A legendary Kyoto Animation Studio director is allegedly missing, but many anime fans on Twitter are already reporting director Yasuhiro Takemoto dead in light of the KyoAni fire that’s claimed 33 lives.
The rumor that Takemoto is dead apparently started with this tweet by a Japanese person, who claimed, “A sad incident occurred at a company called Kyoto Animation. Currently, there are 25 people dead, including Yasuhiro Takemoto.”
The tweet then went viral online. Hours later, this same person tweeted, “Sorry, Takemoto Yasuhiro has not confirmed his safety, but may still be alive. I pray for his safety.”
Anime News UK has indeed reported that “director Yasuhiro Takemoto (Hyouka) has been reported as one of 5 employees still missing following the Kyoto Animation fire.” But many on Twitter are spreading the idea that Takemoto was “confirmed” to be dead during the incident.
It’s also being reported that “director Naoko Yamada (A Silent Voice) appears to be safe.”
In addition, “Shoji Gatoh (Creator of Full Metal Panic) has tweeted that he believes director Tatsuya Ishihara (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) to be safe.” This information is not confirmed.
A relative of one of the Kyoto Animation employees is requesting that people not share on social media the lists of missing people out of respect for the privacy of the KyoAni staff members.
Takemoto is well-known as the director of Amagi Brilliant Park, Full Metal Panic!, Hyoka, Lucky Star, The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya, and Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid (it’s possible the director was slated to return for directing Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid Season 2).
He also was a storyboard writer and episode director for Violet Evergarden (an announcement concerning the KyoAni fire and how it affects the upcoming Violet Evergarden movie release date has already been made).
Some tweets claiming that Takemoto is dead are also mistakenly listing the director as having directed Clannad and other anime. Kyoto animation did indeed animate Clannad and Clannad: After Story, but Takemoto did not work on those projects.
Director Ishihara Tatsuya directed Clannad and it’s claimed that he’s safe.
The arsonist attack targeted one of the offices where about 70 people were working. The company has multiple locations, with about 150 employees in total.
NHK reports that 12 men, 20 women, and one person of unknown gender have died in the Kyoto Animation fire. The Kyoto Fire Department ended rescue efforts inside the building and confirmed that no one is left in the building. Firefighters found two of the confirmed dead on the first floor, 11 dead on the second floor, and 20 dead on the third floor or in the stairwell leading to the rooftop
The reason the number of reported dead increased rapidly is that Japanese police and firefighters do not confirm death at the scene of an incident. Instead, victims are transported to the hospital where a doctor must confirm the death.
Based on the final death toll, the KyoAni arson attack by a 41-year-old unnamed assailant is the largest mass murder in the history of post-World War II Japan. Kyoto Prefectural Police say the suspect started the fire with around 40 liters of gasoline-like liquid and purposefully lit the first floor and all exits on fire so people could not escape.
The suspect allegedly screamed, “You die!” when attacking the KyoAni staff. He poured the gasoline-like fluid directly on them, trying to ignite the employees. Police also confirmed multiple large knives at the scene of the mass murder.
“Someone left in the building was begging for help from a window. I couldn’t tell if they were a man or a woman. Their mouth was bright red against their blackened body covered completely in soot, even their face,” an eyewitness said between sobs.
“All I could tell was that they were crying out ‘HELP! HELP’ again and again. Soon they stopped moving against the window and burned into it like a shadow. Then I heard the din of ambulance sirens and helicopters flying by.”
The attacker was chased away from the building by a brave KyoAni employee until he was apprehended by police while hiding. The motive for the attack is unclear, but reports indicate that the attacker felt Kyoto Animation either ripped him off, plagiarized him, or copycatted him in some manner.
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