This shot of the Production I.G. studio may become a thing of the past according to a disturbing story posted at Japan Probe this morning. Apparently hours of repetitive (and expensive) tracing, inking and colouring is being outsourced to studios on the Asian mainland by the major Japanese animation houses. It may make sense when it comes down to dollars and cents, but it's those hours of drudgery that many anime purists believe help create great animators. Their fear is that with jobs going overseas the animation industry will ultimately begin to decline. Of course this affect of globalization is being felt in more than just the animation industry, but for a country that prides its traditions of hand drawn cel animation it's a very sad sign of the time.
Follow the link above to check out a news item about the growing crisis from Japanese television as well as a possible solution: a series of textbooks and instructional DVDs that their publishers hope will prepare young readers for a career in animation. Let's hope they work!