Among all the lousy news about the industry and how bad it is for animators, it’s good to be able to report some nice stuff now and again.
The good word today is that Toei Animation is establishing an animator training program which starts in 2023. The one-year program, called the Toei Animation Sakuga Academy, will get students ready to be animators, then offer students who pass jobs at Toei once they’re done.
According to Toei, one of the reasons for establishing the academy is that “due to the recent rapid expansion of the global animation market and the success of high quality works, the need for animators continues to increase both in quality and quantity, making it more difficult to secure human resources every year.”
All students will study douga (in-between frames) from April to June, then move to either the genga (key frame) course or douga track based on their goals and aptitude.
Here’s another cool point: the course will be free, and Toei will support students with a monthly 150,000 yen stipend.
Animators participating as teachers include:
Takeo Ide (Dragon Ball Z)
Hiroshi Kojina (Hunter x Hunter)
Nishiki Itaoka (Smile Precure)
Mai Ishii (Ushio & Tora)
Foreign nationals are also accepted, though they must have “at least daily conversational level of Japanese and reside in Japan.”
More details about the animator training program can be found here.
It’s great to hear about more and more studios being proactive about helping young animators and keeping the industry alive.