Arsonist who killed 36 people by starting blaze at Japanese anime studio is sentenced to death

January 25th, 2024

A Japanese man was given the death penalty after it was determined that he was responsible for the 2019 anime studio arson attack that claimed the lives of 36 people.

The anime industry and its global fan base were taken aback by the devastating fire that destroyed Kyoto Animation’s studios.

On the morning of July 18, 2019, survivors stated that Shinji Aoba, now 45, broke into the building, smeared gasoline over the bottom floor, lighted it, and said, “drop dead.”

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Presidencing judge Keisuke Masuda declared in his decision that “immolating people is truly cruel and inhumane” and that “the act of pouring an enormous amount of gasoline and setting it ablaze is extremely likely to be fatal.”

The victims ‘were engulfed in fire and smoke in the blink of an eye… They died an anguishing death as the studio instantly turned into a hell’, he said.

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Aoba was swiftly taken into custody and admitted ‘I did it’, telling police he had started the fire because he believed the studio had stolen his idea for a novel.

Several victims were found on a spiral stairwell leading to the roof, suggesting they were overcome as they desperately tried to escape.

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