"A Silent Voice" "A Silent Voice"

Almost a year since a devastating arson attack destroyed its building and killed dozens of its employees, Kyoto Animation is rising from the ashes. The studio is hiring once again.

On its website, KyoAni (as it is widely known) has posted openings for both fixed-term and year-round jobs, starting in the fiscal year 2021 (i.e. next April). They include 2d animation roles, 3d cg positions (modeling, rigging, effects, animation production), and managers and system engineers. Recruitment was supposed to start earlier, but was delayed due to the coronavirus.

The studio is also accepting applications for its animator training program, as well as that of its sister studio Animation Do. The courses run for a year from October; applicants must be aged 18–25.

Hourly rates for animators at KyoAni start at 1,000 yen (USD$9.32). Once they are hired as full-time staff, the animators are paid a monthly salary of 202,000 yen (USD$1,881.69), which includes the first 30,000 yen’s worth of overtime (extra overtime results in more pay). Staff also receive a range of benefits, including 30,000 yen per month for travel expenses and the possibility of bonuses.

These are generous terms by anime’s standards. The very fact that much of the staff is hired on a full-time basis sets KyoAni apart in an industry reliant on contractors and freelancers. The studio’s employment policies stand in sharp contrast to the labor law abuses at Studio Trigger and Studio 4°C in Tokyo, which were reported last month.

Work culture aside, KyoAni well known for its series and occasional films, which place an emphasis on high production values. It created a run of hit series in the 2000s, such as K-On! and Lucky Star; its post-apocalyptic sci-fi series Violet Evergarden has been picked up by Netflix. The feature A Silent Voice (image at top) competed at Annecy in 2017.

On July 18 last year, a fire was started in the company’s 1st Studio Building, killing 36 and injuring 33 more. A 41-year-old suspect was apprehended at the scene and has reportedly confessed to starting the fire, alleging that KyoAni ripped him off. The suspect was formally arrested in May — he was so badly injured in the fire that police had been unable to question him before that. He remains bedbound.


Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit is Deputy Editor of Cartoon Brew.