Archive for the 'anime' Category

2ch Copypaste of the Day: What the Average Citizen Knows about Robot Anime Series

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Taken from a 2ch copypaste that’s making the rounds today

Gundam: That story where Amuro and Char fight

Eva: Pachinko

Macross: Singing

Geass: Never heard of it

Votoms: Follows a main character named Chirico Cuvie (Kiriko Kyuubi), a former special forces Armored Trooper pilot and former member of the Red Shoulder Battalion, an elite mecha force used by the Gilgamesh Confederation in its war against the Balarant Union—both interstellar nations within the distant Astragius Galaxy. Gilgamesh and Balarant had until recently been locked in a century-old galactic war whose cause was long ago forgotten. Now, the war is ending and an uneasy truce has settled. Chirico Cuvie is suddenly transferred to a unit engaged in a suspicious mission, unaware that he is aiding to steal secrets from what appears to be his own side. Chirico is betrayed and left behind to die, but he survives, is arrested by the Gilgamesh military as a traitor, and tortured for information on their homeworld. He escapes—triggering a pursuit extending across the entire series, with Chirico hunted by the army and criminals alike as he seeks the truth behind the operation. He is driven to discover the truth of one of the objects he was assigned to retrieve in that operation: A mysterious and beautiful woman who would become his sole clue to unraveling the galactic conspiracy.1

  1. The original post copy/pastes the first section of the Japanese wiki summary of the series so I’ve done likewise with English here. []

A 2ch Poster’s Reading of Anime DVD/BD Sales Charts

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Or “Sales Barriers for Anime”

This was originally going to be named “how 2ch reads sales charts” but then I remembered that trying to classify any part of 2ch as a singular is a rather foolish thing to do unless you want hits. Wait, oops.

Anyway, this is obviously not gospel truth, but a neat, simplified guide by someone who is clearly somewhat of an industry watcher and a brave warrior on the battlegrounds of the 2ch sales threads. Disc sales numbers referred to here are Oricon numbers.

Mostly anime where disc sales are not a main concern from the beginning; either truly insignificant shows1 or close to it.
Ex: NHK anime, Children’s anime, Pay channel shows (WOWOW, etc), Nippon TV late night shows, Gonzo shows, IG Original shows, etc

Mostly insignificant shows. Shows in this area generally failed to attract any interest and are looked upon as endangered, shadowy species.
Ex: Gin’iro no Olynssis, Hyakko, Hero Tales, Shikabane Hime, Akikan!, etc

The line between significance and insignificance. Depending on the week, the title may chart if it gets lucky. However, these titles are normally frightened away from the charts, as they’re afraid that Totoro might squash them.
Ex: Yozakura Quartet, Blassreiter, Simoun, Kaze no Stigma, Nabari no Ou, etc

Significant enough to not count as insignificant. However, their poor sales are generally enough to chart, often causing people to only feel pity or sympathy for them.
Ex: Ghost Slayers Ayashi, Galaxy Angel Rune, Kimikiss, Our Home’s Fox Deity, Kyoran Kazoku Nikki, etc

Light novel anime often falls in this category. Might be enough to turn a profit with Kadokawa DVD pricing. The title considered the hurdle is now quantified as a single unit of sales, as in “one Zega.” Anime in this category is considered to be in dangerous territory, as Manabi, the problem child, often makes faces at these titles.
Ex: Rental Magica, Goshusho-sama Ninomiya-kun, Kurenai, Shinkyoku Sokai Polyphonica, Zegapain, etc.

