While everyone was occupied with the start of the new anime season, a tragedy has struck the industry. Animation studio Kyoto Animation was recently set ablaze due to arson, which has lead to over 30 people being confirmed dead. The perpetrator was apparently 41 years old, and while there has been speculation regarding his motive, I don't want to claim random Twitter and Reddit comments to be anything else than speculation.
The impact this horrible incident has had on the anime community is clear, as a link to an NHK article posted on r/anime gained twenty thousand upvotes, and popular anime YouTubers such as Digibro, The Pedantic Romantic, Mothers Basement and The Anime Man all spoke out on Twitter about this incident. Even Japan's Prime Minsister, Shinzo Abe, tweeted about the incident, wishing for a swift recovery for those caught in the fire.
Kyoto Animation is perhaps the most well known anime studio, as it employs directors such as Yamada Naoko, who is known for her many works such as 'K-On', 'Tamako Market', 'A Silent Voice', and worked as series production director on 'Hibike Euphonium'. KyoAni is probably best known because of their reputation as being an animation studio with consistent quality in visuals and for being one of the few animation studios not located in Tokyo. They're also known for training a lot of their staff in house and generally having better working conditions compared to other studios, to this is mostly due to their focus on scheduling production well, as a rushed production and lackluster staff is almost always the reason for a bad show, not low budgets.
It is a great tragedy, and one which will definetely be felt within the community at large. Many great artistic minds were lost, and one may wonder what sort of impact this will have on the studio. For now, the anime distribution and licensing company Sentai Filmworks set up a GoFundMe to help KyoAni, and I hope that the money can be put to good use. Animation Studios tend to focus more on just getting freelance workers when needed instead of training their staff over long periods of time, so for a studio with only 200 employees to lose such a large amount of their staff is insane.
At least, we can now take comfort in the fact that everyone inside the building is now safe, and that the fire has been put out.