Here’s an interesting piece of industry news. 8-Bit, the studio behind stuff like Irregular at Magic High School and Encouragement of Climb, just set up a regional office in Niigata City. That’s about three hours from Tokyo on the Shinkansen.
8-Bit is recruiting animators for the new branch for April 2022.
Niigata is also home to a branch of Production I.G.
We’ve written a lot about how animators (especially young ones) face issues of low pay and hard working conditions. One strategy being used by studios is to establish branches outside Tokyo, where the industry is largely clustered, to try to break out of this cycle. Places like Niigata or Toyama, where P.A.Works is located, have lower cost of living, and studios can also receive government subsidies. Niigata is currently looking into what measures it can provide for 8-Bit.
In a world where more and more work is done electronically, it makes sense for the industry to become more diffuse throughout Japan. Let’s hope this is a small step towards improving conditions for animators!