July 18, 2019 / 11:27 AM / a month ago

Japan studio arson attack a 'blow to animation industry' - commentator

An aerial view shows smoke and flame rise from the three-story Kyoto Animation building which was torched in Kyoto, western Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 18, 2019. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

TOKYO (Reuters) - A suspected arson attack on a Japanese animation studio in which 30 people are believed to have been killed and scores injured will be a major blow to the nation’s famed animation industry, a film commentator said.

Kyoto Animation, based in Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto, is known for popular series such as the “Sound! Euphonium”. Its “Free! Road to the World - The Dream” movie is due for release this month.

But the studio has an outsized impact on Japan’s noted animation industry that outstrips a list of the works it has produced, said Tokyo-based film commentator Yuichi Maeda.

“It’s one of the best and largest animation firms in Japan, and with that loss of life, many of the best hands at animation in the nation are likely to be dead,” Maeda said, his voice shaking. “It’s too painful to contemplate.”

“It has a huge presence in animation here. To have this many people die at once will be a huge blow to the Japanese animation industry.”

While some companies, such as Hayao Miyazaki’s “Studio Ghibli” were well known for the limpidness of their scenery and use of colours, or their detailed drawings, the strengths of Kyoto Animation, founded in 1981, stretched across the board.

“They really never did anything wrong. The animation was great, the story quality was really high. Overall, the balance was just amazing,” Miura said.

“...They do a huge variety of work, the stuff that everybody loves. They don’t make things that people hate,” Miura said. “This incident is just unimaginable.”

Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Nick Macfie

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