It’s been almost six hours now, and I’m still in a strange mixture of shock and horror. Mainly, I’m deeply saddened.
For those of you who haven’t heard, at 10:30AM JST a man in his 40s doused Kyoto Animation, an anime production company in Fushimi-ku, in gasoline and proceeded to ignite an explosive fire. Around 70 people were in the building at the time, and it is currently confirmed that 12 of those have died and ten remain unresponsive. You can read more about the incident here.
During this time, social media has exploded with tweets, most of which are meaningful, heartfelt and what I can assume are cathartic efforts to express thoughts and emotions related to this tragedy. Some, however, are beyond distasteful:
Guess we son’t be getting season 2 of [anime]
They shouldn’t have made Free!
We need the Fire Force!
Furthermore, there are others in the community rising to defend these comments, insisting that everyone handles tragedy differently and we shouldn’t be “gate keeping grief”.
While I’ll say that people are all entitled to their own ways of grieving, that their intent may be to find some form of coping or light in this omnipresent darkness, the impact of their actions is equally, if not more important. To say they’ve lost their lives today because they created something— to say it even as a joke; to even be able to make the joke or find it funny— is nothing short of a horrific attempt for attention. It’s trolling. Toxic trolling. And I’m left feeling ill after reading it.
I’m not even sure how appropriate my writing on this topic is… After all, I don’t know anyone involved in this tragedy personally.
Nevertheless, I’m left in a place of acute distress. These are innocent people who brought me and many others joy over the years. They produced amazing work, yes, but most importantly, they existed. Those lost led lives just as complicated, as messy and as meaningful as my own—they’re never coming back, and that is unfathomable. It’s harrowing.
I’m not sure what the intent of this post is. It is honestly nothing more than a cathartic relief of pain, a desperate cry into the void. My heart aches for all those involved: the victims, their families and friends; those who will begin the process of rebuilding their lives, and those whose lives were lost too soon.
Approximately an hour ago, the fire was finally extinguished, and I’m left wanting to do more than I can. I hope the anime community can continue to persist with empathy and care, rather than delve into insensitivity or lash out at others.
I hope you, whoever’s reading this, take care of yourself, whatever than might look like. You’re dear to me, and I hope you’re safe during this distressing time. I hope that someone is there to hug you if you need one, and if not, I’m sending you a big one from me.