There are few studios that I feel encapsulate that pure passion for an art form. One where no matter what project they take on, you know it will be given the same care and attention as when they first started, where every frame exudes that same joyous energy that reminds you why you fell in love with this art form in the first place. And in anime for me, one of those studios was Kyoto Animation I remember first hearing about KyoAni when I watched Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, and The Second Raid, and this was before my young brain really comprehended that different shows were made by different studios. But I noticed that these two seasons just looked vastly better than the first and I wanted to know what the reason for that was and it turned out that it was because a new studio was in charge of these new seasons, Kyoto Animation Their mark of quality was what made me strive to find them out. They were the first studio I knew by name because of this and even though this is vastly different from the types of shows they’re known for now, one thing that has stayed consistent in all these years is that same drive for quality. I’m not going to pretend that I’ve seen all lights everything they’ve made but it’s impossible to deny that their work is imbued with a certain magic and I think that’s why they’re so loved and respected by many of us in this community. I can’t count the number of conversations I’ve had with people who couldn’t stop crying during Clannad, who had Nichijou to thank for gut-busting laughter after gut-busting laughter, who were taught the value of family with Dragon Maid, got inspired by Kumiko’s journey in Sound! Euphonium, and yes, were deeply moved by some cute girls and their motherfucking tea. Violet Evergarden last year which I initially thought I didn’t like, ended up raising their inconceivably high bar of quality even higher, having moments that took my breath away, And of course not forgetting A Silent Voice which was such a raw, delicate depictions of the smallest tragedies you find in life. Even disregarding the countless tears I shed during this movie, it blows my mind that out of all the epic monologues, witty exchanges and outspoken characters on display elsewhere in anime, the one character who could communicate more succinctly than any of that was an anime girl who had trouble vocalizing a single word. That is the magic of Kyoto Animation. While writing this, I tried to think of what word encapsulates everything this studio is about and the best I could come up with was.. Touching The studio has this mystic ability to be able to craft these beautiful stories that connect with an audience in a way not many others can. Sometimes they’re cute, sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they can flex amazing action sequences just for the hell of it, but peeling back all those layers, these are stories that have touched and moved a whole generation of anime fans that couldn’t be more thankful to have discovered their work. A few months ago, I took to re-watching the entire Haruhi series for absolutely no reason. No plan to mention it in the video. No tweet about it. I just wanted to re-experience it for myself and I hope you understand that for someone in my position, this is extremely rare. Haruhi changed me as an anime fan. As a teenager who was only interested in flashy shown in action or cool mecha battles, this show was so out of left field from anything I thought I’d enjoy so I watched it with the pretense that I was probably gonna shit on it as another dumb, over-hyped high school anime. And here I am over 10 years later with a massive grin on my face that not a single person could wipe off just because I got to hear this track again. I can still hear Kyon’s monologue everytime this comes on. Even back then I could tell how much passion went into it. I never knew some high school anime could look so vibrant and alive. I slowly started to fall in love with this group of misfits. The school festival episode floored me, sending me down a spiral of trying to find every music anime I could, and then there was Kyon, whose snarky wit and sarcastic comments when you know it, resonated with a certain other snarky, sarcastic British git watching it. But the real turning points was The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, which now after having recently re-watched it, I can firmly say is still one of my favorite anime films of all time. It showed me that behind Kyon’s snark and sarcasm, there was just a kid who truly cared, who was scared to lose everything that he took for granted. His choice is a scene that will forever be ingrained in my memory. Because no matter how many wars of cynicism I erect as I grow older, there will always be a part of me that still yearns for that same childish joy you could feel when you were a kid. This is just one of the stories they’ve made that has touched me, and I’m sure many of you watching will have your own stories and memories of how some of their works have affected you in some way. People finds different ways to express their passion for something they love and this was mine.. I don’t play piano, I’ve never had lessons, I’ve never owned one, I can’t read music sheets, and yet one day on my roommates keyboard, I decided I wanted to learn this song that was used in Disappearance by essentially just watching covers on YouTube and trying the best I could to fumble my virgin piano hands into copying what I was seeing on screen, and.. apparently I beat it into myself so deeply that I can still play it today. There wasn’t any big reason why I decided to dedicate several of my evenings doing this. To this day, this is the only song I’m able to play on piano. But for me, this is a mark I’ll always have because those evenings I took to learn a song when an instrument I never played was my own way of expressing how much I loved this movie and how deeply it affected me. I don’t even know if the people who made this are alive anymore. Nothing can prepare you for the complete shock to your system when you’re given the type of horrible news that leaves you stunned and speechless, and last week, that’s what happened. 34 deaths, 35 injured. The worst mass murder to happen in Japan since World War 2 for a studio that only has around 160 employees. There aren’t any words that exist that can encapsulate a tragedy such as this. You see the headlines and try to form the right words to say, but nothing that comes up even seems remotely adequate enough. When you hear of a tragedy, you instinctively search for information and details that can help you comprehend it. Why did this happen? What was the motive? What was the events leading up to this that would cause such a horrific act to happen? But it’s in that fruitless pursuit you’ll come to the same sickening realization that no matter what information you learn about it, there is no way you can fathom it. There is no silver lining, no way to make it better, no closure to be had. It just hurts. It really hurts. I wish there was something we could grasp onto.. Something that didn’t make us feel so helpless in the face of what’s been taken away and can never be replaced. I can’t even begin to comprehend the twisted fate that would allow such a tragic event to happen to a place that brought so many smiles. For our anime community, this is by far the worst thing that’s ever happened, and it’s put into perspective how small and connected our community might still be when mainstream media outlets are reporting on this, #PrayForKyoAni is trending worldwide and yet this feels so oddly personal. If you like to help out, there is a GoFundMe by Sentai Filmworks or if you want to support KyoAni directly, you can do so by purchasing some of their digital prints on their website. Links in the description for all the information you need. I will be donating a hundred percent of the first two weeks adsense of this video before turning the ads off along with a thousand dollars of my own money. If I was ever thankful I have any kind of reach, it’s so I can help spread this word and even if I’ve just convinced the few of you to help out too, it’ll all have been completely worth it. Normally I try to end these kinds of videos on a hopeful, heartwarming notes and though I’m proud of this response the community has given, there is nothing that could make up for the devastation that’s happened. So I’ll end this the only way I know I can. To everyone at Kyoto Animation, to everyone who has managed to put a smile on my face, touched me, moved me in some way and even though it hurts to say, to everyone who I’ll now never be able to express what their work meant to me.. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you.