Just a few weeks ago, Kyoto Animation was the victim of a terrible tragedy, as their 1st Studio building was the victim of an arson that resulted in injuries and the loss of many lives. The studio has begun the slow process to recovery, and many of the employees have begun returning to work in one of the other operational studios. As reported by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, and translated by SoraNews24, one artist has spoken anonymously about the experience.
The 52 year old veteran, who's been working with Kyoto Animation since the 1980s, was in the 1st Studio building during the arson incident and talked about how they're trying to move on and cope in face of the heartbreak.
As noted by SoraNews24, the artist was on the second floor of the three-story building when the arsonist entered, "He heard screams coming from below as the building’s interior quickly filled with smoke, meaning that he could neither escape via the interior stairs nor stay where he was. In desperation, he decided to jump from a second-floor balcony, and though he suffered a contusion from the resulting impact, he managed to escape with his life."
Although the injury has yet to heal completely, the artist has already returned to work stating, "I feel better when I’m working.” But rather than be a heartbreaking forcing oneself to move on, the artist wants to keep putting out the greatest work they can to honor his lost friends and coworkers, “I want to keep doing my best, so that people won’t feel like the quality of Kyoto Animation’s anime has dropped at all...Continuing to create anime, in the same way we always have, is the greatest counterattack to what the arsonist did."
On July 18th at around 10:30 AM JST, Kyoto Animation's 1st Studio was struck by a tragic fire. Reports have indicated that the fire has resulted in over 30 casualties, and over 30 injured as of this writing. With 30 fire engines responding to the fire, firefighters were able to completely extinguish the fire five hours after in began. The fire is reportedly being investigated as an arson, and the suspect responsible has reportedly been identified and their potential motive has been revealed. Kyoto Animation president Hideaki Hatta is also considering erecting a memorial park in the place of the tragedy.
Recently, the Kyoto Prefectural Police have revealed the identities of ten of the lives lost during the fire. After confirming with the mourning families that it was okay, and after the funeral services for each of those lost were completed, those ten names are now public. As for revealing the identities of the remaining victims, the police will be working with the remaining families closely before making them public. ComicBook.com will continue to share updates as new reports arrive, and our thoughts are with all those affected by the tragedy.