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Kyoto Animation President States in Interview That All Materials, Computers Were Destroyed in Fire

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Sentai Filmworks, Animate both start fundraising campaigns

In an interview for the mass media on Friday, Kyoto Animation president Hideaki Hatta stated that all of the past animation materials and computers housed in Kyoto Animation's 1st Studio building were destroyed in Thursday's fire in the building. Hatta told the media, "The [monetary] amount of the damage? Extreme. I don't know the full details."

Kyoto Animation's 1st Studio building is located near Rokujizō Station in Uji City in Kyoto. Most of the studio's main line production takes place inside the building. The company also has a head office, a 2nd Studio building, a Tokyo Office, and the Animation DO building in other locations.

Hatta stated in the interview, "I am deeply heartbroken. I can't bear it. I never even in my dreams would have thought such a large disaster would happen." He later added, "This is a serious blow to our company and our industry. Every one of them was an excellent and wonderful colleague."

On Thursday at around 10:30 a.m. JST, a devastating fire broke out at Kyoto Animation's 1st Studio building, killing 33 people and injuring 35 others. 30 fire engines responded to the fire, and firefighters were able to extinguish the fire within five hours after it started, but the fire was not fully put out until 6:20 a.m. on Friday.

Of those confirmed dead, firefighters found two people on the first floor, 11 people on the second floor, one person in a stairwell between the second and third floors, and 19 people on the stairwell between the third floor and the rooftop.

Kyoto Prefectural Police have already apprehended a 41-year-old man who allegedly used gasoline to start the fire, and are investigating the case as arson. The suspect is among those injured (although he is separate from the above-mentioned 35 injured).

The Mainichi Shimbun newspaper stated that according to investigative sources, the suspect told police that he started the fire because he alleges Kyoto Animation "stole his novel." NHK has also stated that according to investigative sources, the suspect was indicted in 2012 for a convenience store robbery, and served 3.5 years in prison. Police have yet to fully arrest or interrogate the suspect, as he is still injured, and as such have not released an official statement on the suspect's motive. Police will later interrogate the subject to obtain his motive for the alleged attack.

Editors note: ANN's news team have decided not to publish the name of the suspect accused of arson.

Sentai Filmworks has set up a page on the GoFundMe website to raise money for the victims, and the campaign has raised more than US$1.3 million. Sentai Filmworks stated on the page that it is "actively working to establish the most direct bridge to delivering this aid to affected KyoAni staff and their families." The company stated the money "will not be touched until [Sentai Filmworks has] confidence [the funds] will reach the intended recipients. We want donors and those considering donating to this drive to understand that, apart from GoFundMe's fees to provide a platform for support, every dollar collected will go to the intended recipients."

Sentai Filmworks has not yet specifically stated exactly what it will do with the money or who it will go to, and has not stated that it has assurance from Kyoto Animation that the company or its staff will accept the money.

Similarly, the Animate retail chain announced on Friday that it has started collecting donations for the victims at all its retail locations around Japan. The company has also not yet specifically stated how the money will be used, and has not yet decided when the fundraising campaign will end.

Crunchyroll also started accepting messages of support, including photographs or art, to Kyoto Animation through its website. Crunchyroll stated, "We will report back here on how we will present these messages to the studio, and to the friends and family of those affected by this tragedy."

Aside from a fire in a commercial building that killed 44 people in 2001 (where arson was suspected), the incident is the worst mass murder in Japan's post-World War II history.

Sources: Sponichi, Animate, Oricon, The Mainichi (Hiroshi Odanaka, Satoshi Fukutomi, Ayako Hiramoto, Yuki Nakagawa), NHK World, NHK TV reports, Reuters (Kiyoshi Takenaka) via My Game News Flash

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