Anime culture can be fun and exciting, but the same can’t be said for what goes on behind the scenes. The anime industry is infamous for a lot of wrongdoing, and those who work there are the media’s toughest critics.
From rookie animators to prolific directors, those who create cartoons haven’t always had great things to say about their craft. Where some gripes are rooted in industry flaws, others have challenged what anime allows and stands for.
ten Takashi Watanabe was frustrated by the industry’s lack of urgency in the event of a pandemic
In a very literal sense, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to a halt. Countless businesses and industries have been forced to take indefinite hiatus or shut down altogether, but animation studios were apparently the exception. Watanabe, the director of the latest fantasy anime isekai How a realistic hero rebuilt the kingdom, was understandably exasperated by this.
In a Tweet, Watanabe revealed that the studios are still operating as usual. An anonymous studio even went into lockdown following a COVID cluster, but imposed a gag order on its staff instead of making a public announcement. Watanabe even expressed his fear of the infection, wondering aloud why the industry wouldn’t take a break for the sake of its workers.
9 Many hosts called streaming services’ unreasonably low budgets and salaries
Disney + and Netflix are quickly becoming major players in the anime scene, as evidenced by the large number of upcoming collaborations they have with major anime studios. While these shows cost and make millions, if not billions of dollars, the hosts who actually make them see barely a dime.
Many hosts have denounced the practice online, accusing Netflix of having set a precedent. Facilitators like Ippei Ichii from MAPPA, Joan Chung from Science SARU (who worked on Star Wars: Visions), freelance writer Zayd and others disliked the way Netflix encouraged Japanese crunch culture and low wages by ordering many shows on low budgets, despite having more than enough money to well paid.
8 Mushiyo compared the work at MAPPA to that of a factory
MAPPA is considered one of the best studios in operation today, thanks to its spectacular fight scenes and staging. As an example, the hype for Man with chainsaw skyrocketed after a single glimpse. However, fans were taken aback when it was revealed that these great animation feats apparently came at the expense of the health of the production teams.
Before the shock Attack on Titan: The Final Season created, animators like Mushiyo compared the work on the finale to a heartless factory. Mushiyo criticized MAPPA for taking four shows instead of focusing on what he could handle, saying new hosts were forced to work long hours for next to nothing.
7 Madhouse employee sued studio over unbearable working conditions
In recent years, Madhouse (the studio responsible for fan favorite anime like Man with a fist), his reputation plunged after his system of overwork and unethical work practices were made public. Sadly, it’s no secret that Madhouse fostered an abusive culture of excessive work and unpaid overtime, which got so bad that a production assistant sued the studio.
In 2019, the anonymous employee sued Madhouse for compensation for his hospitalization caused by working nearly 393 hours per month. Although he was paid and had more lax hours, other Madhouse staff say the studio only changed its policies for this employee and not for the entire workforce. work just to end the trial.
6 Osamu Yamasaki believes anime industry is in urgent need of reform
In 2017, PA Works sparked controversy when one of its hosts revealed that, among other things, the studio was charging intermediaries “office fees”. Yamasaki, the director of Towards the Terra and the pro-animator group Japanese Animation Creators Association, confirmed these realities in an interview with Business Journal.
Yamasaki indicated that the industry’s habit of underpaying young animators is a self-defeating cost-cutting measure, as it only justifies disillusioned newcomers who drop out early while leaving the industry in the hands of a rapidly aging minority. For this reason, Yamasaki believes that the industry must change now or face some fate.
5 Henry Thurlow blamed the industry’s problems on using the outdated Astro Boy business model
One of the worst ironies of the anime industry is that while it brings in billions of dollars in streaming sales, tickets and merchandising, those who make the shows hardly ever reap these financial rewards. Thurlow, the co-founder of D’ART Shatijo, expressed his frustration about it in a Vox interview, and partly blamed the classic anime Astro boy for that.
When Astro boy was made in the 60s, the anime had yet to inspire investor confidence. Osamu Tezuka got around this by selling the series at lower prices, promising to make a profit from various sales. The bet worked too well and it became the status quo of the industry. Thurlow is not the first to cite this problem, and he will not be the last.
4 Masao Maruyama thinks there are too many animators and too few animators
Anime has never been as popular as it is today, with ever-growing demand quickly outpacing the number of shows and movies the industry can produce. Maruyama, Madhouse and Former President and Producer of MAPPA on The Likes of Hunter x hunter (2011), expressed concerns about this issue during a 2018 panel, where he said the industry faces its worst-case scenario.
For Maruyama, there are simply too many shows and movies in production considering the sheer numbers and the poverty of the workforce. Worse, the studios now favor quantity over quality. Studios were more concerned with having anyone able to draw regardless of skill level, which resulted in a drop in quality in terms of presentation and writing.
3 Hayao Miyazaki has no great things to say about the modern anime industry
A few years ago, a snapshot of Studio Ghibli founder Miyazaki stating “The anime was a mistake. This is nothing but garbage” took the internet by storm. It was a fan edition, but Miyazaki’s feelings were right. In interviews and documentaries like The realm of dreams, Miyazaki lamented the current state of anime as an art, especially with the rise of 3D animation.
Miyazaki disliked the way the modern industry is made up of otaku whom he accused of being anti-social and self-centered, making them unable to convey the human experience through anime. Miyazaki’s hatred for modern digital animation hasn’t helped, as seen in the infamous clip of him saying that AI-generated animation is an insult to life itself.
2 Mamoru Hosoda is disgusted with the portrayal of women in cartoons
One of the harshest criticisms of the anime as a whole is its fixation on young girls to an almost fetishistic degree. Either these girls are too sexualized or they are put on a pedestal. Summer wars ” director agrees with that sentiment, especially the latter. In fact, he specifically cited a director many assumed to be Hayao Miyazaki.
In an interview at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival for Beautiful, Hosoda expressed his frustrations with a prominent anime director who continued to use overly responsible teenage heroines in his films. For Hosoda, said the director only glorified girls because he was not sure of himself. Moreover, he sees this as an extension of the problematic treatment and view of women in Japan.
1 Hideaki Anno inadvertently created Otaku culture and he hates it
In addition to using the eternally referenced Neon Genesis Evangelion to artistically come to terms with his depression, Anno created the show with otaku like him in mind. This is why, despite its dark sub-texts, evangelization resonated with otaku so much and turned the anime into a worldwide phenomenon. At one point, however, Anno regretted this.
As the production took its toll on her mental health, Anno became disillusioned with the otaku. This culminated in a bitter interview in 2012 at a tokusatsu exhibition, where he said he had given up on helping otaku overcome their immaturity. It’s more of a case of hard love than pure hate, however, as Anno wanted to help otaku face reality instead of diving deeper into escape.
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