Arsonist claims Kyoto Animation “ripped off other people’s work.”

Anime studio Kyoto Animation, the company behind numerous hits such as The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Lucky Star, Clanaad, K-On!!, and Free!, has a production facility, designated Studio 1, in Kyoto’s Fushimi Ward, near Rokujizo Station. On the morning of July 18, at around 10:30, a man walked into Studio 1 and began pouring a liquid, believed to be gasoline, around the facility. Witnesses report that the man shouted “Die!” while doing this, and then set the liquid ablaze, causing a fire and a loud explosion.

The fire quickly spread throughout the three-story building, where approximately 70 employees were working at the time.

▼ Video of the fire

Approximately 30 fire trucks were dispatched to fight the blaze, but three hours later, the fire was still burning. At least three dozen victims have been sent to the hospital, with 12 deaths already confirmed and rescue workers expecting the death toll to climb higher still.

After lighting the fire, the arsonist, a 41-year-old man whose name has not yet been released, ran from the scene, but was taken into custody by police before he could flee far. A number of bladed instruments were also found at the scene of the fire, though investigators have not yet confirmed whether they belonged to the arsonist or not.

▼ Investigators examining what appear to be the bladed instruments

Witnesses say that when asked by police at the scene why he had set the fire, the man said “They did pakirui.” Pakuri is the Japanese word for copying another’s art or creative work, though the indistinct nature of the Japanese language makes it unclear whether the man was accusing Kyoto Animation of copying his work specifically, or that of another creator/creators.

The arsonist had sustained injuries by the time he was taken into custody, and was also transported to a hospital for medical treatment, though witnesses report that he told the police “I spread gasoline around the studio. I lit it with a lighter.”

In addition to the Kyoto Animation employees who have injured or perished, several workers whereabouts remain unaccounted for.

Sources: NHK News Web, Yahoo! News/Sankei Shimbun, The Sankei News via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@Rikkachan0127
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