5 Amazing Facts About Anime Production

Again, if you guys are not interested in reading such a long post, do check out the video I’ve made: http://bit.ly/2kOpMYe

19dc7e9f885c747b66e033314935dde3_screeshots_2The popular Anime/Manga Slam Dunk by Inoue, Takehiko

1. Tōei Animation Studio

Find any of these Anime(s) familiar? One Piece, Slam Dunk, Dragon Ball? Heck, even my mom knows Dragon Ball. But, do you know the studio behind these Anime(s)? It’s Tōei Animation Studio, and believe it or not, the studio is the first Japan Animation Studio to be established in Japan! Ōkawa Hiroshi, the president of the company decided to form the studio in 1956 after he was impressed by Disney’s 1937 Snow White film. Back then the studio was called Tōei Dōga and had an ambition to become “the Disney of the East”. Another surprising fact is that, Miyazaki Hayao, yes the Miyazaki Hayao, the founder of Studio Ghibli that we all know who is hailed as one of Japan’s greatest animation directors, actually started his career in Tōei Dōga now Tōei Animation.


90% of the frames are drawn outside of Japan, one of them being South Korea.

2. 90% of the Frames Used in Anime are Actually Drawn Overseas.

Wait a minute! If 90% of these are drawn overseas, then what the hell are the people in Japanese animation studios are even doing? While the frames are mostly drawn outside of Japan, the design and storytelling are often done in Japan. Okay,  guess they are doing some work. But outside of Japan, where exactly? Korea, China and Philippine apparently. But why? Cause it’s cheaper. With the cost of production increasing recently in Anime making, many studios today opt for studios outside of Japan in order to save money. This is also partly because the studios are often left with very little budget to start with. In fact, when the first televised Anime, Astro Boy kept on posting losses despite being quite successful in Japan, the father of Anime, Tezuka Osamu even had to chip in his own income from manga publishing into the company in a bid to save the studio from going bankrupt. Not to mention, the very low return that Anime makes.

fe20120909rhaTezuka Osamu, the Father of Anime.

3. The curse of Osamu.

It is actually said that the reason why budget in Anime production is awfully low is because the network, as in TV networks pay anime producers very little money for the work they do. Why? If the networks know how tough it is, then why pay them so low? It was actually Tezuka Osamu who, well, did something which is difficult to be undone. What Tezuka Osamu did was that he sold his work cheap to these networks in order to dispirit competitors and to have his work seen more. This has caused today’s Japan animation studio to sell their work cheap in order to get an upper hand on top of their competitors and to secure better time slots to air their Anime(s).

GTY_hundred_dollar_bills_jt_141031_12x5_1600The pay is never great.

4. The Pay Sucks.

It is said that animators in the 20’s make roughly 11,000$ annually. Animators in their 30’s make around 21,000$ a year and even seasoned animators who are in their 40s and 50s earn only about 30,000$ a year. And guess what? Most Japan animation studios are situated in Tokyo! One of the world’s most expensive cities. Although most of the studios are located in the suburb of Tokyo, still… they are expensive to live in. To make things worse, according to a survey, 40% got no healthcare coverage. No wonder animators and mangaka often get sick. One of the American animators who is currently working in Japan animation studio, Henry Thurlow even said he ended up in hospital three times due to exhaustion and illness. And speaking from my own personal experience,  Japanese people always tend to overwork themselves. When I was doing an exchange at a Japanese university, I stumbled upon a girl who was laying on a bench surrounded by 2 lecturers and several students looking after her, and when I went and ask what happened? They said she fainted due to overwork.

NBGI_HeadquartersBandai Namco HQ, Japan.

5. Animators Leaving the Studios.

Most Japanese animation animators would eventually leave Anime studios for a more lucrative work in video games. According to a survey, 9 out of 10 would do so. Ian Condry, a Harvard professor and the author of The Soul of Anime told a story whereby in March 2009, representatives from Square Enix, came to Harvard University to give a seminar on the making of the Final Fantasy XII game. When he met the director Hirosho Minagawa and was talking about the workings of characters and the intriguing parallels between anime and video game production, the director was quoted asking him this “Why are you studying such an old-fashioned and unprofitable industry?” Whoops! What a question!

   If the Anime continues bringing in very little profit, we might actually see a decline in Anime production in the future. No wonder Anime studios are making Anime(s) targeting a niche market. Such as Anime(s) for Otakus, or for Fujoshi(s) perhaps all in a hope to get more returns and then, being able to produce Anime(s) that the studios want to.

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