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The art of Korean animation (Korean: 한국 애니메이션), or Aeni (Korean: 한국 애니) has gone from hand-held flip books in early times to studios that produce work for major American and Japanese animation companies.
According to Korea Creative Content Agency, in 2010, the character market share of domestic characters was about 28% in Korea. The remaining 72% were occupied by the foreign character such as from Japan and USA. But in 2014 the character market share of domestic characters soared to 40%. The value of Korean character market reached 8 trillion won in 2013. In 2012, Experts predicted that the total market size will grow to 10 trillion won in the near future .
The type of work ranges from collaboration/minor contribution contracts, to most of the work. The South Korean animation industry can be considered dynamic in that there are around 120 animation studios, mostly competing with some of the larger studios that throw smaller studios by way of overseas export market (OEM) work. While it is mostly firms in South Korea that contract with Western studios, some of the work is reported to be subcontracted to North Korea as well.
Active animation studios or companies of South Korea include:
- Digital eMation
- Dong Woo Animation
- DR Movie
- Busan DR
- G&G Entertainment
- Hanho Heung-Up
- Heewon Entertainment
- Plus One Animation
- Rough Draft Korea
- Saerom Animation
- Studio Mir
- Sunwoo Entertainment
The Korean animation industry was in a period of crisis throughout the 2000s as depression born of the realities of being merely an industry the West gave factory-type drawing work to, began to sink in. This followed the 1990s, a period of explosive growth for the industry when Korean studios made most of their profits from OEM, mostly from the United States.
In many ways 2011 was a bright transitional year for Korean animation with "home-produced" animated feature films finally finding box office success in South Korea instead of the usual financial failure. As far as OEM is concerned, the likes of Rough Draft Korea (RDK) keep on landing new contracts which have seen Rough Draft perform the manual work on over 45 popular "Western" cartoon titles over the last 16 years.
Korean animation has boomed in popularity in Eastern Asia with the success of the series Pororo the Little Penguin and Origami Warriors in 2011, leading fans to want to discover more Korean animated product. This success is due to the perfecting of technique and financial returns being reinvested into new animated products.
Some Korean animators still blame the booming Korean game industry for draining the animation industry's talent pool, but the box office success of the Korean animated film Leafie in 2011 in South Korea is inspiring a new generation.
Korean animation characters in public spaces
- Larva subway is subway that features Larva character. Based on popularity of Larva (TV series), Larva subway operated from November, 2014 until May, 2015 on line No.2. The Seoul government and Seoul Metro explained that they wanted to give the citizen a chance to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the opening of the subways with Larva subway.
- Tayo buses were organized by Seoul Metropolitan Government, the Bus Transport Business Association, and the animation company which made Tayo the Little Bus for The Public Transportation Day. In 2014, the Seoul Metropolitan Government commissioned buses designed as the characters Tayo the Little Bus to run around the Gwanghwamun Square area of the city.
- In 2014, statue of Larva (TV series) and Pororo the Little Penguin was installed in World park which is a square in the Lotte World II Hotel. They were well received by citizens and tourist.
- The Atlantic: A New Age of Animation
- Oh, Daeseok (2014-12-28). "8조 캐릭터 시장, 도약하는 토종 캐릭터" [8 billion character market, Growing domestic character]. Business Post.
- "Korazy Art Exhibit". Korazy.com.au. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- "Finecut Sells Animated 'Leafie' to U.S., U.K., Australia". The Hollywood Reporter. 2011-11-22. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- Gang, Jieun (2015-05-29). "지하철 2호선 '라바 열차', 이달 운행 종료" ['Larve subway' on line No.2. End of this month]. Newsis.
- Oh, Wonseok (2014-04-02). "서울시'타요버스', 이렇게 찾아요" ['Tayo bus' of Seoul city, find this way]. Bloter.
- Song, Hwajung (2014-10-31). "롯데월드몰, 그랜드 오픈 기념 이벤트 풍성" [Lotte world mall grand open was well received]. Asia Economy.
- ^ - Animators gather as industry faces transition - JoongAng Daily newspaper
- ^ - Sunny Lee, "US cartoons 'made in North Korea'", Asia Times, Mar 14, 2007
- Animation Museum in Chuncheon, South Korea
- History of Korean animation (long English article)
- History of robot anime of South Korea (in Japanese, with images & video clip)
- Korea & Animation blog
- information on South Korean knock-off films of the 1970s to mid-1990s
- Fanzine article listing RDK outsourced cartoons
- Pucca (TV series)