After a deadly fire that claimed 35 lives, a small glimmer of good news comes from a beloved anime studio recently targeted by a cowardly arsonist. Kyoto Animation recovered their server and all its data intact, meaning the projects the employees worked is not lost. This is a small consolation to the family and friends of the nearly three dozen people whose lives were cut short, but it means that the projects they worked on so tirelessly will live on. Neither Japanese authorities nor the studio itself released any personal information about the victims of the fire. Still, the news that Kyoto Animation recovered their server after the fire means that it will likely rise stronger than ever after this attack.
What Happened at Kyoto Animation
One of the most acclaimed animation studios in Japan, Kyoto Animation is best known for its series like Full Metal Panic, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, K-On1, and other titles. In late May and early June, their primary studio location began to receive death threats. Company President Hideaki Hatta personally informed both police and the studios lawyers about them. On July 15, alleged arsonist Shinji Aoba, 41, arrived in town to visit settings from their anime in both Kyoto and Uji, a village to the south. Three days later on July 18, he walked into the first floor of the studio and poured gasoline on the employees. He then lit the gasoline on fire, and the subsequent blaze torched the building. As of this writing, 35 people died on the scene or succumbed to injuries later. Aoba tried to flee, but police captured him almost immediately.
How the Recovered Server and All Its Data Survived
The blaze started by the arsonist decimated the building as well as the employees who ended up trapped inside. Yet, Kyoto Animation recovered their server and all its data because of smart planning and preparedness. The servers, which contain their latest releases including the Violet Evergarden movie and it’s spinoff Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memories Doll, stayed housed in a concrete room. Designed to protect them from fire and water damage, these four walls did just that for their recovered server and all the countless hours of work represented by the animation data that survived. A spokesperson for the studio offered “heartfelt thanks” to the specialists who ensured this data survived without any loss, according to Variety.
Along with this good news, the world community stepped up to help Kyoto animation. Fundraising efforts inside Japan raised nearly ten million dollars for the company. A U.S. distribution company, Sentai Filmworks, raised nearly $2.5 million through crowdfunding. (Donations still open.) Kyoto Animation promised to be transparent with their use of these funds, specifically to help deceased employees’ families and to rebuild their primary studio.
Featured image via Kyoto Animation.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.