Japan is already home to some of the world’s biggest media franchises and Korea is making its mark with global sensations such as Hwang Dong-hyuk’s Squid Game.
Is it outside the realm of possibility that these animators and artists could create the Pixar of Asia or produce the Korean Mission Impossible?
Asia will continue to make more ambitious films and animation content and the need for skilled VFX artists and animators will grow as well. Singapore now has an advantage over other Asian countries to fill that tremendous need.
Of course, this will not happen without a vision. It will take industry, entrepreneurs and government to identify and help fuel these opportunities.
INSPIRATION FROM MAKOTO SHINKAI’S YOUR NAME
Among the many stories of entrepreneurial bets made good, an example from this part of the world could be particularly instructive. In 2007, Noritaka Kawaguchi founded a fledgling animation company that by 2016 had chosen to back a promising but new animation director.
2016 was not a promising time for the Japanese animation industry. Just two years earlier, Studio Ghibli, a stalwart of the Japanese feature animation industry, announced it was shutting down. (The studio co-founded by acclaimed filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki ultimately did not do so.)
Expectations for the new film backed by CoMix Wave were modest, with a relatively small budget of 750 million yen (US$5.1 million).
That new director was Makoto Shinkai and his film was Your Name (Kimi no Nawa). It went on to gross US$382 million worldwide and single-handedly revitalised the Japanese feature animation industry.