The plight of Japan’s pathetically paid animators is once again receiving attention, this time from an NHK TV programme which delves into their dismal pay and the increasing pressure of outsourcing to poorer countries.
“With their cheap production costs, orders to China and Korea are increasing.”
Animation company CEO: “If we send it overseas we can get it done quickly and cheaply.”
“Doesn’t this mean there’ll be no more animators being raised in Japan?”
“Average annual salaries:
Animator (Animation): ¥1,050,000 ($11,500)
Animator (Illustration): ¥2,300,000 ($25,000)”
Although anime fans can usually be found railing at the supposed exploitation of the animator underclass, the actual situation is rather more nuanced – low level animation work is essentially drudge labour requiring comparatively little skill and even less in the way of creativity, and clearly the majority of animators do not climb the ranks to become high level creative talents.
More importantly, without these toiling wretches it is unlikely many niche series could ever be produced at all – fans might find higher wages for animation staff a very mixed blessing.