In a heartbreaking interview with the Japanese media on Friday, Kyoto Animation President Hideaki Hatta has confirmed that all of the studio’s past animation materials and computers were destroyed in the fire that engulfed KyoAni’s 1st Studio building Thursday morning. When asked of the total amount of damage, Hatta replied to the media: “The [monetary] amount of damage? Extreme. I don’t know the full details.”
Hatta also said, “I am deeply heartbroken. I can’t bear it. I never even in my dreams would have thought such a large disaster would happen. This is a serious blow to our company and our industry. Every one of them was an excellent and wonderful colleague.”
Police have apprehended the 41-year-old suspect, who was seen by eyewitnesses trying to run away after dousing the building with petrol and setting it on fire. When the police caught him, the suspect immediately said “I did it” and claimed that Kyoto Animation had “stolen his novel”. According to police, however, the suspect has no direct link with the studio, and his claim could have possibly been the result of a “one-sided view”. Police have yet to conduct a formal interview with the suspect, who remains in the hospital and has yet to recover from his serious injuries.
The suspect (who we will not name in this article) was identified to be a resident of Saitama City but used to live in Ibaraki Prefecture in Honshu, where he was indicted in 2012 for a convenience store robbery. He served three and a half years in jail for this crime. He was also found to have lived in a shelter for former convicts before moving into his present address, which was found on the driver’s license he was carrying with him.
Neighbors of the suspect had reported that he recently got involved in an altercation with a resident, whom he threatened by saying “I’ll kill you”. The suspect was apparently annoyed by the noise coming from the apartment beside him, and when the neighbor denied that the noise was coming from his room, the suspect had said, “Shut up. I’ll kill you. I’ve got enough on my own plate.”
The fire started at around 10:30 AM JST, with the Kyoto City Fire Department immediately dispatching 30 fire engines to respond to the scene. Fire out was officially announced at 3:19 PM JST. The final count places the number of deaths at 33, with 35 injured and already recovering.