By Magdelena Long
Twitter is shook thanks to a Boruto: Naruto Next Generations episode’s end credits showing Malaysian names. It turns out that a local animation studio, Dreamatix Studio was involved in the making of the episode. We wanted to know more about these local heroes of the animation community in Malaysia. We took the opportunity to have a quick chat with with Ahmad Zaim Bin Zainal Abidin, the Managing Director of Dreamatix Studio, who were involved in the making of a Boruto: Naruto Next Generations episode, episode 53.
Struggling at first, Dreamatix Studio now has its name on two well-known animes, Kokkoku and Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. Ahmad Zaim reveals how he managed to do it despite difficulties that he faced and also the hopes he has for Dreamatix Studio. This shows how Malaysia’s creative industry is finally coming into it’s own, and we can’t wait to see more studios popping up and maybe creating their own animations one day.
1.How did Dreamatix Studios get involved in this episode?
It was a funny story actually. One of my friends, Stephani Soejono, who is the author of Tales of the Bidadari, was asking on Facebook if there is anybody who is good in 2D animation. I responded to it and was introduced to another friend, which then introduced me to a representative of the company who is doing the work. When he said that it was an anime project, I wanted to decline at first, knowing that there are many differences between a Japanese production and a modern production, particularly they still draw their animation on paper for the most part, but I decided to give it a shot anyway and try a few scenes. This would later end up in an episode of Kokkoku episode 11. Mine you, I am still working in Malaysia and send most of my stuff over the net. And also having to communicate somewhat using Google translate and the translate app online. I was given 60 cuts to do for the episode and I knew that I had to make this work somehow so with the name I registered before I decided to start operation in a terrace house with 8 intern students, and a few freelancers here and there. After completing Kokkoku we got more cuts for boruto, which was a challenge on its own. The client was great at explaining a few processes and how their production work. Because of this i was able to run the company for 4 months now and were still thriving. The lesson here is to always say yes and give it a shot anyway, even if you don’t know if your be accepted or not.
2.How did it feel to take part in making an actual Japanese anime, and do you think Malaysia’s skill level is in the same league?
I would not say that we’re the same league as Japanese animators. Mostly I have to be honest that we are still lacking in a lot of areas, particularly in drawing. Since the company mostly uses interns, and with me being the only one with the know how, I have to check their scenes and give the necessary corrections, and also juggle with other things involving the day to day of running a company, and also manage the freelancers. Most freelancers used are from Malaysia, but there are also from Indonesia and also other parts of SEA. In fact, for Boruto we had one Indonesian in the group, Jeremy Anandajoo, to set the record straight.
3.What was the best experience you gained from this?
I would have to say, just having the chance to work on series from Japan is great, we need to make sure that this cycle keeps going. Hopefully I keep being their go to guy for this kind of works.
4.What were the challenges you faced as a studio?
Drawing will always be a bit tricky as it requires a great deal of understanding such as anatomy and perspective, but also keeping the character on model. The other tricky part would be communication, there were times where the translation from the LINE app differs greatly from the Google translate and I had to double check.
5.What are your future plans for Dreamatix Animation Studio?
We’re still a small company overall, at the moment we’re not able to hire people with the lack of funds. We hope that with the projects that we have done previously, it can prove that we are serious in the industry and want to make our dreams a reality. With proper funds I would like to develop the company and be able to be as big as the previous company I was attached to, hopefully, but the seed has to be planted somewhere first. We have a few ideas that will need a lot of money to get realized, but hopefully this is one step worth taking, and people will keep on supporting us. Like Obi Wan said, “you have taken the first step into a larger world”.
We would love to see more animation from Dreamatix Studio and wish all the best for them. You can check out their FB page to know more https://www.facebook.com/ngimpian/.