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Arsonist attack at Japan's Kyoto Animation kills 33

By Josh Grossberg
Kyoto Animation Arson Attack

The unthinkable has hit KyoAni.

At least 33 people were killed Thursday after an arsonist set fire to a building at Japan's Kyoto Animation, the studio known for such popular anime series as Full Metal Panic!, K-On! and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and performing contract work for Studio Ghibli.

Per Variety, citing Japanese public broadcaster NHK, a 41-year-old man who was hospitalized for burns is now in custody after admitting he sprayed flammable liquid around the three-story building, sparking a blaze and subsequent explosion on the first floor.

Firefighters responded to reports of a fire quickly spreading through the structure at 10:30 a.m. local time. More than 70 people were inside when it happened and at least 12 bodies were discovered on the first and second floor and another 10 people were found on the third floor and in a stairway in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest. While more than 36 people were said to be injured.

Local media reported the suspect was seen screaming "Die!" as he set the building alight and then tried to escape but ended up collapsing on the street outside where he was caught by a studio employee. So far, investigators have not yet determined a motive for the arson and the man is not believed to be connected with the company.

But KyoAni president Hideaki Hatta told reporters that the studio has been the target of ongoing death threats over the years, including "recent emails sent to the sales department saying that we should die."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took to Twitter to mourn the loss of the victims.  

The Prime Minister was joined by several prominent animation companies in expressing their condolences over the tragedy. 


Additionally, a GoFundMe has been set up by Sentai Filmworks to help the victims and the families of those impacted by the tragedy at Kyoto Animation. In its first 12 hours, the campaign has already blown past its initial $750,000 goal and is currently at over $800,000. You can donate to the Help KyoAni Heal fund here

Kyoto Animation, aka KyoAni, was founded in 1981 and has become one of Japan's premiere animation houses, responsible for not only publishing original manga but also churning out a slew of hit anime series and movies based on light novels, the Japanese equivalent of the YA genre.

Among its most famous TV anime offerings are Full Metal Panic!, K-On! Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions, Sound! Euphonium and Violet Evergarden with the last three all receiving the big screen treatment along with a film adaptation of Kotoko Ayano's Tsurune novel, which recently aired on NHK.

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