Photo/IllutrationStunned anime fans stand in mourning in front of the No. 1 studio of Kyoto Animation Co. in Kyoto’s Fushimi Ward on Aug. 2. (Kazushige Kobayashi)

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KYOTO--Acclaimed anime director Yasuhiro Takemoto was among the 35 victims of the arson attack at a prominent Kyoto Animation studio here last month, along with veteran animator Yoshiji Kigami, prefectural police said.

Police initially withheld the names of the victims at the behest of Kyoto Animation, citing privacy reasons.

The company, which is based in the city's Fushimi Ward, asked police not to identify the victims on July 22, four days after the attack. It said that making the names of the victims public "could cause further grief to the bereaved families as it would be a violation of their privacy."

Police decided to release the names of 10 of the deceased after their bereaved families gave their consent and in light of the fact that funeral services have already been held.

Takemoto, 47, was highly regarded for his work on “The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya” and “Lucky Star,” while Kigami, 61, was revered for his contributions to key frames in such renowned movies as “Doraemon,” “Grave of the Fireflies” and “AKIRA.”

The arson attack was the deadliest massacre in Japan in three decades.

Police said they will continue to make efforts to gain the understanding of relatives and the anime studio toward the disclosure of the remaining 25 employees.

Thirty-three others were injured.

In principle, The Asahi Shimbun's editorial policy is to identify victims when reporting cases and incidents while observing the right of the individuals to privacy. The daily believes that doing so helps give readers a sense of the gravity of events when precious lives are lost.

The suspect, identified as 41-year-old Shinji Aoba, a resident of Saitama, allegedly doused the No. 1 studio of Kyoto Animation with gasoline and set it alight, trapping many employees inside. Aoba is receiving treatment for severe burns and remains hospitalized.

The 10 victims named, six men and four women, ranged in age from 22 to 61. They all resided in Kyoto Prefecture.

Apart from Kigami and Takemoto, the victims identified to date are Yuka Kasama, 22; Sachie Tsuda, 41; Keisuke Yokota, 34; Ami Kuriki, 30; Junichi Uda, 34; Yuki Omura, 23; Futoshi Nishiya, 37; and Mikiko Watanabe, 35.

Kigami had long underpinned Kyoto Animation as a senior official of the company.

In addition to working on “Doraemon” and “AKIRA,” he served as director and playwright when Kyoto Animation released its first original work, “Munto,” in 2003.

He was revered by young animators and also widely admired for his dedication to train budding animators.

“His careful work was instrumental in establishing the style of the company known for its high quality drawings,” said Kiyotaka Moriwaki, a senior curator for film at the Museum of Kyoto, a facility in Kyoto devoted to the history and culture of the ancient capital.

Takemoto joined Kyoto Animation as an animator and later also became involved in directing.

He found fame by directing “Lucky Star” in 2007, “Hyouka” (ice cream) in 2012 and “Amagi Brilliant Park” in 2014.

“Lucky Star,” which was adapted from a four-frame comic strip describing the daily lives of female high school students in a comical manner, set off a trend among anime fans to go on “pilgrimages” of sites portrayed in anime works.

Washinomiyajinja shrine in Kuki, Saitama Prefecture, where "Lucky Star" was set, was mobbed by fans after the anime became a hit.

“The works he created are all he left in his life,” his wife told reporters in front of their home on Aug. 2. “The adoration of fans for his works is what he achieved.”

Nishiya was a key animator at Kyoto Animation, overseeing a slew of works as an animation director.

His representative work, the “Free!” series, saw him responsible for designing the main characters. The series revolves around boys dedicated to swimming.

He worked on three TV series and five films in the “Free!” series since 2013.

The latest film he worked on, “Free! Road to the World--Yume,” is now on general release.

The series proved immensely popular because of the storyline depicting the friendships formed by sensitive and innocent boys, as well as the characters Nishiya created.

He spoke of the series, which marked the sixth anniversary on April 25, on Kyoto Animation’s official blog: “Six years is what it takes a first-grader to graduate from elementary school. That makes me realize that I have aged many years. But I felt refreshed each time I draw pictures.”

Uda was involved in producing animation and key frames of the movie “A Silent Voice.”

He is survived by his wife and a young daughter.

His wife said her husband set his heart on becoming an animator when he was in high school. He had been with Kyoto Animation for 10 years or so since he graduated from a college of arts and attended a professional school for aspiring animators.

“My husband worked like an artisan, carefully working on piece after piece,” she said. “He always said he wanted to be the best at his job so our daughter will be proud of him when she grew up.”