anime artist
WIT Studio animated the 2018 Pokémon movie, among others. Now you could train here. Source: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP

If you consider yourself a budding anime artist, here’s a precious opportunity to chase your dream in Tokyo. In support of the WIT Animator Academy launch, Netflix Japan is offering 10 scholarships to join the six-month animator training programme. This programme is created by Japanese animation studio WIT Studio and animation school Sasayuri Video Training Institute.

Here’s the clincher: this exclusive course is designed and taught by veteran anime artist Hitomi Tateno, who spent 30 years reviewing animation for Studio Ghibli. She worked on gems such as Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro, and Princess Mononoke. Netflix has tapped WIT Studio as an animation partner, with the latter being responsible for “Attack on Titan” and “Ghost in the Shell.”

anime artist

Got a talent for Japanese animation? Take it to the next level with this new training programme. Source: Olivier Douliery/AFP

On top of that, budding anime artists will receive mentorship and guidance from top WIT Studio animators — which Netflix hopes will create a “meaningful cycle of connecting, and bolstering best-in-class talent” for the future of anime. “It is artists with extraordinary craftsmanship behind the stories that breathe life into your favourite character, cut by cut. However, in Japan, animators have become a scarce profession compared to its rapidly growing demand. We want to change that,” Netflix Chief Producer of Anime Taiki Sakurai expressed in a statement.

How do I become an anime artist?

To qualify for this scholarship, you must be between 18 to 25 years old and have at least graduated from high school in March 2021. You must also be living in Japan (but you don’t have to be a citizen); all residents are welcome to apply as long as they have a conversational grasp of the Japanese language.

anime artist

Oscar-winning Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki has built a legacy with Studio Ghibli. Source: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP

What does the scholarship cover?

As this is a full-time course, students can expect to attend classes five days a week. Training to become an anime artist requires hours of dedicated work, so funding assistance will help lighten your burden while you focus. Netflix will pay for course fees and chip in for living expenses — and that’s not even its major contribution.

Netflix will also be consulting on the Sasayuri curriculum, bridging the gap between education and industry so that graduates may go on to animate for the production house under WIT Studio. As Netflix is one of the largest anime producers today, artists and creators would do well to follow this path. As Sakurai wrote, “It’s one thing to have a flourishing career as a talented animator. But we also think there’s opportunity for experienced animators to pass on their talent to younger generations through a structured programme.”

Where do I apply?

Sounds like a dream come true? Then act quick and apply for the WIT Animator Academy scholarship now on the official website — applications close Feb. 28, 2021. Only 10 spots are available to the most promising anime artists in Japan.