Animators: “1 Frame = 1 Hour, 1 Frame = $2”



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.

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    Comment by Anonymous
    17:25 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I wonder how decent companies like KyoAni pays.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:25 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    well this has two results... probably more anime for us but less money for the animators don`t you think? there will be a time when it will be so low that the anime media would crash instantly...

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:34 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    i feel for the ones who had to do Endless Eight

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:42 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Couldn't they just copy the frames over and have a shitload of frames done in no time.

    Avatar of Azure Xuchilbara
    Comment by Azure Xuchilbara
    19:38 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    You have to respect their effort and hard work for their love and passion for anime...

    *thumbs up*

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:18 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    >Animator (Animation): ¥1,050,000 ($11,500)
    >Animator (Illustration): ¥2,300,000 ($25,000)

    It's not illutstration 原画担当 refers to someone responsible for drawing key frame poses, 動画担当 is responsible for drawing inbetweens. So it's something like senior animator and assistant.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:38 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    working under pressure... with some bits of salary...
    the only thing that can release pressure...
    fap fap fap...
    *Fly to heaven*

    anybody work elsewhere probably earn more then mangaka...
    but u won't get to fap as much as they can.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:53 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    annual salary...

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:57 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    in malaysia they pay rm1500($455) per-month, yup animator is not a profesional job.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:41 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    The real sad thing is that these animators don't have shit else in life to look forward to either; I doubt they're getting girlfriends, saving money, eating well or even having pocket money to go out with friends with that kinda pay. Hell, unless these guys mostly live with family/parents, they can't even really afford rent in Japan, can they?

    Avatar of Shippoyasha
    Comment by Shippoyasha
    16:53 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I guess that helps explain why the birthrates in Japan is criticially low. Even if you want babies and a family, you can't reasonably expect to raise them (unless you're into the whole foster-care system..)

    That also kind of explains why so many Japanese live VERY frugally and almost never spend money on entertainment, at least compared to how much money Americans spend with their disposable incomes.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:34 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hit the nail on the head about the birthrate thing. What Japan needs to do is MAN UP and put into place a minimum wage. I thought that they already had that in Japan, but apparently I am/was wrong.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:44 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yea! let's put up a minimum wage so that the companies can't make it if they have to hire animators in japan!

    Hell ya...!

    Putting a minimum wage doesn't mean they get paid more for the anime, it only mean they have to pay the staff more. And even if the staff in return get to buy more anime, it won't be enough to cover it.

    Avatar of Shippoyasha
    Comment by Shippoyasha
    02:00 29/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    At least speaking of the animation staff, maybe they should establish some kind of an animators union. It's a shame they aren't represented at all in cases like this, kinda like with game developers/programmers. Of course, such things as trickle-down profits for animators being more prominent. Not sure how the costs will cover that as the Korean/Chinese option seems pretty viable right now. Or how it'll go down with international laws.

    Avatar of a bag of shit
    Comment by a bag of shit
    23:06 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Minimum wage won't do anything for the birthrate when the women over there won't give men who aren't in the top 25% the time of day.

    Avatar of NobleX
    Comment by NobleX
    12:29 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    $11,500 is a pretty nice salary in Bulgaria but i guess we aren't an example for a good economy. ^^;

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:21 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I wonder if these 2$ an hour workers realize that they could make a nice side proffit selling drawings.

    Would otaku, who spend ridiculous amounts on whatever merchendise is thrown at them, buy a drawing by the original animator of their favorite anime?

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:25 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I sure as hell would, and animation cells are already very popular on ebay sites (NGE cells with Rei in it going for at least hundreds of bucks).

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:18 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    1 frame/h doesn't make sense. I doubt it takes that long for a professional to draw a regular frame. 1 frame/h is probably what it takes if there's a lot of stuff moving in a scene. In your average anime there's rarely more than one character moving simultaneously.

    Avatar of Tateha
    Comment by Tateha
    15:34 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    animation by frames is not hard, it's just very time consuming even using computers. while I feel for the plight of the animator the reality is that this kind of work is never going to be well paid, at least not anytime soon that is.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:56 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Teachers, medical workers, scientists in Russia earn $0.50-$1 per hour...

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:14 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Wow! I'm more amazed they can actually find places to outsource to (paying people less than $2 an hour)than the fact these people make so little. This is promising news should I ever decide to push an animated series on network TV (in America). If I offer these guys minimum wage, they'll double their yearly salaries, plus the living expenses in America are much less than in Japan, especially if you stay away from the hyped up garbage ctities (New York, any place in California, Chicago, etc).

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:30 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Ah, slave wages. That's nice >_>

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:40 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Maybe the should start drawing doujins...

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:54 29/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    does anyone have the a link for the screencapped video?

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:01 29/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Just some animation faq for newfags here:

    -anime studio create storyboard/script.

    -anime studio draw keyframes.

    -sound studio make voice recording.

    -anime studio draw some inbetweens(process of drawing frames between keyframes to make animation look more like animation. Most of this process is out-sourced to Korea or China.)

