This past Thursday, July 18, 2019, at least 33 people died in a fire at an anime studio in Kyoto, Japan, as reported by Japan Times and other news outlets. The man who admitted to starting the fire has been taken into custody.

Founded in 1981 by Yoko Hatta, Kyoto Animation, aka KyoAni, supplied animated work for larger productions made by others, while also developing its own series, which it produced, including Lucky Star (2008), K-On! (2011), and Free! Iwatobi Swim Club (2013). Their feature adapatation, Violet Evergarden, is set for release this summer.

The company’s produced works are listed on their website. As it happens, I caught up with their feature A Silent Voice (2016) recently, a marvelous, moving, and poignant film. And now I realize that I watched their series Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2006) years and years ago, a show that opened my eyes to the rich variety of characters, depth of humor, and breadth of imagination, beyond any American-ized ideas about anime stereotypes. It remains a very bright memory of a generally dark period for me personally.

And now at least 33 people have died, and about that same number are recovering from their injuries, and untold dozens and hundreds and thousands of friends, family members, and fans are left reeling. Condolences to them all.

A Silent Voice: The Movie
Now streaming on Netflix.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Now streaming on Funimation .

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