Animation quality is one of the aspects of Anime that viewers tend to judge first hand when determining how good the production values are for a show. The sad fact is that animation mistakes regardless of the studio are bound to happen. Animation studios work on a very tight schedule and because of that, they might not have enough time to check every key frame before having to give the finished episode to the station to air. As a result, these errors usually get fixed later on, namely for the Blu-ray/DVD release.
To me, I think it is always in the best interest for the animation studio to make them not too noticeable and then fix it while enhancing some scenes in the final release. However, what implications will arise if studios decide to take advantage of this fact and air a half-finished product to entice people to buy the physical releases? Let’s find out.
So, why does animation mistakes tend to happen? I think there are many factors that can affect the animation quality. If you are watching Shirobako, you probably know that making anime is not an easy task. Not only it takes proper project management to keep track the progress for each task, constraints, budget, etc., which plays a big role in the success of the production, but also the talent at the company. The problem is that animators are paid very little for their work and work very long hours, which in turn causes some to lose motivation or try to cut corners just to get the job done.
If you factor in the time constraints due to short deadlines and limited budgets for most productions, animation mistakes most likely than not are going to happen. As a result, there will be some animation errors will slip through the crack due to time constraints. As a result, these animation errors will end up getting fixed after the episode’s airing such as a stream or in most cases, a DVD or Blu-ray release.
If animation studios can’t meet the deadline, what should they do to help mitigate this? The first obvious thing is to not make them noticeable and try not to cut corners. From experience, studios like PA Works and Kyoto Animation usually maintains a high level of quality with their works. While they make animation mistakes once in a while, they are hardly noticeable and therefore leave a good impression on the viewer who might want to buy the release. On the other hand, there are studios like Toei and Production IMS who do not care what the viewers think and only the bottom line. They will air a half-finished product while make the mistakes too noticeable and frequent to entice viewers to buy the fixed release.
I think the latter is harmful for the fact not only it can deter viewers from potentially buying the actual releases, but this also gives viewers a bad impression of the type of work the studio puts out. As stated many times, Ore Twintail ni Narimasu episode 10 probably has the worst animation I saw in years since it looked unfinished. Moreover, there are many people on the Internet complaining about the animation quality of Sailor Moon Crystal since the show has a bigger budget. Because of this, the viewers eventually are going to give a backlash against the studio. Shirobako gives a good glimpse into this issue with viewers complaining about how bad the animation for Boing Boing Paradise with episode 9’s animation becoming horribly deformed. This episode resulted in bad publicity for the studio with some going so far by vandalizing one of the staff’s rice cookers. I think it’s better for them to try to make as few mistakes as possible even if they have to push back the initial airing or do a split-season so that these flaws won’t be noticeable. Having few to no apparent mistakes will leave a good impression on the viewers not only for the show they are watching, but also for the studio as a whole.
On the other hand, by studios saying that we’ll fix it in the actual release and don’t take any pride in their work only shows that they only care about the bottom line and not what the fans think who are potentially buying the product. Something like this can be harmful for the industry as a whole as people will think that all studios make mediocre or poor quality productions. We are seeing the same trend with the video game industry trying to rush games to release so that they can make as much money as possible even if they are filled with game breaking bugs. This kind of thing not only enrages the consumers who buy them, but also reduces the developer’s reputation and the faith in the industry as a whole. Regardless of the industry, negative publicity from intentionally releasing half-finished, poor quality productions not only hurts the studio that worked on it, but also the industry as a whole. As a result, people might become hesitant to buy DVD/Blu-ray releases from studios that had a bad track record when it comes to production quality.
While animation mistakes is a fact of life since we are human after all, animation studios should not get a free ride and use this as an excuse for poor animation quality and turn around and say, “Buy our improved release on Blu-ray!” By saying that, it just shows that they do not take pride in their work. Instead, studios should try to conceal these mistakes and not cut corners for the initial release. Afterwards, they can go back and fix them while enhancing it for the actual release. If they do this, not only it would improve the studio’s reputation, but it will also benefit the industry as a whole since more people will be enticed to buy merchandise and DVDs/Blu-ray of shows he/she enjoys since it would have good production values.
What do you think? Is it justified for studios to produce poorly animated episodes and then turn around and say we’ll improve it in the Blu-ray release? Or, do you think that this kind of trend is harmful to animation studios and the industry and they should try to put more pride into their work? Feel free to share your thoughts about shows/scenes that are poorly animated.