Perpetrator Sentenced in Devastating Case of the Kyoto Anime Studio Fire

The Japanese man who was responsible for the fire had five charges on his name, such as murder, attempted murder and arson.

2019 was a mourning year for anime fans and employees in the industry, as an attack on a famous anime studio, Kyoto Animation, resulted in the death of 34 people, while 36 were injured. The one responsible for the fire was said not to be a worker in the studio, but he planned the attack due to plagiarism suspicions. This was one of the deadliest fires in Japan, and some factors contributed to making it worse. 

The event was shocking for anime fans worldwide, who expressed their heartache for those who created some of the best animations and storylines, from Lucky Star and Clannad to Violet Evergarden and A Silent Voice

However, early this year, the Japanese man who was found guilty of starting the fire was sentenced for arson, and more details about the crime were revealed. 

Lawyers stated mental illness was the reason

The Japanese man who was responsible for the fire had five charges on his name, such as murder, attempted murder and arson. Aged 45, he broke into the building and set petrol alight right in the entrance area, which ere almost fatal for some victims who had to deal with serious burns after the incident.

However, his lawyers stated that the man had a mental disorder that hindered his good judgment, but the statement wasn’t proved to be based on objective evidence. Hence, he was sentenced to death, which is still performed in Japan for those with multiple murder convictions. 

The man also suffered considerable burns from the incident on 90% of his body and had to go through several operations to restore a decent body functioning system, as it took a few weeks after the fire for him to regain consciousness. 

Could this incident have been prevented?

The firefighters stated that the fire’s spreading was unprecedented, and it was considerably difficult to rescue people trapped in the building since a spiral stairwell might have contributed to the easiness of the fire’s spread. Employees did not have enough time to help each other, as many simply collapsed around the building on the first and second floors.

Preventing an event of such magnitude isn’t always easy, even if the company provides all the equipment against fire, such as fire suppression devices, lit-up exits and escape routes. Most of the time, it may happen for businesses to avoid introducing these measures. Still, when such an event occurs and employees are affected, they can sue the company for special damages through services like

Still, the best prevention method is to enhance security around these areas. At the societal level, there should be regular verifications of people whose actions seem premeditated of worse consequences. The local agencies and police stations demanded that gas stations be more wary of their sales by implementing a system through which those who buy gasoline in refillable containers would have to fill out a document with their personal information. At the same time, the police started paying more attention to what other anime studios faced in regard to death threats to mitigate the situation. 

What was the aftermath of the fire?

Part of the employees who were working at the studio and weren’t physically heavily affected returned to work after a month, while others took more time off to cope with the event’s consequences mentally, as stress and anxiety were prominent feelings after the fire. 

The production of a few animes was cancelled, such as Free! At the same time, the Violet Evergarden film was postponed, but since the pandemic also started in 2020, the studio went through many challenges with productions and releases. 

The anime studio has now moved into a new building and received significant help from people’s donations worldwide, allowing them to also continue training sessions to help young animators start their careers. 

Still, Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world 

The impact of the event was significant due to Japan’s low crime rate, which surprised many citizens and outsiders. The country was close to becoming crime-free until a few years later, when the crime rate started to increase after the pandemic. 

There are numerous stats on the situation. First, experts consider that the shrinking population might make crimes more obvious, even if they’re not increasing because the number of older people overcomes the youngsters. 

Unfortunately, some consider the police to have been manipulating the statistics as a way to cover their considerable budgets, as many citizens believe that public safety is lower compared to ten years ago

Upcoming creations of Kyoto studio 

If you’d like to support the studio having a more accessible revival after the event, you could share or watch their latest creations. For instance, the third season of the Sound! Euphonium anime is set to be released in April 2024 and will focus on the third year of high school of the main character Kumiko. The 20 Seiki Denki Mokuroku anime series is to be announced as the studio already published the novel. 

Kyoto Anime Studio was the creator of one of the best anime in history. The story of Violet Evergarden helped the company win the Best Animation award by IGN Awards and the Best Art Director and Actress in a Leading Role. 

A Silent Voice was also one of the best and most emotional creations of the studio that won Best Animation Feature Film, Best Screenplay/Original Story and Feature Film at the Camera Japan Festival. But these are only two of their most famous stories, as the studio has plenty of others to come that will be the legacy of those who dedicated themselves to anime. 

Bottom line

The Kyoto Studio in Japan, known for its unique anime creations, was put on fire by a man who considered their anime to be plagiarised from his ideas. 2019 was an intense year for the company, but as the pandemic followed, things got more challenging. However, at the beginning of 2024, the perpetrator was convicted of the death penalty due to numerous charges.