Kyoto Animation Studio Was Targeted By An Arsonist, Here’s How You Can Help Them

On 18 Jul, an arsonist set fire to a studio belonging to Japanese animation company Kyoto Animation (KyoAni) in Uji, Kyoto.

Source

The arsonist had purchased gasoline and poured it inside the building before lighting it on fire. As of 19 Jul, 33 people are confirmed dead and 35 more are injured.

Source

The 41-year-old man arrested is not a current or former employee. He has been apprehended by police, although his motives are not known at this time. However, eyewitnesses reported hearing him shout ‘Die!’ while he was setting fire to the building.

At the moment, there are no details regarding the identities of those who perished.

Kyoto Animation Studio’s legacy

Kyoto Animation was founded in Kyoto by couple Yoko Hatta and Hideaki Hatta in 1981. They would spend the next decades building their way up the industry, with employees involved in the animation of childhood favourites such as Doraemon and Crayon Shin-Chan, notably Yoshiji Kigami.

Source

In 2003, KyoAni helmed the production of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu!, their first TV series, and since then, they have created high-quality anime beloved by fans worldwide – never compromising on their quality and punctuality.

These anime include The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, K-On!, Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions, and Violet Evergarden.

Source

Productions are completed months in advance and employees are paid a monthly salary while working a 9-5 schedule, both rarities in an industry which has been in the spotlight for karoshi – death by overwork – as well as underpaying its animators.

Even more remarkable is how KyoAni have remained independent since the 2010s, hand-picking the titles they want to work on while finding ways to be profitable – the latter of which I will get into in a moment.

Fundraiser set up, but no endorsement From KyoAni

Any time a disaster happens, people wish to help in any way they can – this usually means donating money. Very soon after news of the fire broke, a GoFundMe started by American licensing company Sentai Filmworks emerged.

The GoFundMe included a plea to ‘help KyoAni heal’ by donating to the fund.

Other less trustworthy GoFundMe fundraisers have sprouted in the past day, looking to capitalise on people’s willingness to give money to help their favourite animators.

As of Jul 19, over 1 million USD has been raised on the ‘Help KyoAni heal’ fund:

Source

There are two glaring problems with this:

  1. Sentai Filmworks does not work directly with KyoAni and judging from their statement, they have no direct contact with the company:

We are coordinating with others in the Japanese anime industry within Japan to ensure that funds collected reach those in need.

2. GoFundMe takes a cut from donations received.

Source

In other words, there is no guarantee that all the money received through the fund will eventually flow through to the ones in need – assuming it is needed at all.

Therefore, it is best to wait for official word regarding any help they may require, instead of donating to any unauthorised charity claiming to help them.

How S’poreans can help instead

You see, KyoAni has neither endorsed Sentai Filmworks’ fundraiser, nor have they publicly come out with requests seeking financial assistance. But if you wish to help instead, there is definitely another way.

A user on Twitter @FWAsteria suggested another method. KyoAni has an online store where they sell high-quality digital images of their show characters for 216 yen each.

Because the pictures are available as a download for users who buy them, no action is required on the part of staff, and the money goes directly to them.

Source

Another Twitter user @gokunobaka posted a helpful guide in the thread on how to purchase the pictures, as the website is only in Japanese and even Google Translate might not fully help:

Source

We have included the picture guide here for your convenience:

  1. Visit kyoani.shop-pro.jp.

Source

2. For the following form, you can look up any zip code in Japan for the address — my go-to is the Tokyo Tower which is 105-0011.

Source

You may proceed with these steps via this guide if you’re interested in contributing directly to help the animation studio.

Our hearts are with the victims’ families & loved ones

While our hearts are with those affected, we have to be vigilant and ensure that any efforts made to help KyoAni will be useful for them. A fundraiser might be a simple way of donating, but the ones handling the money have to be trustworthy and able to deliver on their word.

Source

At the moment, buying from their online store is a safer and more reliable method of supporting the creators, even if it might be a little troublesome.

Meanwhile, we would like to put out a PSA — speculation on the arsonist’s motives, for example, is not helpful. In this situation, it is best to wait for official news confirmations, because wrong or untruthful statements will affect those involved and even others.

For now, we can only hope that those affected are able to come back from this terrible tragedy, while our thoughts are with the deceased and their loved ones.

Featured image from Reuters.