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Thursday, April 25, 2024 

North Korean animators said to have worked on anime productions, and even Invincible in the USA

According to the Mainichi, an animation company in the still-communist north Korea was discovered to have worked on both an anime production in Japan, and even the Invincible cartoon in the USA:
North Korean animators are believed to have worked on programs produced by Japanese and U.S. studios despite sanctions against doing business with the country, a research report released Monday said.

U.S.-based website 38 North, which covers events related to North Korea, said that documents accessed online showed the programs worked on included "Dahliya In Bloom," a Japanese animation series due to air from July and a third season of "Invincible" produced by California-based Skybound Entertainment and to be broadcast on Amazon Prime.

The report said there is no evidence to indicate the studios knew that part of their projects had been outsourced to North Korean animators.
Even so, this certainly sounds scandalous. Animation Magazine has more:
A new report from researches at Washington-based North Korea watchdog program 38 North raises flags that animation artists in the country have worked on animated projects from overseas studios. Files discovered on a DPRK internet server included animations, written instructions and comments that appear related to certain productions, and appear to be tied to subcontracting work from Chinese studios.

38 North revealed that potentially involved productions include Season 3 of Amazon MGM Studios/Skybound Entertainment’s Invincible, for Prime Video. Files contained both the series title and that of a Skybound subsidiary, Viltrumite Pants, LLC, the production label behind the show. Skybound told Reuters it had no knowledge of North Korean studios working on its animation, and has initiated an internal review as well notifying and cooperating with “proper authorities.”

Also possibly impacted is Iyanu, based on the African superhero comics created by YouNeek Studios and being produced by Lion Forge Entertainment for Cartoon Network and Max. No additional comment from the studios and streamers was offered.
Well, this could be telling too. China's a communist-led country as well, and even if north Korea wasn't cited as an issue here, China's involvement still raises some red flags. It sure embarrasses whatever reputation Skybound has along with Invincible. Lion Forge could also be tainted by the news.

What this makes clear is that if the Japanese and USA studios involved really don't want to embarrass themselves, they're going to have to check carefully what sources are involved in the development of their proudctions. This does not look good for the studios involved, in Japan or the USA.

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