Many titles fall in this category. Marginally performing shows, many of which didn’t sell as much as their popularity would make you think they would.
Ex: Manabi Straight!, true tears #1, Sketchbook, Gun X Sword, Yami to Boshi to Hon no Tabibito

The line of profitability. Also the line at which one could say a title is doing okay, but some may call some titles that sell this many a failure, so it’s quite hard to judge.
Ex: Denno Coil, Soul Eater, School Days, Linebarrels of Iron, Super Robot Swars OG, etc

Titles that gathered a reasonable amount of attention and sold reasonably well. Posters may still make fun of these titles’ sales, but they’re rarely considered “failures.” Growth stocks.
Ex: Seto no Hanayome, Bamboo Blade Garei -Zero-, Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni, Planetes, etc

The point where a second season looks likely, and a reasonable number of discs one can hope to sell. Producers seem to begin to be praised at this point.
Ex: Strawberry Marshmallow, Rozen Maiden, Hidamari Sketch, The Familiar of Zero, Darker than Black, etc

Impressive sales, favorites that can easily be called “hits.”
Ex: Spice and Wolf, Full Metal Panic Fumoffu, Nodame Cantabile, My-Otome, Sgt. Frog, etc

The entry point into the world of five-figure sales. There is no problem with calling regular late night anime that sell this much a “major hit.”
Ex: Toradora, Shakugan no Shana, Natsume’s Book of Friends, Pani Poni Dash!, Fafner in the Azure, etc

The top class of sales for titles that target the narrow otaku community. Praiseworthy honors students.
Ex: Minami-ke, s-CRY-ed, Da Capo, Strike Witches, Eureka Seven, etc

The point at which people who normally don’t buy DVDs begin to buy a title. Outstanding works brimming with frontier spirit.
Ex: Gintama, Death Note, Big Windup, Aria the Animation, Negima, etc

Properties with many strong, ardent, and powerful supporters. Major stars with deep fanbases.
Ex: Air, Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Clannad, Hetalia, etc

Titles in between the above and below categories that stand as influential and steadfast titles.
Ex: Lucky Star, Azumanga Daioh, G.I.T.S. SAC 2nd GIG, Initial D 4th Stage, Fate/Stay Night, etc

New leaders that become the talk of the industry. Incredible flamewars break out between supporters of titles of this group and titles in the next tier.
Ex: Full Metal Alchemist, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Code Geass, Macross F, Gundam 00, etc

In a completely different class from the rest. Godly sales.
Ex: Gundam SEED, theatrical anime (Kara no Kyokai, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time), Bakemonogatari, etc

Theatrical anime or anime made for the public at large. The stars of the industry.
Ex: Ghibli anime, Eva films, Zeta Gundam: A New Translation, Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, The World of Golden Eggs, etc

  1. keep in mind that the kind of poster who would make this chart judges a show’s worth by its economic performance. original term 雑魚, or “small fry” []

Sakuga@wiki’s List of Recommended Sakuga Anime

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Completely via 作画@wiki:

“A listing of works whose animation (sakuga) stands out due to quality, uniqueness, or historic importance.”

(Note: I have made an attempt to use English/US titles when possible.)

