The extremely harsh working conditions of Japan’s animators is a huge common knowledge among most anime fans. Even so, this article is to remind people once again just how deep this issue is.
Recently, an ex-animator of the super acclaimed anime production studio MAPPA revealed in a tweet that the staff members not only gave their whole heart in their works, but were also made to put in an unhealthy number of working hours into the production process of anime series.
While the entire anime community holds such deep respect and awe of MAPPA’s consistently impressive hit anime series, the darker side of the studio is not given much attention.
Mushiyo is currently working as a freelance animator and he has announced his reasons for leaving MAPPA via a Twitter thread on May 14. The senior animator also talked about the unhealthy working conditions imposed by the studio.
Mushiyo exposed how unorganized MAPPA was as the studio was unprepared when they accepted four major projects. So undoubtedly with four projects running at once, the animators would have had an awful amount of work.
He also talked about how the junior animators were always stuck with correcting mistakes. They weren’t allowed to do their own drawings and there wasn’t even time for them to get trained. He compared the studio’s work culture to that of intensive factory labor.
Mushiyo further explained that 80% of the staff had similar issues and many staff members also ended up leaving owing to the insane schedule.
Meanwhile, MAPPA has tweeted stating that the studio is looking for recruitments; fans believe that this is because of the huge amount of animators who left that the studio needs to recruit again.
Attack on Titan is known for its back-breaking animation schedule, with the added factor that the creators increased the pressure even more. It is because of this that WIT studio backed down from the project.
While other studios were also hesitant to take up the offer, MAPPA took on Attack on Titan Season 4, so it’s no surprise that the animators are facing miserable working conditions. Also, the studio produced Jujutsu Kaisen at around a similar time.
From close research into the salaries offered by most studios, it’s apparent that staff members get limited income and are almost forced to do overtime if they want to make a living.
It’s not all rainbows and sunshine in Japan’s anime culture, the reality is much more belak and devastating.
Even Kyoharu Gotoge, the creator of hit series Demon Slayer, was paid only a small percentage out of Mugen Train’s sales.
We need to address this problem as conscious consumers. More awareness and louder critique needs to be made because creators and animators who put in their heart and soul to produce the works that we so deeply connect with deserve our wholehearted respect.