The trial of Shinji Aoba, the man who set fire to Kyoto Animation’s studio, claiming the lives of over 30 people, continues with the emergence of new details in the case.
Shinji Aoba and the Japanese Economic Collapse
Aoba spoke to the judges about his life after high school, stating that in the 2000s, he left his job “voluntarily” because he believed the Japanese economy was in a collapse, a belief apparently unique to him.
As a measure, he sent several emails to various politicians, asserting that “Japanese citizens were not realizing the economic collapse.”
Shinji Aoba Believed He Had a Relationship with a KyoAni Director
Initially, Aoba revealed to the judges that he “researched” Kyoto Animation on the anonymous forum known as 2chan, where he supposedly met and became involved with a “KyoAni director.”
It’s important to note that 2chan is an anonymous forum where anyone can express themselves without being identified. Aoba believed he was communicating with a studio director and claimed to have fallen in love with her, considering that they were in a “relationship.”
However, their relationship soured when the alleged KyoAni director accused him of rape and mocked him for a crime he committed in 2012 when he robbed a store.
According to reports, Aoba began having delusions that he was being monitored by law enforcement after the death of a politician, possibly due to political messages he had posted on the forum.
The “Stolen” scenes by KyoAni
It is known that one of Aoba’s motivations for the crime was the claim that KyoAni had allegedly plagiarized scenes from his novels in their anime. Below is an excerpt from the trial discussing the alleged copies:
[As part of the evidence investigation, allegedly plagiarized scenes from Aoba in Free!, Tsurune, and K-On are shown.]
Lawyer: What was your reaction after watching Free!?
Aoba: I thought, “They copied me again.” The scene where they buy discounted ingredients. I had excluded that part from my novel.”
Lawyer: So, that wasn’t in your submission.
Lawyer: So, where do you believe they copied from?
Aoba: I believed they had copied from my leaked manuscript. There was no other explanation.
Lawyer: What about K-On?
Aoba: My story had the phrase, “You’re going to redo the year at this rate.” In K-On, there was a scene where the upperclassman says to the underclassman, “I’m redoing the year.” I believed they had copied that part.
[Repetition of the Free! scene with discounted ingredients]
Aoba: I thought the scene with discounted ingredients had been copied.
[Repetition of the K-On scene]
Aoba: The part about “I’m redoing the year.”
Lawyer: Anything else?
Aoba: Nothing else.
Lawyer: Do you think it was deliberate plagiarism or accidental?
Aoba: At the time, I thought it was deliberate.
Lawyer: But you weren’t sure.
Aoba: At the time, no.
Lawyer: When you mention “at the time,” are you referring to the day you first watched the anime? Or the day of the incident?
Aoba: The day I watched the anime.
An interesting aspect to note in the above case is that the anime K-On aired in 2009, while Free! premiered in 2013. Shinji Aoba allegedly sent his novel to KyoAni only in 2016. Did he write it years before?
Aoba Planned a Mass Crime Before Targeting KyoAni
According to Shinji Aoba’s defense, he was “struggling against a dark figure” and suffered from delusions. They requested a reduced sentence based on his mental state.
The prosecution revealed that one month before planning and attacking KyoAni, Aoba had contemplated attacking Saitama station. He went to the station carrying six knives but backed out at the last moment.
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