The arson attack at an animation studio in Kyoto occurred at around 10:30 a.m. on July 18, 2019.
A man suddenly entered Kyoto Animation's No. 1 studio, a three-story building, poured out a bucket of gasoline and started a fire. The building had a spiral staircase, and the fire spread throughout the structure in about a minute.
Seventy people were working in the building at the time. Thirty-six of them died. That is the highest number of fatalities in a murder case, since the start of the Heisei era in 1989.
Thirty-two others sustained serious or minor injuries, as people jumped from balconies and windows to escape.
Aoba Shinji was detained near the studio on suspicion of setting the fire.
Aoba himself sustained serious injuries. More than 90 percent of his body was burned. He was hospitalized in critical condition, and he spent about 10 months in the institution.
Police officials arrested him in May 2020 on suspicion of murder, arson and other charges, after he recovered enough to speak.
Aoba told police that he set the fire because the studio plagiarized his novel. He said he held a grudge against the anime company. Aoba also said he thought he would be able to kill many people by using gasoline.
The studio says he had entered a writing competition but was eliminated in the screening stage. It says there are no similarities between Aoba's work and any of its releases.
Aoba was given a six-month mental evaluation by experts.
Based on the results of the evaluation, prosecutors decided that Aoba could be held criminally responsible because he had planned the crime and prepared what was needed for the attack.
In December 2020, prosecutors indicted him on murder, arson and other charges.
His defense team requested a second psychiatric evaluation by experts other than those involved in the first one. Aoba was examined for several months.
The results of the second evaluation have not been disclosed.