Recently I watched the animated sci-fi short film Under the Dog. What set this anime apart wasn't its setting or plot but the fact that it was crowdfunded on Kickstarter. While my opinions of Under the Dog are mixed I believe that anime being produced through unconventional methods like Kickstarter is a good thing. So I thought I'd highlight some other alternative ways anime is being created.
The Young Animator Training Project is an annual project created by the Japanese Animation Creators Association in 2010 and currently run by the Association of Japanese Animations. The goal of the Young Animator Training Project is to train animators by giving them the opportunity to direct short films.
The Young Animator Training Project has actually led to the creation of two anime series. The Little Witch Academia television series that was announced by animation studio Trigger this year started as a short film by the same name. While the anime Death Parade by animation studio Madhouse started as the short film Death Billiards.
The Japan Animator Expo is a weekly series of animated shorts streamed worldwide on the video sharing website Niconico as part of a collaboration between animation studio Khara and Dwango. The exhibition was started in 2014 by Khara founder Hideaki Anno in an effort to give more worldwide exposure to new animators.
The Japan Animator Expo mostly includes animated shorts created by Khara and Trigger two studios that originate from acclaimed animation studio Gainax. What really impressed me about the animated shorts in the exhibition is how unique the visuals are especially the shorts that utilize CGI animation.
I think it's great that animators in Japan get opportunities to try new things and create what they want. I would love to see programs like the Young Animator Training Project and Japan Animator Expo started in America so animators can make original animated films outside of college. Kickstarter projects like Cannon Busters and Bee and PuppyCat certainly make me hopeful for the future.