Back in 2005, Sunrise — the studio responsible for Cowboy Bebop, the Gundam franchise, and beyond — started its own “sakuga school.” The year-long program accepted a small number of students, trained them rigorously in animation, and then gave them opportunities for jobs at the company. The doors closed on the school in 2011. But next April, aspiring animators from around the world will have another chance.
Between 2005 and 2011, the Sunrise sakuga school trained up animators, directors, and character designers for Tiger & Bunny, Love Live! School Idol Project, and many others. Aspiring animators get help from big names in the field along the way. For this coming school year, Hunter x Hunter director Hiroshi Koujina will be the chief lecturer. More will be announced later.
Want to take part? First, you need to be between the ages of 18-25 (or be scheduled to graduate high school by March of next year). Keep in mind, a grasp of Japanese above an everyday conversational level is a must — they do take non-Japanese applicants, but classes are conducted in Japanese! If you fit these conditions and have some work to share, you can visit the official site and send in your application.
What are your odds of getting in? Well, it’s a very difficult screening. There’s only room for ten students per year! But those ten students get their tuition waived and get a monthly 100,000 yen stipend, plus a sure shot at a job at the studio once they’re done. So this isn’t just any old seminar… it’s pretty much job training!
All applications undergo rigorous review, and some applicants may be called back for interviews. If you’ve made it, you’ll know by the end of August, giving you time to get yourself out to Japan (if you’re not already there) and start training for your new career!
Will you be giving it a go? Let us know in the comments!