Last July, 2019, the anime community was shaken to its core by the heinous actions of Shinji Aoba, who burned down one of Kyoto Animation’s studios, killing 36 people in the process. The community as a whole lost many talented people that day. Due to the burns Aoba suffered that day, he had yet to be formally arrested for the crime but instead has spent the last year recovering in hospital, first in a university hospital in Osaka, then in a hospital in Kyoto City.
At one point earlier this year it appeared that Aoba would be transferred to a detention facility where he would be arrested and await his trial, but more complications arose. According to Japanese law, a person has to be healthy enough to survive incarceration while waiting for their trial. The first facility, located in Kyoto, was deemed to be too old and in such poor condition that Aoba’s health could not be guaranteed. A second facility, located in nearby Osaka, was deemed to be unsuitable at the time because cases of COVID-19 had been detected there. Recently, however, the Osaka detention facility cleared up all its coronavirus related issues, clearing the way for Aoba to be transferred and charged with his crimes.
On May 27th, the arrest warrant was read out to Aoba, and they formally arrested him with a suspicion of murder and other charges. According to one report, Aoba was completely unaware of how many people he had killed in the arson and was unapologetic for his actions. Earlier, it was reported that Aoba committed the arson because he believed that Kyoto Animation had stolen his work.
In the time since the initial attack, the Kyoto Animation studio has been gutted and torn down. No one is certain what the city will erect in its place as the residents of the neighborhood have stated that they do not wish for any kind of memorial to be installed. At the very least, we hope that this news can help the healing process for the friends, family, and fans of the studio, as they move closer to getting some closure on this tragic chapter in anime history.