Netflix Launches Anime Creators' Lounge in Tokyo
Netflix is quickly becoming a key influencer in the anime industry, producing and licensing a wealth of iconic series and films. Now, the content platform has opened an anime creators' lounge in Tokyo to provide professional tools and support for animators, designers and writers.
As reported by Variety, the Anime Creators' Base is located inside Netflix's new Tokyo office and is currently staffed by two veteran designers, Namiko Ishidate (Princess Principal) and Saina Cisse (Banana Fish), who will help creators develop their ideas and conceptual art. Teasing the creator base, Netflix posted a virtual tour of the space with the company's own anime ambassador N-ko Mei Kurono serving as the guide.
Netflix's chief producer of anime Taiki Sakurai discussed the idea behind the Anime Creators' Base in a recent blog post, writing, "When I first watched the hit anime series Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!, an inspiring story about three high schoolers coming together to found an animation club, I was intrigued by the idea of making a space where creative minds could gather. It reminded me that creative processes should always be driven by passion and having fun."
While the Anime Creators' Base is now open, there is still work to be completed. It will eventually support three creative areas: a designers' garage, a writers' garage and a multi-functional lab. The designers' garage will provide artists and creators help in developing a project's aesthetic look and the writers' garage will be a space for teams to conceptualize, write and edit scripts. In the multi-functional lab, staff will be able to experiment with new animation technologies, including advances in VR and motion capture.
"When we think about the process there are three classic stages pre-production, production and post. What we want to do is cater to a stage even prior to that. Concept artwork, image boards, rough designs," Sakurai explained. "So when we are creating an original show not based on an existing show or a manga the team will have an instant common image of what it will look like, while they are brainstorming ideas of story. This can sometimes be skipped because of lack of time or resources."
While many of the Anime Creators' Base's projects will be original stories, adaptations of existing works will also be a focus. Some of Netflix's most popular anime projects were created by adapting and reimagining pre-existing stories, such as Castlevania and The Seven Deadly Sins. "If we think that design adaptations are suitable for rebooting an existing manga property we will have the Creators Base people work on it and maybe bring it to the (IP) publisher and ask then what they think. Or we might visit a publisher of a novel, from Japan or abroad, but without any visual references. We could create an animated world and pitch that to the publisher," Sakurai said.