Kyoto Animation, known to many as KyoAni, located in Kyoto, Japan, suffered a horrific tragedy earlier this morning when it was burned down in an apparent arson attack. Although these situations are often fluid and we don’t get the full picture of events until well after, we do know that the horrific and tragic attack has claimed over 30 lives.
Since news of the fire and the attack first came in late last night domestic time, the reported death toll has been steadily rising. As of this morning, Deadline reports that according to local emergency services, the death toll from the attack has now risen to 33, and sadly the number of fatalities is expected to rise in time. The suspected arson attack has also resulted in dozens of injuries and there still may be many people unaccounted for.
This attack occurred at 10 a.m. local time when an unidentified man allegedly entered Kyoto Animation’s 1st Studio Building in Fujimi Ward, Kyoto City and sprayed an unidentified liquid, believed to be gasoline, on the floors around the building before igniting it. An explosion occurred in the building and was heard nearby around 10:30 a.m.
The unidentified 41-year-old man is in custody and was taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries. The suspect has reportedly admitted to the crime, although the motive behind the attack has yet to be determined or publicly revealed. According to THR, initial reports did not find any connection between the suspect and Kyoto Animation. The suspect allegedly shouted some variation of “die” or “drop dead” as he set the fires.
The fire at Kyoto Animation is the worst in terms of number of casualties in nearly two decades and the attack stands as the worst mass murder in Japan post-World War II.
Kyoto Animation, founded in 1981 by the husband and wife team of Hideaki and Yoko Hatta, is one of Japan’s most renowned, popular and respected anime studios, spoken of by some in the same manner as the esteemed Studio Ghibli. KyoAni produces films and TV shows including K-On!, A Silent Voice: The Movie, Full Metal Panic, Free! And Violet Evergarden: The Movie.
In the notoriously brutal and high-pressure Japanese anime industry, Kyoto Animation is an anomaly in that it is respected for actually being a decent place to work. As explained by THR, not only does KyoAni treat its animators well, it makes them salaried employees, in contrast to the more common practice of freelancers making low rates.
In addition to those better working conditions, Kyoto Animation artists are allowed more time on their work in an industry that is known for stressful deadlines and long hours. Many see the treatment of its animators directly reflected in Kyoto Animation’s works and judging by the stunning and clean animation on KyoAni’s YouTube page, it’s hard to argue.
CinemaBlend offers our condolences to all those affected by this attack.