National

In a show of resilience, arson-hit Kyoto Animation to continue training programs for aspiring animators

by Satoshi Sugiyama

Staff Writer

In a show of resilience following a deadly arson attack on one of its studios earlier this year, Kyoto Animation Co. has announced that it will continue to offer training programs for aspiring animators next year.

The animation company — also known as KyoAni — announced Wednesday it will be recruiting students for the program’s animation and background art classes through Dec. 18. The forthcoming program will be the 29th time the classes have been offered.

KyoAni has garnered domestic and international acclaim for its works such as “K-On!” and “Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu” (“The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”).

It became the target of an arson attack when a man spread gasoline and set fire to one of its studios in the city of Kyoto on July 18. Out of the company’s 176 employees, 36 people were killed and 34 others were injured.

The suspect, 41-year-old Shinji Aoba, reportedly told authorities that he deliberately attacked the firm’s studio with the largest number of employees to “hurt many people.” He alleged the animation company stole his novel and cited that as the motivation behind the attack.

Applicants for the program have to be between the ages of 18 and 25 and hold a high school diploma. They need to pass an entrance exam to be admitted to the classes, which will be held five times per week from April 2020 to March 2021 and cover topics including movies, sketching and animation.

Another Kyoto Animation studio or a studio owned by an affiliate company in Osaka, will be used as classrooms.

The company says it will not issue visas for overseas applicants because the program is not part of a school curriculum.

Students who demonstrate outstanding performance will qualify to take an entrance exam to work for KyoAni. If they pass, their ¥300,000 tuition fee will be reimbursed.