Photo/IllutrationPeople pray after offering flowers near the scene of the July 18 fire at a studio of Kyoto Animation Co. that claimed 33 lives. (Yoshiko Sato)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

Support and grief poured in from top figures in the animation industry and fans across the world in response to the deadly arson attack on an animation studio in Kyoto on July 18.

A fund-raising drive for Kyoto Animation Co. started by a U.S. anime distributor had exceeded $1 million (108 million yen) in just more than 24 hours.

On his Twitter account, Makoto Shinkai, director of the hit anime "Your Name.," posted, “All of Kyoto Animation Co., please be safe.”

Shinkai's latest film, “Weathering with You,” was screened for a world premiere at a Toho Cinemas theater in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward from midnight on July 19.

Referring to the fire at the Kyoto Animation studio, which killed 33 people and injured many others, Shinkai said, “We are all fellows in the same boat. If we continue to create (works) without being afraid, we will be happy, and that's what we should do.”

Noriko Hidaka, a well-known voice actress who voiced Minami Asakura in the popular anime “Touch,” also tweeted, “I don't know what to say in seeing the news about Kyoto Animation."

A post in Korean read, “I wish this was not real,” and the keyword “#kyoani” or similar hashtags spread on Twitter.

Sentai Filmworks, an animation works distributor headquartered in the U.S. state of Texas, tweeted, “Our hearts and thoughts are with Kyoto Animation,” followed by the start of a fund-raising drive through an online crowdfunding service.

The $1.27 million raised from about 38,800 people far surpassed the initial goal of $500,000.

Overseas, with the huge popularity of Japanese animation works, foreign media reported on the fire as a major breaking news story.

The BBC reported on its digital edition that Kyoto Animation “has produced popular animation shows including ‘K-On!.’”

The Xinhua News Agency, China’s state-run news service, also covered the fire as a news flash. The Chinese Embassy in Japan posted an expression of condolence.