Tragedy has unfolded at Kyoto Animation, the beloved company behind such great anime works as A Silent Voice, Free! -Iwatobi Swim Club-, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, Lucky Star, and the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. In particular, they are known for creating both adorable yet emotionally complex works in the high school genre.
At 10:30 AM, the 41-year-old male suspect, who has admitted to the crime, poured gasoline at the entrance of Studio 1 then lit it ablaze. According to witnesses, he yelled “Die” before doing so. At least one female victim could be heard shouting “some stranger spread fuel and lit it! Help us!”
There were at least 70 people working in the three story building. At least 30 have been pronounced dead with dozens more either missing or recorded as being in a state of cardiac arrest, including acclaimed director Yasuhiro Takemoto. Some perished while trying to reach the roof via the stairs. Others made it out of the building while burning.
It’s the worst fire since a 2001 Tokyo incident killed over 40 people.
A motive for the horrible arson and murder has still not been determined.
Hideaki Hatta, the head of Kyoto Animation, spoke of how the studio has received many death threats previously by email, but responded to each one “sincerely.” Hatta lamented “Why on earth did such violence have to be used?”
Around the world, condolences and rallying cries for support have been issued with fans and fellow studios all responding.
Sentai Filmworks, which dubs many of Kyoto Animation’s properties, launched a fundraiser to help victims of the fire and their families.
Kyoto Animation changed countless lives, and now those individuals are doing their part to show their love and gratitude.