Cartoon dreams: Netflix's Japan anime school targets booming demand

Asia's Tech News Daily
Cartoon dreams: Netflix's Japan anime school targets booming demand

Japan is facing a shortage of skilled animators, in part because most face years toiling in low-paying jobs to learn the ropes.

TOKYO: Armed with a set of pencils and a feather to sweep away eraser dust, Hitomi Tateno is training the next generation of anime artists at a new Netflix-funded academy as global demand for the Japanese genre soars.

From runaway box office triumph “Demon Slayer” to recent Cannes sensation “Belle”, anime has shaken off its reputation as a geeky subculture, drawing in hordes of new fans during virus lockdowns.

But Japan is facing a shortage of skilled animators, in part because most face years toiling in low-paying jobs to learn the ropes, meaning much of the painstaking frame-by-frame drawing work is outsourced overseas.

That’s something the US streaming giant thinks it can change with its WIT Animator Academy, which offers a group of junior artists free training and a stipend for living expenses as they learn.

George Wada, president of top anime production house WIT Studio, which is running the training with Netflix, compares it to other fast tracks into demanding industries.

“If you become an apprentice with a top sushi chef, it may take years before you master all the recipes, but you can go to a sushi academy and finish the whole curriculum in one year,” he explained.

The six-month course focuses on “in-between” art — the frames between each “master” picture that create the illusion of movement.

Tateno, who has worked on top titles from Studio Ghibli’s “Spirited Away” to cult classic “Akira”, has built a successful career by in-betweening.

“This job is like weaving a rug. It’s very delicate and requires patience,” the anime veteran told AFP as she checked lines drawn by a student.

“Many aspiring animators want to quickly step up to a key animator position, and even if some want to specialise in in-betweening, not many can survive.”

The in-betweeners

There’s no doubt about the growing demand for animators.

More than 100 million households worldwide watched at least one anime on Netflix in the 12 months to September 2020, a figure that grew 50 percent year on year, the US entertainment behemoth says.

The firm hopes the academy will “help the future of Japanese animators to spread their wings to the world through their works”, with eventual plans to expand and offer tracks into other animation specialities.

“We will continue our efforts to support and strengthen the talent that supports the animation industry,” Taiki Sakurai, Netflix’s chief producer for anime, told AFP.

It is part of a strategy to compete with the likes of Crunchyroll, the world’s largest online anime library, bought by Sony this year in a $1.17 billion deal.

With the first six-month programme finished, the WIT Academy is now welcoming its second cohort of students.

The graduates will be offered jobs at WIT studio or one of its affiliates to produce Netflix shows in a team.

But they will be entering an industry where staff retention is a dire problem, with salaries still dismal and in-betweeners staying in the job just four years on average.

Most in-betweeners in Japan are freelance or part-time, with only 18 percent holding full-time positions, and 80 percent of in-between work is sent abroad, mainly to China or South Korea, the Japan Animation Creators Association (JAniCA) says.

The safety net offered by free training, funding and a pathway to a career is rare, and WIT Academy student Maki Ueno said it made her “feel secure”.

“I have a friend working for another studio, who tells me the training programme is a lot shorter and there’s no payment during the training,” the 22-year-old, one of the 10 students in the first cohort, told AFP.

Daisuke Okeda, a lawyer and secretary at JAniCA, says the academy is part of a trend that could change the industry.

“It’s a common understanding that the animation quality goes up when a studio keeps skilled in-betweeners in the team,” he told AFP.

“Top studios have started investing in the area as well. The industry is already turning around.”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Take a peek into Singapore Art Museum's new Tanjong Pagar Distripark space

The new annexe comprises a public space on the ground floor of 39, Keppel Road and a office-cum-venue space on the third floor. SINGAPORE – The new Singapore Art Museum ... Read more »

Singha Estate finalizes sales at SANTIBURI the Residences worth Baht 5 billion

SANTIBURI The Residences, which features ultra-luxury houses priced from 250 million baht each, got a proof of success for Singha Estate Plc from developing its flagship low-rise residential project and ... Read more »

Unvaccinated urged to register for jab, as Omicron spreads overseas

Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, during Wednesday’s briefing on the Omicron variant of the disease, broadcast from Government House. (Screenshot) People who have not ... Read more »

Actor Gong Yoo has an Instagram account after 20 years in show business

SEOUL – Actor Gong Yoo has celebrated his 20th anniversary in show business by opening his first social media account. On Wednesday (Dec 1), his management agency said in a ... Read more »

