Scott Johnson and Patrick Brzeski write a thoroughly researched feature about this tragedy:
Three weeks before the fire, Yoshiji Kigami, 61, one of KyoAni’s most respected animators who had been with the company for more than two decades, spoke at a morning meeting about what he understood to be the company ethos, noting that “work isn’t everything” but that while they were at the office, those at KyoAni should support one another and “make the most of simply being here right now by creating the best work we can.”
The hub of much of KyoAni’s creative output was Studio One. From outside, the building was unassuming, a rectangular block with large windows and a rooftop balcony. But the interior was tranquil, with a spa-like atmosphere. Warm blond wood lined the walls, and straw tatami mats were spread out in a corner where employees were invited to rest, stretch or gather for brainstorming sessions. The central feature of the building was a spiral staircase that curled down from the third floor and spilled into the lobby, a creative lifeline connecting departments and people.