According to local news reports, the arsonist, who used large quantities of gasoline to set fire to the three-story concrete building, appears to believe the studio had stolen his ideas.
The suspect burned himself while igniting the fire and ran away from the building badly injured. He rang the doorbell of an elderly woman’s house nearby only to collapse in the street before she could answer. On seeing the badly burned and shoeless suspect, she hosed him down with water.
When police arrived soon afterward, they confirmed the man’s identity from his driver’s license and asked him why he had done what he did.
“They copied my ideas,” he was overheard by bystanders telling the police in an agitated manner.
The suspect was also heard shouting, “They stole my novel, that’s why I lit the fire,” according to the Kyoto Shimbun newspaper’s Friday morning edition.
Kyoto Animation has run a competition for novels and manga, known as the Kyoto Animation Award, since 2009, via which writers have the chance for their stories to be turned into anime series and films.
However, there is no evidence yet that the man submitted an entry or is even a writer.
The suspect is reported to be in a serious condition with burns in the hospital, and police have been unable to question him thoroughly.