Theatrical Films A-L
Theatrical Films M-Z
TV Specials
TV Series
Foreign Works

Theatrical Films A-L

  • A Tree of Palme (Palm Studio, 2002)
  • AKIRA (Tokyo Movie Shinsha, 1988)
  • Animal Treasure Island (Toei Doga, 1971)
  • Blood: The Last Vampire (Production I.G., 2000)
  • Bobby’s Girl (Madhouse, 1985)
  • Brave Story (Gonzo, 2006)
  • Catnapped! The Movie (Triangle Staff, 1998)
  • Chibi Maruko-chan: My Favorite Song (Ajiado, 1992)
  • Coo: Toi Umi kara Kita Coo (Toei Animation, 1993)
  • Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (Bones, Sunrise, 2001)
  • Crayon Shin-chan: Adventure in Henderland (Shin-Ei Doga, 1996)
  • Crayon Shin-chan: Unkokusai’s Ambition (Shin-Ei Doga, 1996)
  • Dead Leaves (Production I.G., 2004)
  • Digimon Adventure (Toei Animation, 1999)
  • Digimon Adventure: Our War Game! (Toei Animation, 2000)
  • Digimon Aventure 02: Diaboromon Strikes Back (Toei Animation, 2001)
  • Doraemon: Nobita’s Dinosaur (Shin-Ei Doga, 2006)
  • Doraemon: The Day When I Was Born (Shin-Ei Doga, 2002)
  • Escaflowne: the Movie (Sunrise, Bones, 2000)
  • Eureka Seven: Pocket Full of Rainbows (Bones, Kinema Citrus, 2009)
  • Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone (Khara, 2007)
  • Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance (Khara, 2009)
  • Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture (Studio Comet, 1994)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa (Bones, 2005)
  • Galaxy Express 999 (Toei Doga, 1979)
  • Gauche the Cellist (Oh! Production, 1982)
  • Genius Party (Studio 4℃, 2007)
  • Genius Party Beyond (Studio 4℃, 2008)
  • Ghiblies: Episode 2 (Studio Ghibli, 2002)
  • Ghost in the Shell (Production I.G., 1995)
  • Ghost in the Shell: Innocence (Production I.G., 2004)
  • Golgo 13 (Tokyo Movie Shinsha, 1983)
  • Grave of the Fireflies (Studio Ghibli, 1998)
  • Gurren Lagann The Movie: Childhood’s End (Gainax, 2008)
  • Gurren Lagann The Movie: The Lights in the Sky are Stars (2009)
  • Harmageddon (Madhouse, 1983)
  • Hashire Melos! (Visual 80, 1992)
  • Hols: Prince of the Sun (Toei Doga, 1968)
  • Howl’s Moving Castle (Studio Ghibli, 2004)
  • Inuyasha the Movie 4: Fire on the Mystic Island (Sunrise, 2004)
  • Jin-Roh (Production I.G., 2000)
  • Junkers Come Here (Triangle Staff, 1995)
  • Kaiketsu Zorori (Ajiado, Sunrise, 2006)
  • Kara no Kyoukai (ufotable, 2007-2009)
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service (Studio Ghibli, 1989)
  • Kumo to Churippu (“Spider and Tulip”) (Shochiku Doga Kenkyuujo, 1943)
  • Laputa: Castle in the Sky (Studio Ghibli, 1986)
  • Lensman (Madhouse, 1984)

