Kyoto Animation arson suspect claims the studio “ripped him off”

Kyoto Animation arson suspect claims the studio “ripped him off”
Photo: The Mainichi

News of the arson attack of Kyoto Animation’s studio shook Japan last Thursday. The fire has reached a death toll of 33 persons and left dozens injured.

Kyoto Animation is one of Japan’s leading producers of anime.

The 41-year-old man who allegedly set the studio on fire is now under the custody of Japanese authorities according to local news outlets. He was seen by witnesses pouring flammable liquid at the Studio 1 building of Kyoto Animation before setting it on fire. Locals residing near the studio saw smoke rising from the building following a loud sound of an explosion heard from the site. The incident happened around 10 a.m JST morning of July 18th.

A witness claims the alleged perpetrator was screaming “Die” as he started the fire. One other suspect says she heard the suspect tell authorities that the studio “ripped me off” when asked why he started the fire. The man has no connections to Kyoto Animation whatsoever according to local media. Police said the suspect broke into the studio and sprayed petrol in the site before igniting it.

One neighbor was interviewed “I saw some people with burns, covered with something. They were rushed to the ambulance.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has responded to the tragic incident, saying it was “too appalling for words” and offered condolences to the families of the deceased victims.

The tragedy is recorded as one of Japan’s worst peacetime mass casualty incidents.

The animation company was founded in 1981. Among its well-known productions include Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and Free!, among many others.

Kyoto Animation, founded in 1981, is known for anime like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Lucky Star, K-On! and more recently, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and Free!, among many others. While the building that was set on fire was its main animation studio, the company’s head office is in Uji City, Kyoto, which is about 20 minutes away by car.