Netflix has identified a shortage of animators in Japan, and wants to change that. Enter the Wit Animator Academy, a new scheme the streamer has set up with Tokyo’s Wit Studio (Attack on Titan) and Sasayuri Video Training Institute.
Here are the details:
- The first-ever Wit Animator Academy will last six months, starting in April. It is open to high school graduates aged 25 or under. Participants must be in Tokyo and able to speak conversational Japanese, but don’t have to be Japanese citizens.
- Netflix will financially support the ten or so successful applicants. It will cover the tuition fee — 600,000 yen (USD$5,670) — and contribute 150,000 yen ($1,417) per month toward living costs.
- The participants will be mentored by Sasayuri’s instructors, including animator Hitomi Tateno (Akira, Spirited Away), as well as veteran Wit artists. After graduating, they will be contracted to work on Netflix’s projects at Wit Studio or its sister studio Production I.G (Ghost in the Shell).
- Demand for anime is rising fast, thanks largely to a booming overseas market. Netflix has been central to this growth, investing heavily in the industry. In 2018, it struck a non-exclusive co-production and distribution partnership with Wit and Production I.G.
- Despite anime’s global popularity, labor conditions remain harsh in many Japanese studios. The struggles of artists, many of whom barely earn a living wage, are widely documented. In 2019, we wrote about a documentary profile of an animator who earned USD$300–$600 per month.
Image at top: “Attack on Titan,” a series for which Wit Studio produced animation.