Theatrical Films M-Z

  • Macross: Do You Remember Love? (Tatsunoko Pro, 1984)
  • Mai Mai Miracle (Madhouse, 2009)
  • Memories (Studio 4℃, 1995)
  • Metropolis (Madhouse, 2001)
  • Millenium Actress (Madhouse, 2002)
  • Mind Game (Studio 4℃, 2004)
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack (Sunrise, 1988)
  • Munto: Tenjobito to Akutobito Saigo no Tatakai (Kyoto Animation, 2009)
  • My Neighbor Totoro (Studio Ghibli, 1988)
  • My Nighbors the Yamadas (Studio Ghibli, 1999)
  • Naruto Shippuden 3: Inheritors of the Will of Fire (Studio Pierrot, 2009)
  • Naruto: Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom (Studio Pierrot, 2006)
  • Naruto: Legend of the Stone of Gelel (Studio Pierrot, 2005)
  • Naruto: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow (Studio Pierrot, 2004)
  • Naruto: Shippuden the Movie 2: Bonds (Studio Pierrot, 2008)
  • Nasu: Summer in Andalucia (Madhouse, 2003)
  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (Topcraft, 1984)
  • Neo-Tokyo (Project Team Argos, Madhouse, 1987)
  • Ninku: The Movie (Studio Pierrot, 1994)
  • One Piece the Movie: Episode of Chopper + Fuku ni Saku, Kiseki no Sakura (Toei Animation, 2008)
  • One Piece the Movie: Omatsuri Danshaku to Himitsu no Shima (Toei Animation, 2005)
  • One Piece: Taose! Kaizoku Ganzakku! (Production I.G., 1998)
  • Only Yesterday (Studio Ghibli, 1991)
  • Paprika (Madhouse, 2006)
  • Patlabor 2: The Movie (Production I.G., 1993)
  • Perfect Blue (Madhouse, 1998)
  • Pom Poko (Studio Ghibli, 1994)
  • Ponyo (Studio Ghibli, 2008)
  • Porco Rosso (Studio Ghibli, 1992)
  • Princess Mononoke (Studio Ghibli, 1997)
  • Puss in Boots (Toei Doga, 1969)
  • Rojin Z (A.P.P.P., 1991)
  • Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise (Gainax, 1987)
  • Slime Boukenki ~Umi da, Ie-~ (Production I.G., 1999)
  • Spirited Away (Studio Ghibli, 2001)
  • Spriggan (Studio 4℃, 1998)
  • Steamboy (Sunrise, 2004)
  • Summer Wars (Madhouse, 2009)
  • Sword of the Stranger (Bones, 2007)
  • Tekkon Kinkreet (Studio 4℃, 2006)
  • The Animatrix (Studio 4℃, Madhouse, others, 2003)
  • The Castle of Cagliostro (Tokyo Movie Shinsha, 1979)
  • The Dagger of Kamui (Project Team Argos, Madhouse, 1985)
  • The End of Evangelion (Production I.G., Gainax, 1997)
  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Madhouse, 2006)
  • The Sky Crawlers (Production I.G., 2008)
  • Tobe! Kujira no Peek (Urban Product, 1991)
  • Tobe! Pegasus (Shinano Kikaku, 1995)
  • Tokyo Godfathers (Madhouse, 2003)
  • Vampire Hunter D (Madhouse, 1999)
  • Venus Wars (Triangle Staff, 1989)
  • Wanpaku Oji no Orochi Taiji (Toei Doga, 1963)
  • Whisper of the Heart (Studio Ghibli, 1995)
  • Wicked City (Madhouse, 1987)
  • Windaria (Kaname Production, 1986)
  • X: the Movie (Madhouse, 1996)
  • xxxHolic: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Production I.G., 2005)
  • Yu Yu Hakusho The Movie: Poltergeist Report (Studio Pierrot, 1994)


  • Animation Runner Kuromi 2 (Yumeta Company, 2003)
  • Armored Trooper VOTOMS: Shining Heresy (Sunrise, 1994)
  • Battle Royal High School (D.A.S.T., 1987)
  • Black Magic M-66 (A.I.C., 1987)
  • Blue Submarine No.6 (Gonzo, 1998-2000)
  • Cat Soup (J.C. Staff, 2001)
  • Cream Lemon Part 4: Pop Chaser (Fairy Dust, 1985)
  • Darkside Blues (J.C. Staff, 1994)
  • Diebuster (Gainax, 2004-2006)
  • Doomed Megalopolis (Madhouse, 1991)
  • Download: Namuamidabutsu wa Ai no Uta (Madhouse, 1992)
  • Dragon Quest Fantasia Video (Gainax, 1988)
  • FLCL (Production I.G., Gainax, 2000-2001)
  • Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still (Phoenix Entertainment, 1992-1998)
  • Golden Boy (A.P.P.P., 1995-1996)
  • Gosenzo-sama Banbanzai! (Studio Pierrot, 1989-1990)
  • Gunbuster (Gainax, 1988-1989)
  • Idol Project (Studio OX, 1995-1997)
  • Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (A.P.P.P., 1993-1994, 2000-2002)
  • Karas (Tatsunoko Pro, 2005-2007)
  • Leda: The Fantastic Adventure of Yoko (Kaname Production, 1985)
  • Macross Plus (Triangle Staff, 1994-1995)
  • Megazone 23 Part II (A.I.C., 1986)
  • Mezzo Forte (Arms, 2000-2001)
  • Mighty Space Miners (Triangle Staff, 1994-1995)
  • Mobile Suig Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory (Sunrise, 1991-1992)
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War In the Pocket (Sunrise, 1989)
  • Nasu: A Migratory Bird with Suitcase (Madhouse, 2007)
  • Nyuin Bokki Monogatari Odaiji Ni (Tokyo Kids, 1991)
  • Photon (A.I.C., 1997-1999)
  • Planet Busters (Kaname Production, 1984)
  • Planet of Miss China (Ajiado, 2001)
  • Puppet Princess (Tokyo Movie, 2000)
  • Ranma 1/2: Nightmare! Incense of Spring Sleep (Studio Deen, 2008)
  • Re: Cutie Honey (Toei Animation, Gainax, 2004)
  • Record of Lodoss War (Madhouse, 1990-1991)
  • Refrain (Oh! Production, 1993)
  • Robot Carnival (A.P.P.P., 1987)
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Reflection (Studio Deen, 2001-2002)
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Trust and Betrayal (Studio Deen, 1999)
  • Saber Marionette R (Animate Film, Zero-G Room, 1995)
  • Street Fighter Alpha: Generations (A.P.P.P., 2005)
  • Street Fighter Alpha: The Movie (Group TAC, Plum, 2000)
  • Tenyamonya Voyagers (Studio Pierrot, 1999)
  • The Fire G-Men (Yomiuri Eigasha, 1974)
  • The Hakkenden (AIC, 1990-1991)
  • The Hakkenden ~Shinsho~ (AIC, 1993-1995)
  • Urotsukidoji (Original Trilogy) (1987-1989)
  • Virgin Night (Shinkuukan, 2001)
  • Wild Cardz (Studio OX, 1997)
  • You’re Under Arrest! (Studio DEEN, 1994-1995)

