Grave of the Firefles - Yoshifumi Kondo & Yoshiyuki Momose Image Boards
Thanks to the miracle of the intertubes, we're able to take a look at Yoshifumi Kondo's production artwork for Grave of the Fireflies. And since my internet connection is cooperating, I'll have to move fast.
Kondo was the animation director and character designer for Grave of the Fireflies. He was Takahata's right-hand man, just as he had been in Anne of Green Gables in 1979. Kondo's quiet realism was critical in achieving the emotional impact that Grave of the Fireflies required. I can't imagine this film succeeding with anyone else at the helm.
Takahata has always possessed a remarkable sense for talent, for finding the perfect people to collaborate on his films. These artists are crucial for the "director who does not draw," for obvious reasons. And there's no doubt that Kondo was a crucial fit, as perfect a fit as Hayao Miyazaki was back in the 1970s. There is no doubt that had he lived, Kondo would have achieved great things. And there most certainly would have been another Takahata movie sometime in the last decade.
Edit: I'm told that Yoshiyuki, another key Ghibli player and Takahata right-hand-man, drew many of the image boards for Grave of the Fireflies. I'm always a great fan of his work, and I'm sure he's involved in Takahata's new film that's currently in production at Ghibli.