Question now becomes what to do with vacant lot in Kyoto’s Fushimi Ward.

Spring, traditionally, is the time for new beginnings in Japan. Not only is it when the flowers bloom and the snow melts, but it’s also when the school and business years start.

This Tuesday, though, was also a moment to say goodbye. After five months of demolition work, anime production company Kyoto Animation’s Studio #1 was been completely cleared away.

Work crews began gutting the building (pictured above, prior to the attack) in November, roughly four months after a devastating arson attack on the building, located in Kyoto’s Fushimi Ward. The attack resulted in 36 deaths and injuries to 33 other employees who were in the building at the time, with only one escaping the blaze unharmed. Between the extensive damage to the structure and, no doubt, the traumatic memories now associated with it, Kyoto Animation decided against rebuilding, and as of April 28 the location is an empty sandlot with a protective fence completely enclosing it.

▼ The site of Kyoto Animation’s former Fushimi studio

The question now becomes what will happen to the site. Some, including the mother of one of the deceased victims, are hoping for the erection of a memorial to those who lost their lives. However, the studio was located in a largely residential part of the city, and the local neighborhood association, after taking a vote, announced that the majority of its members are opposed to the idea, citing concerns over a long-term influx of mourners and anime enthusiasts coming to pay their respects disrupting residents’ way of life.

▼ The Fushimi studio, following the arson attack but prior to the start of demolition work

Meanwhile, on April 28 the company’s official Twitter accounts sent out an announcement that merchandise for its upcoming Violet Evergarden the Movie theatrical feature will become available for pre-order on May 1 through the franchise’s official website here.

The Kyoto Animation official YouTube channel has also posted recap videos for the series to help jog existing fans’ memories and get new viewers up to speed.

That’s not to say that Kyoto Animation has forgotten about its fallen, though, as the complete list of victims’ names appeared in the credits of the last Violet Evergarden film, which debuted in Japanese theaters last summer. Still, the company seems committed to the belief that the best way to honor their memories is to keep pushing bravely forward into the future.

Sources: NHK New Web via Otakomu, Mainichi Broadcast System
Top image: Wikipedia/MikeHattsu
Insert image: Wikipedia/L26
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