The Doors of Perception: 2022 Dealing with disruption and the risks that come with it

George Orwell said, “To see what is in front of one’s door needs a constant struggle.” Business leaders must continually look beyond the door. What do they see now? Corporate ... Read more »

aminoVITAL joins Ministry of Tourism & Sports in ‘Thailand By UTMB 2021'

aminoVITAL, ready-to-drink power gel with amino acids, is sponsoring Thailand By UTMB 2021, a trail running race organised by the Ministry of Tourism & Sports. Mr. Varong Prayoonpong, Managing Director ... Read more »

Designers turn shale sand bags into handbags

Sisters Carla, Ornella and Mora Basilotta, owners of Fracking Design, discuss the design of a purse made with plastic sack used for holding sand in Vaca Muerta shale formation in ... Read more »

Bitkup plots expansion in bid to be Asia's coinbase

Jirayut Srupsrisop, chief executive officer of Bitkub Capital Group Holdings Co, speaks during an interview at the crypto exchange’s office in Bangkok on Friday. (Bloomberg photo) A Thai crypto exchange ... Read more »

US author Patricia Cornwell resurrects beloved Kay Scarpetta for Autopsy

NEW YORK (REUTERS) – Best-selling crime novelist Patricia Cornwell thought she was done with writing books for good, until the coronavirus pandemic struck and with it, inspiration for a new ... Read more »

Your horoscope for Dec 3-9

Your spot-on horoscope for work, money, couples & singles from the Bangkok Post's famously accurate fortune teller. Let's see how will you fare this week & beyond! Note– (⛹) is ... Read more »

Virgil Abloh honoured in his final fashion collection show in Miami

Virgil Abloh died on Nov 28 at age 41 following a private battle with cancer. MIAMI (REUTERS) – Louis Vuitton honoured Virgil Abloh at his last fashion collection show in ... Read more »

Rust armourer says she barely checked gun before fatal shooting: Police

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – The woman in charge of the gun fatally fired by actor Alec Baldwin on the set of Rust told police she “didn’t really check it too ... Read more »

Giddens Ko reunites with 'genius actor' Kai Ko for supernatural romance

Author-director Giddens Ko (right) with actor Kai Ko on the set of Till We Meet Again. SINGAPORE – Taiwanese author-director Giddens Ko says that working with Gingle Wang for the ... Read more »

Police officer seriously injured in road accident

Rescuers extract Pol Lt Saharat Kongmee, a deputy investigation chief of Udomsuk police station, from his SUV after it crashed into the rear of another vehicle on Debaratana Rd in ... Read more »

British singer James Arthur worries what his future kids will think of him

James Arthur says he finds the thought of parenthood exciting and scary at the same time. SINGAPORE – Children figure prominently in British singer James Arthur’s new album, It’ll All ... Read more »

At The Movies: Aline a fun, unauthorised take on Celine Dion's life story

A still from Aline, starring Valerie Lemercier. Aline (PG13) 122 minutes, opens Dec 2 4 stars This weird but heartfelt French-language fan letter to Canadian pop star Celine Dion opens ... Read more »

BTS' Dynamite tops Apple Music Singapore

SINGAPORE – Asian artistes made a strong showing in Apple Music’s list of most-streamed songs in Singapore this year (2021). Music fans here listened to K-pop titans BTS’ Dynamite the ... Read more »

Making the world crypto market your oyster

XSpring has obtained all four Digital Asset Licenses from the Ministry of Finance, under the supervision of the SEC, readying to offer an integrated, one-stop digital finance service that connects ... Read more »

Krungsri aims for 1m digital depositors by 2024

Ms Damisa says the platform is able to attract young savers with financial discipline. Kept by Krungsri, a digital savings platform under Bank of Ayudhya, aims to increase its depositors ... Read more »

Former police sergeant charged with attempted murder

Surapong Klabkaew, kneeling, is arrested outside a house in Muang district, Satun, on Tuesday for attempted murder in Songkhla’s Rattaphum district on Sunday. (Photo: Assawin Pakkawan) SONGKHLA: A former police ... Read more »

4 firms rush to produce mutant-specific vaccines

NEW YORK: Four of the world's Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers — Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Sinovac — are now developing new generations of their respective vaccines specifically targeting the ... Read more »