TV Specials

  • Afro Samurai (Gonzo, 2007)
  • Fatal Fury: Legend of the Hungry Wolf (Studio Comet, 1992)
  • Hajime no Ippo: Champion Road (Madhouse, 2003)
  • Like the Clouds, Like the Wind (Studio Pierrot, 1990)
  • Lupin III: Walther P-38 (Kyokuichi Tokyo Movie, 1997)
  • Spring and Chaos (Group TAC, 1996)
  • Sugata Sanshiro (Tokyo Movie Shinsha, 1981)
  • The Ocean Waves (Studio Ghibli, 1993)

TV Series

  • 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother (Nippon Animation, 1976)
  • Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales (Toei Animation, 2006)
  • Blue Comet SPT Layzner (Sunrise, 1985-1986)
  • Casshern Sins (Madhouse, 2008-2009)
  • City Hunter (Nippon Sunrise, 1987-1988)
  • Cowboy Bebop (Sunrise, 1998)
  • Denno Coil (Madhouse, 2007)
  • Dokkoida?! (ufotable, 2003)
  • Dokonjo Gaeru (Tokyo Movie, 1972-1974)
  • Eureka Seven (Bones, 2005-2006)
  • Full Metal Alchemist (Bones, 2003-2004)
  • Future Boy Conan (Nippon Animation, 1978)
  • Gaiking Legend of Daiku-Maryu (Toei Animation, 2005-2006)
  • Ganba no Boken (Tokyo Movie, 1975)
  • Ganzo Tensai Bakabon (Tokyo Movie, 1975-1977)
  • Ghost in the Shell S.A.C. 2nd GIG (Production I.G., 2004-2005)
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (Production I.G., 2002-2003)
  • Kaiba (Madhouse, 2008)
  • Kaiketsu Zorori (Anba Filmworks, Ajiado, 2004-2005)
  • Kamichu! (Brain’s Base, 2005)
  • Kemonozume (Madhouse, 2006)
  • K-On! (Kyoto Animation, 2009)
  • Lupin III (First series) (Tokyo Movie, 1971-1972)
  • Lupin III (Second series, episodes created by Telecom) (Tokyo Movie Shinsha, 1977-1980)
  • Machine Robo: Revenge of Chronos (Ashi Production, 1986-1987)
  • Magic Knight Rayearth (Tokyo Movie, 1994-1995)
  • Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi (Madhouse, 2002)
  • Master Keaton (Madhouse, 1998-1999)
  • Medabots (Bee Train, 1999-2000)
  • Mononoke (Toei Animation, 2007)
  • Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (Production I.G., 2007)
  • Neo Ranga (Studio Pierrot, 1998-1999)
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion (Tatsunoko Pro, Gainax, 1995-1996)
  • Ninku (Studio Pierrot, 1995-1996)
  • Noein: To Your Other Self (Sattelite, 2005-2006)
  • Paranoia Agent (Madhouse, 2004)
  • Popolocrois Monogatari (Bee Train, 1998-1999)
  • R.O.D. -THE TV- (J.C. Staff, 2003-2004)
  • Rahxephon (Bones, 2002)
  • Red Photon Zillion (Tatsunoko Pro, 1987)
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena (J.C. Staff, 1997)
  • Samurai Champloo (Manglobe, 2004)
  • Sasuga no Sarutobi (Tsuchita Production, 1982-1984)
  • Space Battleship Yamato (Office Academy, 1974-1975)
  • Space Cobra (Tokyo Movie Shinsha, 1982-1983)
  • Space Pirate Captain Herlock (Madhouse, 2003)
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (Gainax, 2007)
  • The Adventures of Peter Pan (Nippon Animation, 1989)
  • The Vision of Escaflowne (Sunrise, 1996)
  • Windy Tales (Production I.G., 2004-2005)
  • Xam’d: Lost Memories (Bones, 2008-2009)
  • Yu Yu Hakusho (Studio Pierrot, 1992-1995)

