Don't let declining animation revenues and skyrocketing unemployment get you down; your Japanese knight in candy-colored armor will soon trot into town on his bug-eyed steed with succor for all. Or at least a more entertaining environment to enjoy whatever hallucinogens you turn to as the recession deepens: The iconic Japanese artist/animator/sculptor/merchandiser Takashi Murakami is opening an L.A. studio in 2009.The LAT reports today that Murakami, the "Japanese Warhol" and low-culture recycler who was received like a rock star at last year's MOCA retrospective, is leasing 9,000 square feet on N. Highland Ave. for his West Coast outpost. He and about 30 employees will commence blowing your mind with variations on Murakami's celebrated cheer-mutants KaiKai and Kiki, who will reportedly receive a feature-length treatment as the artist's housewarming gift to himself:

"Animation and film have always been among my greatest influences, ever since I first saw Star Wars and Hayao Miyazaki's films," Murakami said in a statement. "This studio represents a great step in the evolution of Kaikai Kiki and gives me a closer proximity to the community of artists with whom I hope to collaborate as I continue my explorations of animated and live-action film."

Got it, tipsters? When you see that inevitable Craigslist ad anonymously soliciting interns for "Massive Scatological Adventures in Watermelon-Husbandry," it's just Murakami. Send the link our way anyway; he's a neighbor worth keeping tabs on.