Kyoto Animation Suspends Kyoto Animation Awards in Aftermath of Deadly Arson Attack

Since 2010, anime production company Kyoto Animation has held an annual contest called the Kyoto Animation Awards. Despite the name, it’s actually a novel-writing contest, accepting submissions from writers of either amateur or professional status.

Winning entries are published under Kyoto Animation’s KA Esuma Bunko book label, and the writer of the grand prize winner also earns a one million yen (US$9,260) cash prize. But what’s arguably the biggest part of the prestige package is that Kyoto Animation Award-winners often get fast-tracked for adaptation into Kyoto Animation-produced anime. Previous entries that have followed that path include inaugural prize-winner Love, Chunibyo & Other DelusionsTsurune, and High Speed!, which became swimming anime Free!

However, Kyoto Animation has announced that is suspending this year’s Kyoto Animation Awards, which would have been the 11th iteration, indefinitely. A statement was been posted on the company’s website this week, in which the organizers say:

“Following the arson attack on Kyoto Animation that occurred on July 18, we have received words of encouragement from many people, and would like to express our deep appreciation.

We have been receiving submissions from many entrants every day, and our judges were excited about the prospect of finding a novel that can be part of a new age of creative output.

However, our entire staff is currently engaged in recovery efforts following the arson attack, and so we have decided to suspend the 11th Kyoto Animation Awards.”

▼ Covers of previous winners

The decision does not appear to be specifically motivated by the connection between the Kyoto Animation Awards and the accused arsonist, who submitted a novel in a previous round of the contest which was not chosen for a prize, and who claimed Kyoto Animation had “stolen from his novel” as police took him into custody immediately following the attack. Rather, it looks as if Kyoto Animation simply doesn’t have the time, energy, or other resources to devote to running the contest as it deals with the emotional and practical difficulties of recovering from the attack that killed 35 of its employees and injured roughly as many.

Kyoto Animation says it is currently considering how to handle entries that have already been received, and will be posting a follow-up once it has chosen a course of action. “We deeply apologize to those who were looking forward to the awards and are troubled or inconvenienced by this decision,” the company adds, though fans of the Kyoto Animation Awards can at least look forward to the anime movie for Violet Evergarden, the 2014 Kyoto Animation Awards grand prize-winner, which has a beautiful new trailer celebrating the company’s first major release since the attack.