Selected episodes from other TV series (note: coming soon?)


  • 3-nen B-gumi Kinpachi Sensei: Densetsu no Kyoudan ni Tate! (Chunsoft, 2004)
  • Akiiro Renka OP (2005)
  • Double Cast (Production I.G., 1998)
  • Ghost in the Shell (Production I.G., 1997)
  • Hanjuku Hero 4: 7-nin no Hanjuku Hero (Tatsunoko Pro, 2005)
  • Hanjuku Hero Tai 3D OP (Tatsunoko Pro, 2003)
  • Magical Girl Pretty Sammy: Heart no Kimochi extra movie, “My Favorite Boy” (1998)
  • Musashi: Samurai Legend OP (Gainax, 2005)
  • Muv-Luv Alternative (Stack, Silver, 2006)
  • Popolocrois Monogatari (Triangle Staff, 1996)
  • Popolocrois Monogatari II (Production I.G., 2000)
  • Quo Vadis 2: Wakusei Kyoshuu Orphan Rei (1997)
  • Sakura Wars 3 (Production I.G., 2001)
  • Sakura Wars 4 (Production I.G., 2002)
  • Sentimental Graffiti (Marcus, 1998)
  • Sonic CD
  • Summon Night 2 (Production I.G., 2001)
  • Summon Night 3 (Studio 4℃, 2003)
  • Summon Night 4 (Production I.G., 2006)
  • Surveillance Kanshisha (Production I.G., 2002)
  • Tales Series (Production I.G.)
  • Wild Arms 2 OP (1999)
  • Wild Arms 3 OP (2002)
  • Xenogears (Bee Train, 1998)



  • Glay, “Survival” (Studio 4℃, 1999)
  • Ken Ishii, “EXTRA” (Studio 4℃, 1994)
  • Linkin Park, “Breaking the Habit” (Gonzo, 2004)
  • Yui Aragaki, “Piece” (Studio Ghibli, 2009)


  • Daicon IV Opening Animation (DAICON FILM, 1983)
  • Kenta to Panna Cotta (Yoyogi Animation Gakuin Fukuoka Campus Class of 2000 Graduation Project)


  • capsul3Bunsaku (Studio Ghibli, 2005)
  • Jumping (Tezuka Production, 1984)
  • Superflat Monogram (Toei Animation, 2003)
  • X2 -Double X- (Animate Film, Madhouse, 1993)

Foreign Works

  • Bambi (USA, 1942)
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (USA, 1937)
  • The Cowboy’s Flute (PRC, 1963)
  • The Secret of NIMH (USA, 1982)
  • The Snowman (England, 1982)
  • The Fly (Hungary, 1980?)
  • Tom and Jerry (USA, 1940)
  • Tom and Jerry: The Cat Concerto (USA, 1946)

Is it True? Everyone Working in Anime is Poor?