    -anime studio scan all frames(keyframes and inbetweens) to computer for inking(vectorizing) and digital painting.

    -anime studio add backgrounds to frames
    (mostly digitaly painted).

    -anime studio adds lens flare, filters effects, 3D models to the scene and sound, voice recording.


    Comment by Anonymous
    Avatar of JimJam
    Comment by JimJam
    10:41 29/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I should crash my friends dreams later on tonight with hardcore realism.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:49 04/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    In this thread: A lot of people who think animation is piss easy who would never be able to do it themselves.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:29 29/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I remember I worked as night security for a hotel in Mexico. I worked from 7pm to 7am I got the equivalent of $10 us dollars for one days work, that lasted for 4 years while I went to school. I now work at a bank and make a nice $8 an hour.

    rent is 1000pesos (actually own a house in Juarez)
    phone/internet service is 380pesos
    electricity about 500pesos
    groceries are comparatively priced here like the US
    only fruits and meats are cheaper.
    water 15galons of filtered water a week/30 pesos
    water for washing, bathing, toilet, ect 0pesos since we have a well that, to date has never dried up. I pump it to a reservoir on the roof and let gravity do the work.

    living a pretty nice life.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:55 30/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    y pensar que a esos hijos de puta de Anima estudio les pagan mas, y lo único que saben hacer es pura mierda

    Avatar of ArKlone01
    Comment by ArKlone01
    03:36 29/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Nevermind that. My dad pays me far worse for making chores.

    Avatar of Dia
    Comment by Dia
    20:30 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Out-source away, please! I want to see more anime, not support grunts just because they're on an island instead of the continent.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:22 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Is it just me or do these drafted frames look extremely cool to put on my wall, even moreso than finished cels. I don't really trust ebay but anyone know about reliable sources to get these? (if at all available)

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:47 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    The best place to get original anime production art is Yahoo Japan (Japanese equivalent of Ebay), though sellers usually don't ship abroad, which means you'd have to use a deputy service to be able to bid on cel/sketch auctions. I use the Shopping Mall Japan deputy service, which i recommend.

    There are also various celshops that sell original production cels and sketches, like Asylum Anime, Anime Gambit and Anime Link.

    Avatar of takarada
    Comment by takarada
    22:48 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    They are lying about their income.

    This was not taken from their tax return, it was from a survey.

    The cost of living is very high in Japan, no way they are living off that sort of money.

    Avatar of casiopao
    Comment by casiopao
    00:48 29/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is all conspiracy from NHK!!! Dont get tricked guys!

    Well anyway the news must already get bribe by the West goverment or the feminist group to destroy Japanese anime culture. Why? As ussual the reason: To protect the right of all women even if they are 2D. Again from the feminist.

    Avatar of N.R.
    Comment by N.R.
    00:42 29/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Artefact, can you please kindly provide me with the name of this program/documentary. I'm very interested in seeing this myself.

    Avatar of Shizu's Waki Obsessor: MaidNiac
    11:29 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Please hire me,then~ $2 per frame is good enough for me... though the cost life in Japan is another story..

    Avatar of ranivus
    Comment by ranivus
    07:14 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    If you see anything with Dr.Move in it... its a korean production company...

    Avatar of shinryou
    Comment by shinryou
    07:45 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    DR Movie isn't one of the bad ones. DR Movie is actually fairly respectable and involved in a large amount of higher quality anime series and movies. They actually have a Japanese subsidiary (which does mainly cinematography), quite a role reversal compared to other Korean animation companies.

    Avatar of Dash
    Comment by Dash
    07:15 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I think they should just sell one original frame on ebay for a lot instead of taking $2. Hell, if people paid so much fo rthe movie cell for the Haruhi movie.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:44 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Do they even use animation cels anymore? I thought they switched to computer a long time ago.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:09 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    These chinese people only do the in-betweens of the animation. Companies still hire expensive head animators From Japan, France, Canada, USA, etc.. to do the key's and create the actual characters and style.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:10 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    And then WE pay 300$ for a cel of a famous series/scene...

    Avatar of TheBeast
    Comment by TheBeast
    07:14 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    i get one free when i order season 5 of family guy, lol.

    Avatar of erochichi
    Comment by erochichi
    08:37 29/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    You should get paid when you are receiving that shit. Now that`s horrible & bad animation.

    Avatar of Barbarian of Gor
    Comment by Barbarian of Gor
    07:20 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)


    The "Law of Supply and Demand" and how the Capitalist swine enshrine it only when it suits their purposes at the time, and cheat every way possible otherwise. It's theft, pure and simple, they use a more exploitable source of labor to force down wages for what should be their base. I'm sure for all the "Poor animators" those at the top owning the thing are in the upper ranks of the elites.

    Frankly, how 'bout clamoring for a "Tariff" against "Foreign Animation" produced in Japan? Tax things like this so they can't make it cheaper?

    I'm all for "International Trade", but it's supposed to be for the "Flair of the Exotic" not for using group A to cheat group B.

