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Kyoto Animation arsonist says which scene he feels copied his work and incited attack

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Shinji Aoba, the arsonist who set the fire at anime production company Kyoto Animation’s Fushimi studio in the summer of 2019, has admitted that his goal in the attack was to kill as many people as he could. The reason for his rage, as he shouted as he was being taken into custody on the day of the incident, is that he felt Kyoto Animation had stolen one of his ideas and used it in one of their anime without crediting or compensating him.

Aoba isn’t a scriptwriter by trade, but he had submitted an entry to Kyoto Animation’s periodic novel-writing competition, which is open to amateur authors and issues awards that sometimes include publishing and anime adaptation deals. Though Kyoto Animation confirmed that it had received a submission from Aoba, the company added that it was removed from awards consideration after the first round of judges’ evaluations, and that it had “no similarity to any Kyoto Animation works.”

During the arson investigation, it came to light that Aoba felt Kyoto Animation had stolen his work for use in its "Tsurune" TV anime, which premiered in 2018 (and is itself an adaptation of a novel series by author Kotoko Ayano). Kyoto Shimbun is now reporting that Aoba has indicated the specific scene that he feels was copied from his novel, with the arsonist saying “The thing Kyoto Animation copied from me was the scene in Tsurune where the main characters buy discounted meat.”

"Tsurune," it should be noted, is not a cooking anime. The series follows a group of boys in a high school archery club. The discounted meat scene is a non-consequential moment that takes place in Episode 5, which originally aired on Nov 18, 2018, exactly eight months before the arson attack took place. In the episode, teammates Minato and Nanao make a shopping run during a training retreat for the club. Minato proposes buying meat that’s near its expiration date, since they’ll be eating it all that day and it’s cheaper. Nanao compliments him on his clever thriftiness, and Minato deflects the praise by saying that it’s something that he’s used to from his family having a tight grocery budget. Then they talk a bit about how another member of the club, Kaito, has a gruff exterior, but is actually a really kind guy, in his own way, underneath.

From just about any angle, it’s an overwhelmingly generic bundle of storytelling tropes and character archetypes, ones that have been established and repeated in hundreds of anime stretching back dozens of TV seasons. Even the idea of picking out soon-to-expire items at the grocery store to stretch your budget is common knowledge in Japan, and the entire scene lasts just two minutes and 25 seconds.

It’s possible that Aoba’s novel used a similar framing device to celebrate a character’s subtle earnestness, and perhaps a desire to have his own self-perceived virtues recognized by others made the idea seem particularly personal to him, but “character has good traits that nobody notices until they’re revealed in an unexpected way” is one of the most standard setups in anime, and so Aoba’s claim that Kyoto Animation owed him a debt for that brief snippet of "Tsurune" is unlikely to earn him any leniency when punishment is handed down in his trial.

Sources: Kyoto Shimbun, Kyodo News

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Mental illness issues could make death penalty impossible for Kyoto Animation arsonist

-- Kyoto Animation arsonist sent more than one novel to company as part of annual writing contest

-- Kyoto Animation arson attack prompts call for stricter gas sale regulations in Kyoto

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Why give this person any publicity at all?

6 ( +10 / -4 )

JT, do not refer to him as an arsonist. Refer to him as what he is, a mass murder.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Mass murderer

12 ( +14 / -2 )

What a self-centred, selfish disgusting person.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

It’s sad to think that many people have the same experience as him, his work stolen, but the good point is that not all victims like him kill people. I hope his extensive burn gave him time for reflection.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

In the art/fashion/entertainment industry etc, you'd be surprised how many ideas get stolen

This is true. But it's also true that there are very few truly original ideas out there. I can guarantee that whatever clever plot line you think up has been though up by dozens of others as well. We are not as unique as we like to think we are.

And in any case, I don't care if they stole every thought in his tiny brain. Nothing excuses his barbaric actions.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

“The thing Kyoto Animation copied from me was the scene in Tsurune where the main characters buy discounted meat.”

That's it? That's the thing he's claiming was stolen from him? Is this guy a moron? Does he not watch anime? Characters buying discounted groceries is pretty common in anime. I just finished rewatching Toradora a couple days ago, and Ryuuji Takasu often talks about buying discount groceries. Kamijou Touma in Toaru Majutsu no Index does this a few times too (it was more common in Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, as I recall). Heck, just about any anime featuring a character living alone (which is basically all of them nowadays) has characters doing this sort of thing. It's not an original idea in the slightest, so how can this mass murderer try to say that it was his idea that was stolen, when it's a common trope? The guy is clutching at straws, but nothing he can say will ever justify what he did. Unbelievable.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

So, in his mind, his poxy idea which he copied is worth the lives of 35 people. Execute him as soon as possible...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Unpopular opinion with this guy...there are legal ways to go about this if you feel a company has stole your work..ya know..like get a lawyer..not burn a place down with people inside!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

“The thing Kyoto Animation copied from me was the scene in Tsurune where the main characters buy discounted meat.”

The most unimpressive reason to murder 30 people that I can imagine.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Don't forget that he suffers from a serious mental disease.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Don't forget that he suffers from a serious mental disease.

And don't forget that he caused massive destruction, including murder.

Labeling his condition doesn't lead to any cure. In fact all the mental health "experts" can do would be to drug him senseless and/or lock him away.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Most people couldn't care less about his pathetic 'reason' for burning 36 people to death. As against the death penalty as I am, it's hard not to wish it upon this poor excuse for a human being.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If he has the same scene in his novel and they have it then they probably did steal it, they should have paid him a 20,000 yen and said thanks and added his name in the middle of the credits... would have saved many lives.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It is unforgivable to erase a part of the wonderful Japanese animation technology.

He should receive a solid charge.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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