Souta Kusada, the illustrator of several Kantai Collection (KanColle) shipgirls, including Mutsuki and HMAS Perth, died on October 5, 2022. She is survived by her husband, who broke the news on her Twitter account on October 10, 2022. The surviving family had held a vigil and funeral ceremony prior to the announcement.
The couple had been acquainted for 14 years and eventually married in January 2020. In the tweet thread, Kusada’s husband mentioned that she “went to heaven by her own volition” on October 5, 2022. He saw an unfinished sketch on her PC screen and a list of appointments with no cancellations on her planner. But as there were no testaments, he assumed she did an impulsive action.
Souta Kusada was best known as the illustrator of five out of twelve Mutsuki-class destroyer shipgirls in KanColle, Kadokawa Games’ PC browser game that popularized the concept of anthropomorphizing historical warships. The roster consisted of the first four ships—Mutsuki, Kisaragi, Yayoi, and Uzuki—and the sixth ship Minazuki. Mutsuki was also one of the main characters in the first KanColle anime season that aired in 2015. Kusada later designed KanColle‘s shipgirl version of the Australian light cruiser, HMAS Perth.
Outside of KanColle, Kusada worked on the design for Mikoto Inunakiyama, the Osaka representative of the hot spring anthropomorphization franchise Onsen Musume. She also created VTuber designs for herself and two other VTubers: Mia Mizugame and Sakaizumi Riri.
Kantai Collection, also known as Fleet Girls Collection and KanColle, is available on PC browsers and Android devices in Japan. An anime adaptation aired in 2015 and is available on Crunchyroll, with a follow-up season set to debut in Japan in November 2022.