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1 month on from Kyoto Animation fire, fans and locals pray for recovery

Messages and illustrations for the victims of the Kyoto Animation fire are seen in an area for people to leave offerings for the dead, in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, on Aug. 18, 2019. (Mainichi/Ai Kawahira)

KYOTO -- Aug. 18 marked one month since the July 18 arson attack on Kyoto Animation Co.'s 1st Studio building that left 35 people dead, drawing attention and support for the company from across the world.

Nodoka Morita, 16, a first-year high school student living in Kyoto's Sakyo Ward, visited an area set up for people to lay flowers and other items for the victims near the site. She left a drawing she had done of "K-On!" a production by the company that she really likes.

Immediately after the attacks, she says she and her friends cried. "I want to thank all of the people who died for making such great works for all of us," she said.

Toshihiro Matsui, 60, a board member of a neighborhood community association near the studio, left an offering of 1,000 folded paper cranes, a symbol of peace, that were made by a group of locals. "We want Kyoto Animation to overcome this incident," he said.

The MOVIX Kyoto movie theater in the city's Nakagyo Ward is currently showing the company's latest theatrical work, "Free!-Road to the World-the Dream," in which a group of competitive swimmers aim to compete on the world stage.

A company employee, 42, from Kyoto's Shimogyo Ward, went to see the film on Aug. 18. "The color of the water was beautiful, and it was a great movie with that 'Kyoto Animation quality,' but I felt sad to watch it thinking that some of its staff had been killed. I want the company to get back on its feet," she said.

(Japanese original by Toshiyuki Mano and Shota Harumashi, reporting from Kyoto)

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