Workers begin gutting interior of Fushimi anime studio in preparation of tearing down its frame.

In all likelihood, the emotional scars of the arson attack on anime production company Kyoto Animation will never fully heal. With 36 victims dead and 33 having sustained injuries in the fire, it’s the largest single confirmed homicide incident in Japan’s modern era, and something that even those outside the anime community have been shocked and appalled by.

Life, does, however, go on. It’s now been more than four months since the attack on Kyoto Animation’s Fushimi Ward studio, and the vast majority of injured employees are now back at work. The company has released a new anime movie, and is preparing to begin distributing the generous donations it’s received from around the world (none of which is going to be used for anything other than helping victims and their families get their lives back in some semblance of order).

And now comes another motion towards turning the page on the heartbreaking chapter in Kyoto Animation’s history, as work has begun to demolish the fire-ravaged studio.

On November 23, consistently community-minded Kyoto Animation held a town meeting for local residents outlining its demolition timetable, and on Monday morning, the project began. Shortly after 8:30 a.m., work crews made their way through the security fencing that surrounds the studio to begin gutting its interior and putting up scaffolding. The company expects those steps to take until the end of the year to complete, and once they’ve made sufficient progress, workers will begin demolishing the structure of the three-floor concrete building itself, a process which is projected to begin in early January and take until late April to complete.

The decision to demolish the building came from Kyoto Animation itself. In addition to what were no doubt prohibitive costs for renovation, Kyoto Animation CEO Hideaki Hatta, in a statement made last month, said “Seeing our precious building in the state it’s in now truly pains my heart.” The traumatic memories now connected to the structure likely make it too painful a place for the rest of the company’s staff to ever work in again as well.

Hatta previously expressed his desire to turn the site into a park, one including a memorial to the victims. However, that statement came not long after the attack took place, and it’s unclear whether it was made after serious consideration of its feasibility, or was simply Hatta non-committedly thinking out-loud as he searched for some way to ease the pain people were feeling. Kyoto Animation says it currently is undecided as to what to do with the land, and will be making that decision at a later date.

Sources: Kyodo via Otakomu, NHK News Web via Jin
Top image: Wikipedia/L26
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