Disgruntled 34-year-old woman says she wished the staff had died and Kyoto Animation workers lived.

As Japan’s largest specialty retailer for anime merchandise, the Animate chain is loved by many otaku. However, being a big name in an industry that runs almost entirely on fan emotion means that even when you’re earning love from the majority of enthusiasts, you can still become the target of hatred from unbalanced individuals.

Back in March, Animate began receiving some very troubling emails. One said “Instead of the people from Kyoto Animation, all of you should have been killed,” referencing the July arson attack on the anime studio that resulted in 36 deaths. Another threatening email promised “I’m going to make sure to kill every last one of you,” and yet another, showing a shocking lack of human empathy or succinctness, included the word “Die” repeated 3,852 times in a row.

In the wake of the Kyoto Animation tragedy, authorities in Japan have been taking threats against anime-related targets especially seriously, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Police launched an investigation into the matter. Investigators were able to determine the source of the threatening emails, which included a batch of dozens sent over a two-week period in August, and on Tuesday arrested Choi Yuihwa (崔由理絵), an unemployed 34-year-old woman of Korean citizenship, on charges of forced disruption of business activities.

▼ Choi being taken into custody

Choi’s connection to Animate stretches back to at least 2014, when she made her first purchase through the chain’s online shop. However, her repeated canceling of orders she placed got her account suspended twice, most recently in September of 2018, and rather than appeal the suspension, lodge a complaint with Animate’s customer relations department, or simply do her shopping at one of Animate’s many brick-and-mortar shops (or one of the chain’s competitors), she decided the best way to handle the situation was to spend several months sending online death threats. “I was angry because I didn’t agree with how [Animate] had handled the situation,” Choi said, while admitting to the charges.

The arrest comes roughly four months after Osaka Prefectural Police officers arrested a 25-year-old man from Shizuoka Prefecture for sending threatening emails to video game developer Key/Visual Arts that also alluded to the Kyoto Animation arson attack. Luckily, in both that case and Animate’s, no one was harmed, and honestly with as many things as anime industry professionals have to worry about already, like the possibility that a studio might just up and disappear before they get paid, death threats are the last thing they should have to be dealing with.

Sources: The Sankei News via Jin, YouTube/ANNnewsCH, TBS News
Top image: Pakutaso
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