• Kyodo

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Police announced Friday that director Yasuhiro Takemoto was among the 35 victims of the arson attack at a Kyoto Animation Co. studio last month.

Takemoto, 47, was widely praised as one of the company’s leading directors, having worked on a range of projects including “Lucky Star.”

Police named 10 of the victims after obtaining consent from their families.

They also included Futoshi Nishiya, 37, who was the director of “Free!” and animator Yoshiji Kigami, 61.

The police said they carefully considered the timing and methods of disclosing the identities of the victims, given their families need time to come to terms with their deaths and arrange their funerals.

The remaining seven whose names were announced are Junichi Uda, 34, Yuki Omura, 23, Yuka Kasama, 22, Ami Kuriki, 30, Sachie Tsuda, 41, Keisuke Yokota, 34, and Mikiko Watanabe, 35

The identities of all 35 victims have been confirmed using DNA analysis, according to the police.

The studio in Kyoto’s Fushimi Ward, the center of the company’s anime production, was set ablaze on July 18 after Shinji Aoba, 41, allegedly splashed and ignited gasoline inside the three-story building.

Of all the 35 victims, 26 burned to death, while four died from carbon monoxide poisoning, two from burns covering their entire body and one from an unidentified cause, according to the police. In the incident, 33 others sustained injuries.

Aoba is receiving treatment for severe burns and the police plan to formally arrest him after he recovers.

After he was apprehended by the police near the scene, he said he carried out the attack because the company “stole a novel,” indicating he thought his ideas had been plagiarized. The company has denied the claim.

Aoba is also suspected of posting comments against the company online last fall, including a post on a forum where he complained that the firm had rejected his manuscript. He is suspected of threatening to storm into the company with explosives in another comment.

A lawyer representing Kyoto Animation has said a person named Shinji Aoba had submitted his work in a writing contest run by the company, known as the Kyoto Animation Award, but the piece did not pass the competition’s preliminary stage.

The lawyer also said there were no similarities between Kyoto Animation’s works and the submitted piece.

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