Kyoto Animations’ Studio 1 burned down yesterday, and it soon became one of the biggest tragedies in the Japanese animation industry. The fire itself was the result of arson, done by a man with a grudge towards the company.
The Kyoto Fire department has since released a report on the matter, revealing that there were 33 deaths, 10 heavy injured, 6 moderately injured and 20 lightly injured due to the fire. The total number of victims stands at 69.
There is still no confirmation on who those who passed away are. As for the suspect, he was injured as well taken to a nearby hospital to be treated. He is now in police custody and is being questioned.
The Fire department stated that the 41-year old male suspect was seen carrying two 2-Litre cans of gasoline to the building. He was yelling curses to the people inside the building before pouring the gasoline and lighting it up. He also shouted “Die!” as he lighted the fire. He then ran away to a nearby train station where he was captured, presumably by KyoAni staff members.
The disgruntled suspect was confirmed to not be a staff member or even a former one. Several eyewitnesses even stated that he was claiming that Kyoto Animation ripped him off. He could be facing Arson charges, as well as murder or homicide charges, in addition to property damage and many more crimes.
Kyoto Animation Producer Hideaki Hatta did manage to talk to the media and said he was saddened by the developments. He also admitted that the studio has been receiving threats addressed to their office and sales department. The threats were sent via email and told the staffers to “die”. Hatta says that he is now heartbroken for the loss of many of his colleagues. Hatta worked as a producer for many KyoAni works, including Lucky Star, Free!, and Violet Evergarden.
How you can help directly,
The fire has certainly ravaged the legendary animation studio, and to help them out, we suggest buying the digital print products from their official KyoAni store. The money spent would be going directly to Kyoto Animation and you would get a digital print from anime titles like “Free” and Sound! Euphonium.
Alternatively, Sentai Film Works, a licensee to various Kyoto Animation’s works in North America, has set up a Go Fund Me Page.
The campaign has now reached over a million US dollars in donations, well passed the original 500,000 USD goal. With the company promised that it will be donating the entire amount to KyoAni’s rebuilding.
Crunchyroll is collecting supportive messages from fans to give to KyoAni, so if you cannot donate, you can at least let the people back in Kyoto know you are thinking about them.
Founded in 1981, Kyoto Animation is affectionately known as Kyoani. As an animation company, they are known for their excellent storytelling technics and animation quality.
They are also credited for many works that every anime lover would have at least heard of. Just to list a few, AIR, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, K-On!, Lucky Star, Free!, A Silent Voice, Violet Evergarden and more.
In the time of outsourced animator and cost-cutting, they stand out as one of the only to provide full-time employment to all their animating staff and crew.
We here at So Japan deeply condemn the actions of the arsonist. We would like to convey our condolences to the deceased’s mourning families, and our support to the company and its employees.
Sources: Kyoto Fire Department Press Release and BBC News
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