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Blogger’s/Translator’s introduction: This is the followup post to an earlier translation of 30-year veteran animator and director Yamasaki Osamu‘s blog post regarding the financial situation of the animation industry and animators in specific. Again, this post was originally posted on his blog on the JAniCA (Japan Animation Creators Association) website. Again, I would like to thank Yamasaki-san and Nekomiya-san from JAniCA for allowing me to translate and post the following article.


It seems like some people misunderstood my previous post about the disastrous situation going on with new animators, and thought that everyone involved in anime production is in the same situation, but the situation isn’t that miserable… at least, that’s how I feel.

To put it better, whether you’re someone making a decent living or if you’re someone sliding into poverty, two groups of people who coexist in the anime industry, depends on what department you’re working in, not your experience or your accomplishments… would be the way to put it.

I wrote that if you halved the unit price paid per drawing for painters, then inbetweeners could make a living. However, if you wanted to adjust the budget in other ways, I can come up with a lot of ways to do it.

I’m not sure if I should write something like this in a place like this, but… In the anime industry right now, production supervisors, the people that ought to know how to allocate a budget, have no idea what’s actually going on in the studios. As a result, I think that this is causing the state of the industry to grow worse and worse.

And so… I’ll take it upon myself to say this here:

“A lot of anime production staff are making plenty of money!!”
“What’s more, all that’s needed to save inbetweeners is 500,000 yen ($5,500 usd) an episode from a 10 million yen ($112,000) TV series episode budget!”

How much money is needed to raise the unit cost for an inbetweener from 200 to 300 yen? How much are we missing? An average episode uses 4000-5000 in-between frames. Looking at those numbers, how short are we falling? All you need is 500,000 yen an episode to give this raise.

Is it really not possible to raise this amount of money?

Last time, I wrote about reducing the unit cost for painters, but I think there are plenty of other places where you can find the money.

To give one example that I’m aware of, let’s look at sound director pay.

A sound director for a TV series makes an average of 150,000-180,000 yen ($1,675-$2000) an episode.
The director for the same episode makes 200,000-250,000 yen ($2,200-2,800).
The animation director makes around 300,000 yen ($3,350).

On first glance, these numbers might look fair, but in reality, that’s not the case at all. I wrote about this last time, but an animation director is bound for about a month and a half to the job he’s paid 300,000 yen for, so that comes out to making around 200,000 yen a month.

For directors, it might take six months preparation to begin work on a 25-26 episode (half-year) series, so you could calculate their monthly pay to be about 500,000 yen ($5,600).

In comparison, a sound director takes two days to complete an episode, including preparation time. Therefore, a lot of sound directors work on 2-3 titles at a time, for a total of 3 episodes a week. Taking on 12 episodes a month isn’t hard or uncommon.
Monthly pay: 150,000 yen x 12 episodes = 1,800,000 yen ($20,000).
Sound directors who make over 20,000,000 yen ($223,000) a year are common.

As for scenario writers, they make around 180,000 yen ($2,000) a script and work on 2-3 at a time, but unlike sound directors, it’s fairly unheard of to write a completed script in 2 days. We can say that they finish an average of 1-2 scripts in an average month, putting their monthly income from manuscript fees at about 300,000 ($3,350) yen.
Whether you think this is a lot or a little, depending on the show1, a writer may be paid script royalties if the work becomes a hit, making millions of yen without doing any extra work. Since one could be working on three or more shows each month, the chances that a writer will write a script for a hit series increases.
As a result, a writer who does proper work would reach 10 million yen ($110,000) a year.
Of course, there are writers who make more, and I’m sure there are writers who don’t make this much.

