With the last article, I decided to write a response to the author of “The Golden Waste” as he seems to be ranting about people not buying licensed anime for some reasons. Everyone should be buying licensed anime if they like the show and/or want to support the studio, there is no way around with that. However, the money that comes from both the Japanese and licensed Anime sales of DVDs is very small for the Animation Studios. We can argue or rant about dub versus sub-only releases, Crunchyroll and licensing companies as much we want, but it doesn’t change the fact that how much corporate greed comes from the Japanese Anime Industry causing the animation studios be left with peanuts in comparison with the American Music Industry.
Producing Anime is very expensive to produce, market, localize and distribute. According to the info in 2007 from the Nikkei BP Anime Business Forum in Japan, it costs $20,000-30,000 dollars on average just to produce one episode. Sure, it’s expensive to produce a longer series like 24 episodes opposed to 12 episodes since it would cost around $480,000 – $720,000 from these estimates. Sounds expensive, right? The studios couldn’t afford to animate this alone, so they have sponsors to help them produce the show.
If you take a look at this chart below, an animator makes less than an Office worker (money is in millions of Yen):
In another source, this is the actual salary directors were getting per episode:
Television series sound director: 150,000-180,000 yen (US$1,600-US$2,000)
Television series director: 200,000-250,000 yen (US$2,200-US$2,700)
Animation director: About 300,000 yen (US$3,300)
From AnimeNewsNetwork article, Directors Dispute Reports of ‘Poor’ Animator Salaries
On the chart above, animators are paid way under what a normal worker will receive in Japan (1.1 million yen (US$11,600) for an Animator 20 years old and 2.14 million yen (US$22,600) for 30 year old animator, with a average salary of 1 million yen (US$10,500).) or even minimum wage in the United States for example. However, it’s contradictory since although the animators make a decent salary ($26,400-$36,000 for 12 episodes for example). The surprisingly higher salaries that reported in 2009 indicate that studios are actually getting extra funds by distributing using other means such as the internet, which will be discussed later in this article. However, it is of not the studio’s fault because the real greed comes from the middleman, usually the TV studio.
If we look at this chart , we can see that the studio takes a big cut from the budget ($500k that was put out from the sponsor and other expenses), leaving only 80k for the actual production budget . This leaves hardly anything for the workers. We can see that the TV Studio is guilty for this greed like the Music Labels are with their music that artists puts out and that the people who make the music are in the same situation as these workers, receiving hardly any money from these works. Unless the Anime Industry change from their old ways, the content creators will continue to get shafted while the Anime Industry (Mostly the TV studios) like Scrooge McDuck will take the big sum of the money and swimming in his vaults of money while gouging the Animation Studios and the workers, which gets hardly anything.
Well, of you compare it to doujin work; depending on how successful, they can make more money compared to the typical approach since it cuts the middleman (TV studio) out of the production process. You may not get as much of recognition, but word of mouth and the quality of the work may help it to become successful, and more are turning to that. Another way by the another view by the directors are making more money is that some studios are turning away from TV studios from broadcasting and using the Internet to distribute their works and perhaps later sell DVDs and merchandise based upon their works. The benefit from this is that it completely cuts out the middle man (TV Studio) out of the picture so it results in more money in the studio (shown by the higher wages the animation studio are getting in another view)
In conclusion, the Anime Industry needs to change to survive. With more people looking more carefully at corporate greed after the big bonuses that AIG were giving out to it’s workers for example, this should be a wakeup call for those TV Studios not to take a big sum from the Animation Studios so that the workers will at least have some more money to live with. It’s a sad reality and some wish that people could donate some money to the studios for support, but in reality… there isn’t such thing yet and also make some people who say I won’t buy x Anime because I can get the fansubs for free realize that every penny counts when supporting Anime Studios for the production of the series, so remember that.
- http://myanimelist.net/forum/?topicid=86487&show=0 / http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-05-24/labor-group/animators-in-their-20s-earn-us$11600-a-year