A 41-year-old man in Toyko, Japan burst through the doors of Kyoto Animation Studios setting it on fire as he shouted, “You die!” The man was taken to a hospital for treatment as the police investigated the incident on suspicion of arson.
After the offender used an unidentifiable accelerate, he lit a match and set fire to the studio’s front doors. The media suspect that the fire was set at the front door to eliminate an easy escape. After firefighters had the flames under control they entered the building to search for survivors.
They discovered 33 dead bodies throughout the building—2 on the first floor, 11 on the second, and 20 on the third. Some of the bodies were discovered in the stairway leading to the roof trying to escape the smoke and flames. Another 36 people were treated for injuries.
One witness said, “There was an explosion, then I heard people shouting, some asking for help. Black smoke was rising from windows on upper floors, then there was a man struggling to crawl out of the window.”
Others from a nearby neighborhood said they heard loud bangs and noises coming from inside the studio as employees emerged from the building bleeding and walking barefoot.
Employees of Kyoto Animation, better known as KyoAni, mentioned that the man was not a fellow co-worker. Another witness to the crime said that she had seen the man complaining that something of his had been stolen. Whether he believes the company was responsible is not yet known.
Public broadcasting company in Japan, NHK, had footage that showed several sharp knives that local police seized from the crime scene although it has yet to be determined if they belonged to the perpetrator.
KyoAni president Hideki Hatta condemned the attack on his company and staff saying, “Why on earth did such violence have to be used?” He also mentioned that it’s not uncommon for his company to receive death threats via email, but they’ve always responded in an appropriate manner.
Fans of anime and the work that KyoAni has produced expressed a myriad of emotions including anger and extreme sadness. Sentai Filmworks, an American company based in Houston, Texas that specializes in Japanese animation and film, has started a GoFundMe page to helps those affected by the tragedy.