These days, signing on to Twitter first thing in the morning is always a gamble: Will there be a new funny meme to enjoy or some awful atrocity making headlines? Today it was the latter. A suspected arson attack on Japan’s Kyoto Animation studio has claimed the lives of 33 people so far, leaving at least 36 others recovering from their injuries. It’s the worst mass killing in that country in some time, perhaps ever; a suspected arson killed 44 back in 2001, though it was ruled accidental.
But there are some positives to come out of this tragedy. Houston-based Sentai Filmworks, which licenses and localizes anime and other Japanese content to make it more accessible through a number of outlets like streaming and home video, has a long-standing relationship with KyoAni, as the studio is known in the business. The company quickly set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to support the victims; more than 25,000 fans have already surpassed the goal of $750,000 by quite a lot, though it’s important to mention that the toll and the cost of the attack has yet to be calculated.
Here’s what Sentai Filmworks had to say about the attack and the fund to support the victims:
An update from our president, John Ledford: pic.twitter.com/mNwiqA1PKr
— Sentai Filmworks @ Otakon (@SentaiFilmworks) July 18, 2019
Kyoto Animation has been around since 1981 as both an animation studio and light novel publisher. Their anime series, produced in part by salaried animators (a rarity in an industry full of freelancers attempting to break through), include the Full Metal Panic sequels, the Free! franchise (which I adore), K-On!, and more recently Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid. On the feature film side of things, KyoAni was responsible for the acclaimed and award-winning 2016 film A Silent Voice.
Surely KyoAni will recover as a company. Unfortunately, the cost of human lives can’t be measured in currency. Whatever the GoFundMe campaign ends up raising, it’ll never be able to replace what the arsonist took away. It will, however, go a long way towards assisting the victims of the attack and in showing support to KyoAni from animation fans the world over. Our thoughts and support go out to everyone affected by this tragedy.