I denied for months that I actually liked this silly cartoon about a crybaby who saves the world through the power of love and friendship... but the truth was that I was enamoured, both of the art style and the stories they told, a romance to last through the ages. Magical Knight Rayearth was the next thing to show up at my local card shop. Then a store opened selling bootlegs video cassettes. I bought posters, videos, cards... nearly everything I could. And when I met my boyfriend, the man I eventually married, he introduced me to even more. Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell, Ranma 1/2, Macross Plus...
That was a little over 20 years ago now.
So when I say that anime has been a huge influence on me and my writing (which I originally began writing around the same time... it was horrible), I'm not simply jumping on a bandwagon. The Asian style of storytelling is different than what is done in the west and I adore it, even if it means that I have to admit that Dragonball is simply a super-extended story and not straight out bad writing (in most cases). Hells, this year I'm helping to give a panel on how to incorporate Japanese storytelling into your writing. I suggested the panel to friends who write Asian fiction, wrote up the base description and submitted the version the rest of my friends helped edit to WWC.
This has been a long-winded way of coming around to it, but I wanted to give some background before I jumped right into the news today.
On July 17, a man started screaming death threats in the front office of Kyoto Animation Studio 1 in Uji. He splashed the area with a flammable substance and then lit the studio on fire. With the front door and bottom floors blazing many people tried to escape other ways. Most went for the roof. At the time of this writing, thirty-three people have been confirmed dead in the arsonist's blaze, with nearly everyone else in the building injured. My heart goes out to everyone involved in the attack and to all of Japan, dealing with the shockwaves of this incident rolling throughout the country.
I have no stakes here beyond my love for the art and my respect for this incredible company which is known for promoting women directors and paying their workers more than above-average wages. Yet somehow this attack feels personal, like I lost something, even though I have lost nothing. I'm stuck feeling confused, lost, and angry as hell over this. Perhaps that's just grief I'm feeling at such senseless destruction and loss of life. I've certainly lost nothing compared to those poor people who lost their lives or to those who survived and will have to live with the injuries of this ordeal for the rest of their lives.
I am not going to put that man's name in my blog. I don't believe in giving people like him the screentime. I do want to send my heart out to everyone who worked in the building or had family that was injured or died. There has been a GoFundMe started to help the survivors and families of those who died. If you can help, please do. If you can't, then please at least share the link and the news so that people know what happened.
I'll end here, still confused and lost... because what else can I do when all I'm feeling is anguish for those involved. Again, my prayers goes out to everyone in Japan, and every victim of this senseless attack, but most especially to those who actually worked for Kyoto Animation. Our hearts all beat for you today.