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The cries for help are getting louder, in particular over the last couple of years, and I think we as anime fans need to take a moment to pause and listen- really, listen. For those who are unaware, the new generation of animators in Japan are on the decline; the workload is huge, and the salary is miserable (on average, about 235,000 yen ($2,189USD) per month.) Anime schools are closing. On top of that, the demand for anime has been booming. Animators are often hospitalised due to being overworked, some for up to a month of ten hours or more a day without a single day off in order to meet deadlines. Kazunori Mizuno, a veteran animator known for his work on anime such as Yu Yu Hakusho, Zoids, Naruto, and Bleach, died last year due to being overworked.

As a result, we’re seeing more and more anime suffering due to the poor conditions in which they are being produced. One well-known example was the backlash AOT season 2 received for only releasing twelve episodes:

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Or, more recently, My Sister, My Writer (https://kotaku.com/the-new-anime-that-has-fans-complaining-about-animation-1829833088), which was poorly received from the get-go due to terrible animation. Now I’m seeing that Pierrot (the same studio Mizuno worked at,) was facing staffing issues with Black Clover that went as far as running without a production desk for half a year. 

Unfortunately, I’m afraid there may be little we can do to help the current situation since it seems to be a trend and an overall unsustainable model. If things keep going the way they are, and animators keep getting underpaid like they are, I’m sincerely concerned for the future of anime because less and fewer animators are entering the field due to unlivable wages/conditions.

Edited by Wedgy
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One (of many) things that really pisses me off on CR's forums is the way so many people threaten to pirate their anime every time the service does something they don't like, yet insist that it won't negatively affect the anime industry. And yeah, I've read some of the articles they reference that supposedly support their argument and don't buy it. As I admitted in another thread I did use Youtube & Daily Motion to watch the OVAs/Specials for MHA, Yuru Camp & Konosuba but in each case it was just a single viewing and I've taken every opportunity since to make it known I would like to see them streamed legally and would be willing to pay more for a physical release that included them.

I admittedly don't spend as much on dvd/blurays as I did in my younger days, but there are actually a number of series I would love to own that aren't available: Monster, Konosuba, Yuru Camp & the original japanese versions of the Space Battleship Yamato series for example. I initially signed up for Funimation Now to support their willingness to give 2199 a second chance at a proper US release (and the dub is one of the few I actually like as much/more than the original). I'm actually somewhat concerned about the future of the follow up (2202) since I read an article on ANN that the Japanese company behind it were having financial trouble. I really hope Funi stays committed to it once all the movies are finished.

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Hate to say it, but I've put in longer days with more in a row than what was listed (and if I make a mistake, someone dies). It does burn a person out but ultimately the individual has the choice to stay or go. Until the studios choose to improve the lives of their employees (for instance, offering perks like paid housing as part of the employment contract) there is very little we can do. One thing you can do is talk to some of the major players who come to speak at the panels at your local anime convention from Japan. Appeal to them that sweat shop living and working conditions give anime a bad reputation and make the studios themselves look very bad. If they hear it enough, they might listen. Initiatives like the paid by charity housing for new animators in my opinion doesn't actually help animators because it doesn't address any long term solutions for the problems faced and takes responsibility for the conditions they work and live in out of the employers hands (and conscience). The employers could do more for their employees. They simply choose not to.

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21 hours ago, Wedgy said:

This means buying the DVD releases, official merchandise, and streaming anime legally. It’s really the least we can do. 

I watched videos on You Tube saying that the money we spend on DVDs, Blurays, merch don't really go to the anime studios in Japan. 

And that Japan doesn't really profit from fans outside Japan. Or they don't care about them as much as we think. 

I agree with @Beocat though. First off, why do these companies treat them so bad? Let's start there. Don't they value their employees? 

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1 hour ago, Ryan Dave Jimenez said:

I agree with @Beocat though.


I feel like Beo and I are making a lot of the same points and she probably just worded it better than I did. I often rely on implied context a bit much so being misunderstood is common. Anyway you're correct- the money doesn't go to the studios because the studios are contractors. And yes, obviously like any other job the animators do have the option of simply seeking a career change. That would not be the ideal solution however if you're an anime fan. A lot of animators who have been in the industry do so out of a passion for their work. And while that's respectable, it's more or less 50% of the problem. The issue (imo) is bringing in a new generation of animators to keep things going after this one can no longer work. 
 

1 hour ago, Ryan Dave Jimenez said:

First off, why do these companies treat them so bad? Let's start there. Don't they value their employees? 

 

As I stated above, in my initial post, it's not sustainable and there needs to be a change very soon with how these animators are treated or this whole industry is going to be in trouble. Honestly the DVD comment was a bit of an after-thought and I'm sorry that appears to be what everyone seems to think this thread was about. My bad. I'll just edit that out so nobody else gets confused.

Edited by Wedgy
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21 hours ago, Wedgy said:

A lot of animators who have been in the industry do so out of a passion for their work. And while that's respectable, it's more or less 50% of the problem. The issue (imo) is bringing in a new generation of animators to keep things going after this one can no longer work. 

Good point. Even if their working conditions suck they just love to animate. So a change in career is not an option.

 

 

21 hours ago, Wedgy said:

As I stated above, in my initial post, it's not sustainable and there needs to be a change very soon with how these animators are treated or this whole industry is going to be in trouble. 

Do you think Netflix will help solve the problem? I honestly don't know so I'm just curious. But yeah the current model needs to change.

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At a glance I can see why some anime fans would be slightly worried seeing whats going on in Japan with the industry. Though I can say with relative confidence that anime and manga as a whole are not in any way doomed. If you look at the past couple of years despite these shortages we have had without a doubt some pretty awesome higher budget series turned out. I think the likely result of this if anything is going to be the production of shorter series far fewer 100 or so episode series. Instead like iin recent times we will see series with 12-50 episodes max. It is true as well that manga is getting shorter over time and we are seeing a lot more one shots then ever before. 

I do think the industry will continue to be strong and within 3-5 years perhaps may even go back to a longer series forula as that seems to be what a lot of people want. At least the people I talk to at events and cons seem to want this.

The other issue right now is that everyone wants to stream everything or get it via the internet. The anime industry as well as most tv series and movie indutries are still in the process ofm figuring out how to profit this way while delivering a good product. That in my opinion is then biggest issue with the shortage since the budgeting is lower on average and sales per unit are down due to streaming they just are trying to adjust to the new wave of how we do things, I am sure soon enough things will be ironed out hopefully in the consumer end's favor.

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This issue goes far beyond anime. What your describing is the current politics of supply and demand in general when dealing with giant corporations that prefer profit over the health and safety of their workers. Most corporate businesses will do whatever they can to make sure that profit flourishes beyond all else. People are now having to put in longer hours for less pay or lack of benefits. I'm sure a few of you might have heard about the Telltale gaming company laying off over 200 workers with NO back pay. Telltale employees had been putting in insane amount of hours with little to no lack of sleep before lay offs. Telltale also prioritized what they believed would give them the most benefits at the time. The walking dead game was in their last stages of development before the massive layoff. But that didn't matter: instead of finishing the project, Telltale decided to keep 20 of their employees and finish work for their partners. Skybound entertainment ended up picking up the walking dead instead.

This issue is prevalent almost anywhere in massive large for profit corporations which only care about their market shares and CEOS. This goes FAR beyond just anime.    

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55 minutes ago, Crevanille said:

This issue is prevalent almost anywhere in massive large for profit corporations which only care about their market shares and CEOS. This goes FAR beyond just anime.    

You right. 

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