Kyoto Animation fire leaves at least 26 dead following suspected attack

Kyoto Animation has been set on fire in a suspected arson attack, creating a deadly blaze that has left at least 26 people dead and many more injured out of the anime production studio’s staff and other guests. Also known as KyoAni, the company is well-known and well-regarded in the anime community for creating excellent series while also treating its employees very well in an industry that is often plagued with long hours and low pay.

Japan’s national broadcast service NHK reports that a man was allegedly seen pouring what appeared to be gasoline inside of Kyoto Animation at approximately 10:30 AM JST. The suspect then reportedly set the building on fire, causing a blaze to quickly spread throughout the three-story structure. Police have detained the man and he is currently in custody.

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Approximately 70 people were inside Kyoto Animation at the time of the fire. 36 people remain in hospital, with many in a critical condition.

Among the people in the building was Director Tatsuya Ishihara, the man who directed the works ClannadThe Melancholy of Haruhi SuzumiyaLove, Chunibyo & Other Delusions, and several other anime over a period of more than a decade.

Japanese police believe that the suspect is a 41-year-old man based on a driver’s licensee found on his person. The suspect was reportedly telling people to “die” as he allegedly set the fire; police also found several “knife-like” objects at the scene, although they are not yet certain whether or not they belong to the suspect. They have also reportedly confirmed that the suspect was not a current or former employee of Kyoto Animation.

Officials are continuing to investigate the tragedy and get an accounting of the injured and dead. In the meantime, fans and other industry professionals have been expressing their condolences and looking for ways to support the studio that suffered through such a horrifying event. Sentai Filmworks — a licensing company focused on anime based in the U.S. — has started up a GoFundMe campaign for the studio that has already raised more than $173,000 of its $500,000 goal in less than 24 hours. Twitter user @FWAsteria also pointed out that KyoAni sells high-resolution digital images on their website for ¥216 (≈$2.00/£1.60/€1.78) that you can order without having to worry about shipping things overseas.

KyoAni is known for creating a multitude of anime television shows and movies over the years. Their works include Full Metal Panic! The Second RaidThe Melancholy of Haruhi SuzumiyaK-On!Free!A Silent Voice, and dozens of other shows and movies.

Image Credit: JIJI PRESS / Contributor / Getty Images