It had been two years ago last Sunday when that fateful tragedy befell Kyoto Animation (or KyoAni) in which an arson attack left 36 dead and 33 injured. I don’t know what it is, but these past few weeks saw me gravitate inadvertently towards material produced by this well-loved animation studio – I had season 2 of K-On!! playing in the background while doing some spring cleaning, as well as discovering the joys of Kobayashi-san chi no meidoragon on Crunchyroll which left me in stitches while not minding to re-watching the episodes only to be greeted by the second season after three weeks. Come to think of it, I’ll be able to catch S2E03 tonight.

I remembered gravitating towards K-On! all those years ago, incidentally at the same time when I met the missu… I mean, discovered SCANDAL, so much so I thought the Osakan foursome was a breathing manifestation of the anime girls, or even the other way around. It was also the first time that I discovered the slice-of-life genre – which in K-On!, pretty much showcases the humdrum of daily life of a bunch of high school girls going to classes, and later helping themselves to tea and cake (their teacher/supervisor is just as bad) after school as opposed to band practice. The chilled feeling of watching K-On! was a far cry from seeing a high schooler unleashing a bankai on Arrancars, the slice-of-life genre serves the purpose of allowing me to unwind – the lack of brain engagement is pretty good after a day at work!

After K-On! ended, I tried to watch a few other KyoAni series – namely Tamako Māketto and Hibike! Yūfoniamu – but for some reason or other I began to lost interest after a couple of episodes, dropping them altogether which coincided with a period in my life when I watched not much anime. Fast forward a few years later when I discovered Shinkai Makoto’s superb Byōsoku Go Senchimētoru which coincided with my first trip to Japan, my interest in anime was rekindled. Interestingly, however, my first Japan trip was bereft of an all-out animu geek’s Akiba shopping trip. Come to think of it, my first ever scale anime figure that I bought in Akiba was on my third trip to said city two years later.

KyoAni came back into my life at the same time too with a late introduction to the world of Suzumiya Haruhi but for some reason I dropped it as it was somewhat bizarre, not forgetting the dated look[1] to the first episode. It was so much later that I found out that there is another way to watch the series and fast forward to the present day, I have began to watch the antics of Haruhi and her friends in the chronological (as opposed to the broadcast which explained the bizarreness of the story) order. I then came upon a film called Koe no Katachi which was another KyoAni gem….

The reason for this pause in this entry is because I still haven’t watched it yet despite buying the blu-ray as I need to be, um… mentally prepared.

As much as the above anime film can (that’s what many have attested to) make one bawl like a baby, stuff from KyoAni can make you laugh out loud. Looking at their material that can be considered ecchi/lewd anywhere else for some reason only makes me see the funny side of the scene, as opposed, to… you know.

Yup, the above only makes me laugh. Totally wholesome stuff, really.

Which brings me back to how I remembered feeling horrified when I first heard the arson which was actually reported on British TV (which goes to show the gravity of the incident), but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago when my inadvertent viewing of KyoAni’s anime works that I discovered the numerous tributes made by anime fans everywhere. My favourite was one made by Gigguk on YouTube and I’d be lying if I said that a delayed heart-tugging response didn’t occur when I watched it, only to then realise at that moment that the two years anniversary to that fatal incident was a week away.

Season 2 of Kobayashi-san is KyoAni’s first foray into TV broadcast anime since that day when many talents were lost. Creative talents that had a hand in making me laugh and cry all those years ago. All I can say is I look forward to more laughing/crying with them from now on.

And I promise to watch Koe no Katachi soon as well.

[1]That’s because the first episode comprised entirely of a home movie project directed by Haruhi shot on a camcorder, with really bad acting by all parties involved. And Mikuru is best girl.