On July 18, 2019, shortly after 10:30 am, local time, a fire broke out at Kyoto animation’s main studio building. It was a horrific event that left 36 people dead and another 34 injured. As the horrible details kept trickling in, it was revealed that the fire in question had been an act of intentional arson. Anime fans all over the world mourned the tragedy.
In the months after the fire, fans and business all over Japan raised about ¥3.3 billion, on top of the over US$2.3 million raised all over the world.
It took almost a year for the ‘suspect’ Shinji Aoba, to be officially arrested as he was critically injured (from setting himself on fire) and was recovering until May 27, 2020. It seems that Aoba does have a history of both criminal activity and mental illness.
The studio seemed determine to recover from the blow and then well… 2020 has not been a good year.
Kyoto animation meant a lot to a lot of anime fans. After the devastating news hit, shows of support great and small came in from all over the news. My fellow bloggers wrote about how they were affected by the events. So did I. It was a sombre and sad time for a lot of us. I can’t imagine what the families of the victims had to go through.
I decided to write this today because I still love Kyoto animation. I probably always will. The studio has produced a lot of works that are dear to me. A year ago, I thanked Kyoto for taking me on adventures through beautiful pastel worlds, for introducing me to charming vulnerable kind and witty friends, for peppering my own world with little sparks of pure magic that I will always cherish.
Those feelings haven’t changed. And I haven’t forgotten the fear and heartbreak I felt. I haven’t forgotten the echoes of that anguish reflected among the thousands of fans all over the world who had also been moved by Kyoto animation’s brilliance. I’ll never forget the news images and how an unrelated woman, seemingly just walking to work, stopped to watch firemen try to combat the flames and burst into tears. I burst into tears right alongside her. We have to stop waiting for tragedy to unite us.
It’s been exactly a year. And sadly, other tragedies have happened since. There are arguably more pressing or important matters to worry about right now. But if you have a minute, spare a little thought for the huge amount of talent we all lost a year ago and how the world became just a little less magic that day. And maybe, spare a little hope for that magic returning to us.
I will probably not figure out exactly how to express what I want to, so I’ll leave it at once again, Thank you for your hard work Kyoto Animation. I will wait for you, for as long as it takes.