    Avatar of a bag of shit
    Comment by a bag of shit
    12:18 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    You'll probably get a bunch of retards downvoting you because they think you're a "communist" or something just because you've rightly exposed how horrible capitalism really is.

    The capitalist "global economy" is completely fucked up beyond compare. The statistics you can read on what percentage of people own how much wealth in countries where it's been studied will blow your mind. In America for example, 80% of population own less than 20% of the total wealth.

    The only people who benefit at all are those at the top who are literally fucking everyone else to death. I wouldn't be surprised if the distribution of wealth right now is just about as bad as it was during ages of peasantry/aristocracy. It's disgusting.

    Avatar of Barbarian of Gor
    Comment by Barbarian of Gor
    12:44 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)


    And the thing the "Capitalists" forget is when somebody plays a game among friends "Too Well" for too long and rubs it in their face, nobody wants to play with him anymore. Then they either play elsewhere, or collectively kick him down to take "His" ball.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:31 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Time for some leadership lessons from your friendly neighbourhood Anonymous.

    Believe it or not, the majority of people who are able to live world class lives actually positioned themselves in front of opportunities that could take them there. You think Bill Gates was just, "lucky", to found Microsoft, that Ray Kroc was, "fortunate", to start McDonald's? Of course not, they saw what the consumer needed, even before the consumer knew it themselves, and positioned their businesses such that they caught the massive wave, and as a result became very wealthy.

    The average, the 80%, do not position themselves for success. The ones amongst them who do work hard are working hard in slow moving vehicles. They get trapped under a glass ceiling. They work a job, hoping for promotions, hoping that maybe someone above them dies or that they can marry the boss' daughter and take over the company. They might have the talent, they might have the work ethic, but in the position they're in, they have nowhere to go.

    You think you don't have a chance to make it? Maybe you're not looking for it, because there are plenty of otherwise average and ordinary people who are able to achieve great success. The difference is they searched out an opportunity that could take them where they wanted to go. Martin Luther King Jr. reportedly once said, "Most men die at 21, they just get around to burying them until they're 65-70 years old". Is what you're doing now going to give you what you want in life? If not, perhaps you need to change what you're doing. The 80% are too afraid to leave the "security" of their jobs, even if those jobs will NEVER give them the lives they crave.

    Capitalism isn't anywhere close to perfect, but if YOU are failing in the system, where others who have faced far more adversity than you are succeeding, then the problem lies not with the system, but with you. You can choose to be open to and actively seek out opportunities to improve your situation, or you can shrink and give up and live the life of the 80%, ever envious of the world class that succeeded where you failed.

    Avatar of a bag of shit
    Comment by a bag of shit
    13:04 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    The amount of naive people who don't understand this shit is astounding.

    There is a massive percentage of people in capitalist first world countries who work jobs that don't even pay the cost of living are essentially forced to either work multiple jobs as literal wage slavery with little to no free time as the make money for someone else or forced to share living accommodations (that aren't even that great) with others as if they were an animal like a dog in a kennel or just plain turn to illegal ways of earning money.

    The fact that we live in societies where this is even happening says a lot about how broken things really are. What's worse is the number of people in countries like America who actually believe they have a chance to "make it" some day and therefore somehow believe this makes it all ok or justifies the system in any way. Most people... don't really move up in class, especially not to the truly wealthy class. As in, Over 99% do not.

    It's all so a few shitheads can buy more yatchs and have a metaphorical Scrooge McDuck-like vault of gold coins to swim around in. Maybe they'll throw some token scraps down from their ivory towers now and then in the form of a relatively tiny (as compared with their income) charity donation for appearances sake even though people who know about how things work know it's just bullshit PR.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:43 30/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Artefact, you're supposed to add a ;-) or something to a comment like that.

    Avatar of Artefact
    Comment by Artefact

    Get out of here you filthy reds.

    Avatar of a bag of shit
    Comment by a bag of shit
    22:08 28/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Not everyone can succeed in a big way. The system does not support it. It is clear right from the beginning that few can. "The American Dream" is a lie and no amount of smug spin and rhetoric about how a very, very few lucky people like Bill Gates were somehow prophetic about "knowing what people wanted" and happened to move up in class will change that truth. It is a system which has proven to serve only those at the very top. A true rich get richer, poor get poorer paradigm. This is not progress.

    Let's say for a minute you're right (you're not)-- What does any of that circular reasoning drivel you have vomited all over here have to do with the literal wage slavery of the modern day capitalist system-- the paying of unlivable wages to workers with little to no chance of advancement.

    You seem to have avoided that like the plague. Why? Easy. The myth of rugged individualism falls apart in the face of the damning statistics and no amount of flailing your arms about exclaiming that people "just didn't try hard enough" is going to change the facts.

    You cannot justify the few having enough money to live 10 lifetimes over as a king while the majority who they get rich off of the backs of have a terrible quality of life and die in penury. Unless of course, you're a sociopath with zero empathy. That would certainly explain the smug born-into-wealth people who've been pretty much handed everything via nepotism and just can't understand why everyone else can't "earn it" like they did.

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