Monday, May 24, 2010

Suspended Animation by SBS Dateline

I wanted to share this with everyone as I am not sure if you have seen this. I saw this over at CJHitchcock's blog "AMR" and wanted to get to out on here as well.

SBS Dateline out of Australia did an interesting piece called "Suspended Animation". It was about the Animation industry in Japan and brought out some interesting commentary. This was done at the Tokyo International Anime Fair.

I found it interesting on several parts of this review. Not only are the animators paid very little for the long hours that they put in. Like so many others, they do it for the love of the craft.

"Reporter: . . . Most animators are paid per sketch and the fee has barely changed in 30 years.

YUICHI NAMIKI, ANIME ARTIST (Translation): If I can work a bit harder, draw faster and increase the speed I turn out drawings and work longer hours, I think I can manage.

Yuichi tells me he earns about $900 a month - not enough to rent a room in the world's most expensive city so for now he still lives at home."

You will see that they also talk about the Internets effect on Animation and specifically talk about Fairy Tail during the show. They show how an episode just aired in Japan and how it is being streamed on the internet almost hours after that.

They even dove into the porn side of Animation too. They are trying to say that this is due to the dwindling birth rates and older Japanese citizens. It was interesting seeing how a Animation Teacher kind of side stepped the direct question about it. It seems the Soft Porn is turning into big bucks in Japan and more studios are producing that to keep afloat.

"Reporter: Back at the anime fair, I can see no trace of the industry's darker side. The college that trains many of Japan's aspiring animators accepts that some of those former students are now producing porn. It's an embarrassing subject for one of its teachers, but he concedes he would not stand in the way of others who want to do the same.

TAKASSHI MATUZAWA, ANIMATION TEACHER (Translation):It's a difficult issue. It's up to the viewer. Different people have different values. It really is a very difficult issue. "

They are now seeing Korean & Chinese animation studios popping up. Would this make some fearful that Japan will soon not be the majority player in Anime?

"Reporter: Worse still, Japanese anime is facing a gigantic new threat - China. Chinese animation companies tripled their presence at this year's fair.

NAOTO MORI, CHINA PAVILION, SPOKESMAN (Translation): The Chinese Government supports the animation industry. It's built 30 animation bases or anime factories in the country. The number of children in Japan is in decline with the low birth-rate. Our domestic market isn't getting any bigger. We're looking to China as out market."

I encourage you to take a look at this video and let me what your thoughts are. I think there is a mixed message here, but I does show some interesting points.

I personally think they should do more cross country animation. A great example of this would of been Heroman (as also noted by AMR). This was partly developed with Stan "The Man" Lee and does showcase characters in the US (specifically Los Angeles). This would of been an a great opportunity to cross the ocean and co-produce the series in Japan & the United States. There could of been a media frenzy on this and a huge toy options as well.


  1. Sad to hear that animators are paid so lowly and that the domestic market are shrinking. The shrinking in a way would encourage anime to be release to international market and I see that my people outside Japan had fallen in love with Jap anime whether be it Hentai or not.

  2. I really think they need to increase the international market as well. Look how big the figure industry is outside of Japan, and for the most part it's a spin-off of anime and games. I do realize they do live-streaming to places like Crunchyroll, perhaps this is the future of the anime industry: online streaming with subs, and then branching out and making dubs as well. Animators should be paid better, but I suppose it's hard when most people download anime rather than pay for it. It's a tough situation but making things more world market friendly might be the key. Who knows I could be horribly wrong though, I just know that life would suck if anime ceased to exist.


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