Emru Townsend dies at 39

Emru Townsend died of leukemia on November 11. He was only 39 years-old.
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We have already talked about his diagnosis, document.write(“”); his
quest for a bone marrow donor and his successful transplant. Unfortunately, his cancer was too aggressive and the leukemia didn’t go into remission despite the successful transplant. Many have already written his eulogy and obituary (ANN, The Gazette, PC World), so there’s no need for me to write about that. However, I still wanted to say a few words about him.

I didn’t know him very well, but I wish we’d stayed more in contact. We worked on a few projects together in the late 80s and early 90s, but recently we were only meeting by chance in conventions and festivals. He started collaborating with Protoculture Addicts with issue #2 (providing ideas, news blurbs and working as proofreader) and we started together the first anime club of the University of Montreal. After a while Emru drifted away to work on his many projects (he always had new ideas and projects) and I took care of the anime club alone. He contributed only a few articles in the magazine (mostly one on Project A-ko in #4 and one on Akira in #7), but his work was excellent and he pitched in many ideas and always provided encouragement.

Quickly after starting working with us, he requested to be made partner. I answered that I would like him to work with us at least a year before considering that. He couldn’t wait, so he left and started his own magazine, FPS. I always felt that he never forgave me for that. Later, he heavily criticized the quality of our Anime Guide book, blaming me personally (and my french-canadian origins) for the book’s flaws (despite the fact that I only wrote the presentation and supervised the project, hiring instead the best Italian translator and the best English editor that we could afford). It was probably a philosophical difference: I guess Emru was a perfectionist while I am rather a pragmatist (after having worked six years to get that book published I wanted the information—the data—available to anime fans and scholars as soon as possible even if I knew that its form and presentation were quite imperfect). However, despite those differences, I never felt animosity between us and I always admired the quality of his work and dedication.

He was a great guy and he will be sorely missed by all animation fans. I want to express my sincere condolences to his family and friends.

You can visit Emru’s Blog, Facebook group and web hub to learn more about his work.


Life is like a game of chess. To ensure success you have to plan ahead as far and as many eventual outcomes as possible. Only you are not playing against an adversary, document.write(“”); but against adversity.


I feel a little SADness. Not that I am really sad (although someone I knew did die last week), document.write(“”); but I feel affected by the Seasonal Affective Disorder. Like if I was not depressed enough, now the lack of sunlight is prolonging the misery. It seems that I am trying to compensate by seeking exposure to the tube… I am really watching too much teevee and I should cut back on the series addiction—but it does improve my mood. I feel like I’m sucking up the drama of those characters’ very existence to replenish my emotional energy and bring back to life my dried up soul. I still feel tired, physically and mentally weak, but my Qi is slowly coming back.

After constantly beeing on the verge of burn-out for the last few years, I really had to take a month or so of vacation. To recharge my batteries. I fell in a strange torpor, and the world was flashing by me like if it was on fastforward. It was quite strange. It was like if I was waiting for something to happen. Now that I start feeling better (but I still need to really shape up, go out to exercice and see some people) I really have to speed up things and get back on track. The work is pilling up and I am getting way behind schedule. But everything is slowly getting back together now.

I am getting behind even on my blog. I promised myself that I would “review” every book I read and every movie I watch and I did not. Although not everything is worth sharing my opinion, I want to try making short comments (even if only one hundred words) about most of my reading and viewing. Just to keep the mind and the writing skill sharp. So I’ll try to slowly catch up.

Winter is really close-by. At the end of October we got our first snow flurries and last night we got snow on the ground for the first time. I like winter. Everything seems to slow down and it all becomes so quiet and beautiful.

To my American friends and readers I would like to wish a nice Thanksgiving. For my part, I am grateful to live in such a great and uneventful country (Canada). I am grateful to my beautiful wife. I am grateful to have always worked in something interesting. Be thankful for what you have, ’cause you never know what could happen. Good night and good luck.