South Korean animation, or “K-animation,” has been positioned to be the next chapter of “K-wave” following the global success of Korean film, K-pop and K-dramas, says one of the agencies that pledge to put the content on the world stage.
The success of animated feature thriller “Beauty Water,” which has been a film festival circuit hit this year, and “Baby Shark Dance,” an animated video by South Korean education company Pinkfong that has nearly 7.4 billion views, has boosted the country’s confidence in its animation industry, said Bokyung Park, director of Seoul Animation Center at Seoul Business Agency, an organization under the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
“Non-mainstream K-content that was not exactly at the center of attention in the domestic cultural industry is now becoming sensational in the global market, from children’s content to Korean traditional music and creative animation … If we continue to target the global market with K-animation, we expect that this will open up the next chapter of K-wave,” Park told Variety.
The agency is presenting more than 20 titles at the Korea Animation Pavilion at Singapore’s Asia Television Forum this year. They cover a wide variety of genres with original properties and kids edutainment tailored for infants, to preschool children and elementary school students, Park said.
“Animation is a popular genre in Korean theaters where the percentage of family audiences is quite high, and animation plays a role as an important educational media in Korean society,” Park said. Park said that “kids family” are keywords for South Korean films in 2019.
While animation has long been associated with Japanese anime or the major U.S. studios, South Korea has established itself as a hub for animation production, according to Park. The animation industry in South Korea began as an outsourcing subcontractor for U.S. companies in the 1960s. But now there are some 509 animation studios operating in the country, more than half of which are based in Seoul. The country saw 93 animated features of all origins released last year.