially said Ishida was safe when friends and relatives asked about her well-being. However, Ishida's parents were unable to reach her on her cell phone. They stated that Kyoto Animation called them around 9:30 p.m. the night of the fire to say that the studio could not confirm Ishida's safety. Ishida's parents said authorities informed them on Tuesday that they had identified Ishida's remains after DNA testing.

Ishida lived with her parents in Kyoto's Fushimi ward, and both of her parents had worked with traditional Kyoto products in their careers. Ishida's father (83) worked in the clothing dyeing industry, and her mother (78) wove traditional Nishijin obi sashes. Ishida took an interest in crafts at a young age, and she was part of her junior high school's drama club. Her parents noted that she often drew characters such as Galaxy Express 999's Maetel in a notebook around that time. After graduating high school, Ishida attended a vocational school in Osaka and studied animation. She joined Kyoto Animation at the age of 22.

Ishida had been working in Kyoto Animation since at least 1993, well before the studio was producing its own works. She worked on painting and coloring on such anime as Inuyasha, Nurse Witch Komugi, and some Doraemon and Crayon Shin-chan films (all these had outsourced some of its coloring work to Kyoto Animation at the time). She is credited as the main color designer in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (both seasons), HYOUKA, and Amagi Brilliant Park, as well as color setting for individual episodes of shows such as Air, Kanon, Clannad After Story, Free! Eternal Summer, Violet Evergarden, Sound! Euphonium 2, Free! Dive to the Future, and Tsurune. Among the studio's feature film works, she was the color designer for The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, A Silent Voice, and Liz and the Blue Bird.

News services reported on Thursday that police have confirmed, through DNA testing, the identities of all 34 people who died in the fire at Kyoto Animation's 1st Studio building. In addition, The Mainichi Shimbun reported that 21 of the victims were female and 13 were male. The victims ages ranged from their 20s to 60s, and more than half of the victims who died were in their 20s and 30s. Investigative sources state the police plan to reveal the names "soon."

Daisuke Okada, the lawyer Kyoto Animation has hired to handle public communication about the incident, stated on the official website for the studio on Wednesday that in order to prioritize the families of the victims, the company does not plan to release the names until after funerals are over.

Kyoto Animation opened a bank account on Wednesday to accept donations, and in less than a day the account has raised 274 million yen (about US$2.53 million) from 14,000 sources, including personal and organizational accounts. The company will give the funds to families of the deceased and injured victims of the fire, as well as for rebuilding.

Thanks to Matt Broussard for the news tip.

Source: The Mainichi Shimbun (添島香苗), link 2 (遠藤浩二、土江洋範、道下寛子)

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