The suspect had to go through rehabilitation before an arrest could be made
It has been 10 months since the beloved animation studio Kyoto Animation was attacked by an arsonist. 36 employees of the studio perished in the devastating attack, including The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya director Yasuhiro Takemoto, legendary animator and mentor Yoshiji Kigami, chief animation director on the Free! franchise Futoshi Nishiya, Sound! Euphonium character designer Shouko Ikeda, and many more brilliant people whose creativity and hard work touched the lives of people around the world. 35 people were injured in the attack, including the suspected arsonist, who was apprehended on the scene with severe burns to his entire body.
Since that day, the suspect, 41-year old Shinji Aoba, has been undergoing treatment for third-degree burns. He went through treatment with skin grafts, but due to the lack of supply of donor skin for treatment – which was prioritized for the victims – the suspect was given an experimental treatment with artificial skin – a first for Japan. Kyoto police obtained a warrant for his arrest back in October and were waiting until he was able to withstand detention to formally arrest him. Due to the lack of facilities in the Kyoto Police Detention Center, and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic closing the Osaka Police Detention Center after an outbreak of the virus among staff, police in both prefectures were hesitant to formally arrest him.
It was announced on May 26 that the suspect would be formally arrested on May 27 and will be held in the Osaka Police Detention Center awaiting trial after preparations for him have been finalized in the facility for his arrival.
Kyoto Animation Studio 1 in November 2019 (Photo: Daryl Harding)
Kyoto Animation Studio 1, the building that was attacked, finished demolishment a month ago, with plans still up in the air on what to do with the site. The latest film from the studio, Violet Evergarden The Movie, was scheduled to be released in Japanese cinemas in April – after already being postponed from January due to the attack – but was postponed again after cinemas in Japan shut down due to the coronavirus. The next Free! anime film, which was set to open alongside the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games (which were moved to 2021), was also postponed in November 2019, with no new release date confirmed.
Kyoto Animation staff are currently working remotely, though it hasn't been confirmed if animation work is continuing, only that the website will continue to be updated, and domestic orders from the online KyoAni Shop would be sent out. The physical shop extended its closure in accordance with the then-State of Emergency declaration for Kyoto Prefecture, which has been subsequently lifted.
Source: Yahoo! News
Daryl Harding is a Japan Correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs a YouTube channel about Japan stuff called TheDoctorDazza, tweets at @DoctorDazza, and posts photos of his travels on Instagram.