Takami Akai (赤井 孝美) is one of the 4 founders of Studio Gainax along with Hideaki Anno, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, and Shinji Higuchi. "He resigned from Gainax in 2007" after inappropriate remarks were made by him and another staff member concerning fan criticism about Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann on the 2ch internet channel, but he is still with his own company named NineLives. Akai and Anno were classmates at the Osaka University of Arts where he majored in fine art. He is a frequent guest at anime conventions in California and Germany.
Along with creating the character design for the Daicon III and IV opening animations, he provided character designs for other series such as Crest/Banner of the Stars, Petite Princes Yucie, Princess Maker (game creator), and Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi. His last work under Gainax was Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann as producer up till episode 4, when he resigned.