Anime Studios Are Starting to Be Impacted by Japan's New COVID Wave

While vaccination efforts continue globally against the COVID pandemic, cases are rising all over as restrictions have wobbled during the summer season. The United States has been hit by surges in southern states where vaccination levels wane while the U.K. is doing well despite the delta variant's arrival. In Japan, cases are on the uptick as vaccinations are rolling out slowly, and it seems anime studios are being impacted by the wave now.

According to a new report by Anime News Network, one director has spoken out about the pandemic's most recent impact on studios. Takashi Watanabe, a well-known artist and director, outed the situation on Twitter. It was there he said he knows at least one animation studio has "gone on lockdown due to a COVID cluster" and there could be more.

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According to Watanabe, the unnamed studio has imposed an "implicit gag order" about the situation, but the director heard about it regardless. The artist went on to say the info was necessary to share amidst this surge, saying it is "dangerous" to keep such details private.

"Will they not understand unless animation workers start dying one after another? Or is it the workers' responsibility because they're often freelancers? Is the company itself not responsible," Watanabe asked in his Twitter thread.

The artist went on to ask why animation is carrying on in light of the pandemic. During the spring of 2020, the industry did shutter in many ways as studios and shows went on hiatus. As COVID came under better control by summer, the industry got back to work with some places opting for at-home options. Now as COVID is rising once again, some studios may be forced to return to at-home work, but production delays haven't cropped up as of yet.

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Still, plenty of people in the industry have been impacted by COVID. Nyonnyon, a popular animator on Twitter, told followers they know of five companies where an employee has tested positive. And when it comes to voice talent, a slew of actors have been infected to date. Hiroyuki Yoshino, Kento Hama, Shinichiro Miki, Chiharu, Tomohiro Hashimoto, and many others have confirmed their diagnosis in the last month. So as this surge continues, fans can expect more stories like this to pop up.

What do you make of this new industry report? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.