Thailand buying B600m supercomputer

Mr Narong (left) and Mr Palasilp jointly announce the supercomputer development. The National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) is paying 600 million baht to buy the most efficient supercomputer ... Read more »

Krungsri aims for 5m digital depositors by 2024

Ms Damisa says the platform is able to attract young savers with financial discipline. Kept by Krungsri, a digital savings platform under Bank of Ayudhya, aims to increase its depositors ... Read more »

Author Alice Sebold apologises to man wrongly convicted of her rape

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) – Best-selling author Alice Sebold on Tuesday (Nov 30) issued a public apology to a man who was wrongfully convicted of raping her 40 years ago in ... Read more »

4,886 new Covid cases, 43 more deaths

A worker on Tuesday sprays disinfectant as teachers wipe tables ahead of the reopening of on-site classes at Intarumphan Anusorn School in Samut Prakan, one of the provinces heavily hit ... Read more »

Unleashing the flood At Bangkok painting bar Soul Salt River City, a collaboration between two artists inspired people to freely express themselves

Chalah Chaveesuk and Maya Prat at the workshop. Photo: Natcha Jantararotai The Embassy of Israel recently embarked on a thrilling artistic journey titled “Maya x Nui: A Painting Workshop By ... Read more »

Comedian John Cleese to perform in BKK

photo courtesy of Live Nation Tero Global comedy superstar John Cleese will be in town to take Bangkok audiences to explore the imperfect world we live in during his stand-up ... Read more »

Shop for a good cause at the Hope Fair

photos courtesy of DavilYou The much-anticipated “Hope Fair Christmas Edition” is back to celebrate the coming holiday season with a holly jolly shopping spree in the Ballroom, 7th floor of ... Read more »

Seacon Square's art market is happening

photo courtesy of happening Art Market The art and design network “Happening”, the host of the pop-up Happening Art Market over the past few years, has returned again this year, ... Read more »

Search is on for stray Bengal tiger

This Bengal tiger, known as ‘Vijit’, that was last seen leaving a wildlife sanctuary in Uthai Thani, has not been found yet. photo by the Department of National Park, Wildlife and ... Read more »

CPN sets aside B3bn for 6 projects

Mr Nattakit (left) and Mr Kree at CPN’s press conference held for the grand opening of Central Ayutthaya. SET-listed retail and property developer Central Pattana (CPN) plans to spend 3 ... Read more »

Health centres debated

Most senators have voiced concern about and urged a revision of the plan to transfer more than 9,787 tambon health centres from the Ministry of Public Health to the Interior ... Read more »

Protesters call for lower cost of living

A network of labour groups and activists protested in front of Government House yesterday, demanding the government reduce the cost of living. The protest group comprised members of the Labor ... Read more »

Thailand to purchase B600m supercomputer

Mr Narong (left) and Mr Palasilp jointly announce the supercomputer development. The National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) is investing 600 million baht to deploy the most efficient supercomputer ... Read more »

Cabinet allots B141bn for rice, rubber

The cabinet on Tuesday approved a combined 141 billion baht to support an income guarantee scheme for rice and rubber farmers in the 2021-22 season. According to government spokesman Thanakorn ... Read more »

B20bn loans to bolster diesel subsidy

The Oil Fuel Fund Office (Offo) is preparing to obtain loans worth 20 billion baht from 10 commercial banks, following the government's approval to seek loans to support its subsidy ... Read more »

Bitkub rises up the ranking Daily trading value now stands at B28bn

Bitkub, a local digital asset exchange, ranked as the 10th largest cryptocurrency exchange in terms of trading value on Coingecko.com on Nov 29, spurred by a chain of successful partnerships ... Read more »

The race for an HIV vaccine To mark World Aids Day, researcher Prof Punnee Pitisuttithum provides an update on the progress of a jab that protects against the life-threatening disease

Thailand has come a long way since Dec 1, 1988, was dedicated as Aids awareness day. Last year, there were close to 500,000 HIV cases in the country, while UNAids ... Read more »

NBTC panned over budget

Bangkok Post file photo The Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) criticised the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission's (NBTC) budget spending as not being cost-effective, noting it often resorted to special ... Read more »

Mall Group, Bitkub form digital community Each firm has 50% stake in joint venture

Mr Jirayut (left) and Ms Supaluck at ‘The Pinnacle of Prosperity’ press conference. Ms Supaluck said the partnership scheme starts with the cooperation between The Mall Group and Bitkub before ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic