School-day stories among genres of submissions.
One month after the arson attack on Kyoto Animation’s Fushimi anime studio, Shinji Aoba, who was taken into police custody immediately following the attack, remains in the hospital. Aoba was heard shouting “I spread the gasoline and lit it with a lighter” as police subdued him, but his ongoing medical treatment for burns sustained in the incident have prevented his formal arrest, and mental health issues may limit the legal repercussions that can be brought against him.
However, investigators are already gathering evidence and building a case against the 41-year-old Aoba. While being taken into custody, Aoba also accusingly said “They stole my novel,” and after a subsequent search through the entries for Kyoto Animation’s annual Kyoto Animation Awards, a novel-writing contest open to both professional and amateur writers, Kyoto Animation said that it had indeed received a novel from Aoba.
Further investigation, though, has turned up not just a single novel from Aoba, but multiple entries to the Kyoto Animation Awards contest, according to a source connected to the investigation and quoted by Reuters. A number of the novels were stories about the school days of junior or senior high school students, raising the possibility that Aoba believed that elements in one of his submitted novels were copied by Kyoto Animation in one of the studio’s school-set anime series.
The arson attack claimed the lives of 35 Kyoto Animation employees, and also injured dozens. Nevertheless, both the company’s president and employees have vowed to continue the high-quality work that has come to define the studio, and has so suddenly become the posthumous legacy of their departed coworkers. Meanwhile, this year’s iteration of the Kyoto Animation Awards has been suspended indefinitely.