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Death Toll Rises to 34 in Kyoto Animation Studio Arson Attack

With a man succumbing to his injuries on Saturday, the death toll from last Thursday’s tragic arson attack on the Kyoto, Japan anime studio now stands at 34. 

Aftermath of last Thursday’s tragic arson attack on Kyoto Animation Studio that killed 34 people.

The death toll from last Thursday’s horrific arson attack on Japanese anime studio Kyoto Animation Studio now stands at 34 with the passing on Saturday of a man injured in the tragedy. As reported by the BBC and multiple news outlets, the man in police custody suspected in the attack, Shinji Aoba, has been transferred to an Osaka hospital suffering from serious burns.

Little is known about any motive for the attack on the studio’s three-story headquarters, as Aoba has yet to be fully questioned by police. According to the BBC report, neighbors saw a man resembling the suspect near the studio the previous Monday carrying what appeared to be petrol cans. On Wednesday, two students reportedly saw a man dressed similarly to the suspect lying on a bench near the studio. People who witnessed Aoba’s arrest said they heard him complaining that the studio, also known as KyoAni, had stolen his ideas.

NHK, a Japanese public broadcaster, reported that Aoba has a criminal record and had previously been jailed for stealing money from a convenience store. KyoAni’s president has also been reported saying he’d recently received threatening letters, but it’s not known if they are connected to Aoba or the attack.

Police have said the attacker entered the studio and splashed petrol from a bucket before setting it ablaze and shouting, “Die!” Most of the fire’s victims were found collapsed on a third-floor stairway as they tried to escape to the roof. According to the Kyodo news agency, that door was shut, fatally trapping people trying to flee the inferno.

Founded in 1981, the well-respected KyoAni is noted for films such as A Silent Voice (2016) and Liz and the Blue Bird (2018), as well as the series Violet Evergarden, which was recently licensed by Netflix.

Image by L26 published under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
Dan Sarto's picture

Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.