KYOTO — Kyoto Animation Co. is seeking to recover drawing and storyboard data from a server as they were apparently not damaged in the fatal arson attack at a studio earlier this month or by water used to extinguish the fire.
"The data are the products of people who were killed or injured," lawyer Daisuke Okeda, who represented the Uji-based animation production company, told reporters last week. The fire left 35 people dead and dozens of others injured.
The server was located inside a room on the ground floor of the three-story studio building in Kyoto's Fushimi Ward targeted in the July 18 attack. The room, surrounded by concrete walls, was distant from the staircase close to where Shinji Aoba, 41, is suspected to have spread and ignited gasoline.
Kyoto Animation, often referred to as "KyoAni" by fans, is known for works such as "K-On!" and "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya," which depicts the everyday lives of high school girls.
Personal computers inside the building were burned to an unrecognisable state and documents on ongoing projects were nearly all lost, but some original drawings may have been digitalised prior to the attack, Okeda said.
He said a note on a rack inside the server room was not even wrinkled, indicating it escaped damage.
"There is a possibility the data can be recovered if there is no damage from the fire and if they did not get wet," said Yo Haruyama, president of AOS Data Inc., which specializes in data backup and recovery services.
Investigations so far have revealed that Aoba, who is still being treated at a hospital for severe burns, had a strong interest in Kyoto Animation, with police confiscating books and DVDs of its works from his home in Saitama, near Tokyo.
The police have also found a smartphone and a tablet device in a house search. Aoba did not have a mobile phone on him when he was apprehended near the burned studio shortly after the attack.
He is believed to have spent three days visiting the neighborhood of Kyoto Animation's headquarters and locations associated with its television anime series "Sound! Euphonium," a story about a high school music club in Uji, after arriving in Kyoto on July 15.
The police have obtained an arrest warrant for murder and are expected to officially serve it on Aoba once he recovers. — KYODO