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France’s Ankama backs recently opened anime-inspired Studio Unagi in Canada

Guillaume Dubois, founder of Ankama

French animation studio Ankama has struck a strategic partnership with a fledgling studio in Canada merging Japanese animation styles with Canadian creatives.

Founded by Guillaume Dubois with support from Ankama CEO Anthony Roux, Studio Unagi recently opened in Montreal and is working on two productions from Roubaix-based Ankama.

These are Bestiale (7×11′), a production for Animation Digital Network (ADN) in France, and Sacré-Coeur (26×26′), for public service broadcaster France Télévisions.

The studio said it has received over 700 applications from potential employees in just two months.

The studio’s workforce is currently made up of 90% Canadian talent, with women holding 75% of all roles, including senior positions in production and animation.

The studio has been set up to meet the “growing” production needs of Ankama and the two aim to create 2D animation projects together. As well as provide service work, Studio Unagi also plans to diversify its activities, exploring new areas such as YouTube and video games.

The strategic partnership with Ankama, known for its online game Dofus and the animated series Wakfu, is based on a longstanding relationship between Dubois and Roux.

Dubois, founder and president of Studio Unagi, said: “Our ambition with Studio Unagi is to combine the technical and artistic excellence of Japanese animation with the cultural richness and creativity of Montreal to offer a competitive presence in North America. We aim to create works that resonate with anime fans worldwide while providing a space where talents can thrive.”

Anthony Roux, founder of Ankama, added: “Our collaboration with Studio Unagi stems from our shared passion for animation and our desire to push the boundaries of creativity. Leveraging their expertise, we want to bring a new dynamic to the industry and create captivating stories that honour the spirit and aesthetics of the Ankama universe and anime in general.”

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