One thing you can definitely say, though, is that a series becoming a hit or not isn’t necessarily linked to the quality of the script.

Besides these examples, 800,000-1,000,000 yen (~$9,000-$11,000) an episode is allotted to cinematography an episode. A cinematography team is made up of 4-5 people, and complete one TV episode in 3-4 days.
Aside from this, other “sentori” jobs for the team such as inbetween photography, keyframe photography, and storyboard photography2 may arise if there isn’t tight control on the schedule, and these jobs are included in the pay.
Even so, the 4-5 person team ends up making a total of 4 million yen or more a month. ($44,500)

Looking at the numbers I’ve written above, you could conceivably compare the level of each section’s pay to the average in other industries and say something like “Well… around 20 million yen a year seems normal.” After all, that’s around what the salaried employees at the TV stations and the ad agencies make, so people involved in anime making that much doesn’t seem too strange.

However, when you think what it takes to actually produce a given anime, how much does each of these groups contribute? How much should each section really be paid?
I think that producers ought to think about these things.

Aren’t sound directors being paid too much?
If you’re going to pay screenwriters royalties, do you really need to also pay guarantees?
Do you really have to pay so much to low-level writers whose involvement amounts to being middlemen for the person doing series composition?
Aren’t cinematographers being given extra work because production managers are careless?

And while I’m at it, “Animation directors are even worse off than inbetweeners!!”

I really think about all of these things.

Working in the anime industry today, the job I want to do the least is working as an animation director.
You take the blame when things turn out poorly, and even though you have to fix every layout and keyframe, inexperienced keyframe artists make 4000 yen a cut. If you break it down, animation directors don’t even get paid at the level of 1000 yen a cut.
If you break it down by drawing, it’s less than the inbetweeners, despite making as little as they do.
For veteran animation directors who might be responsible for almost half a work’s perceived quality, there’s far too wide of a gap between labor done and money paid.

When sound directors who don’t know what’s going on come up to me and tell me like they’re stressed out from working, “Hey, we can’t do any sound work because we don’t have any proper drawings, just keyframe photography,” I want to tell them “okay then, why don’t you quit?”
How much weight are you pulling, and how much of the budget are you given?
Do you know how much the animation staff puts into those drawings and what they’re going through?
Are you saying what you’re saying with all of this in mind?

The main staff of a work should be people who newcomers look up to.
If they work hard and give their best, they’ll be able to become like their seniors.
It’s thoughts like this that cultivate talent for the next generation.
That’s why I’m not going to say that making a lot of money is a bad thing.

But… There’s a but.

What about the new animators, who can’t even properly support themselves, having to work next to equally green painters who are making more than the animation director?
What about the sound directors being paid 150,000 yen for 2 days of work?
What about the unnecessary sentori work that keeps increasing?
If you redid a budget so that you minimized waste and paid people for the work they do, there couldn’t be any way that you can’t find another 500,000 yen for inbetweening.

There are people who say things like “Well, budgets haven’t really changed in thirty years, so…” or “Raising just the inbetweening budget isn’t feasible…” I wish that these people who don’t know anything about the actual condition of the industry would stop pretending they did and shut their mouths.
That’s to say nothing of the people who say “It’s Tezuka’s fault!” These people aren’t just ignorant about the condition of the industry, what they’re saying is so stupid that it doesn’t even make sense!

I believe that directors, as the individuals who represent anime productions, ought to raise their voice and ask these questions.

The anime industry is by no means poor.
It’s the animators who are.

Industry insiders, please realize this!
Please have the courage to improve this situation!

I ought to back up and acknowledge that there are sound directors and scenario writers who are commendably good workers deserving of praise.

But even so, sound directors get paid a lot… at least, that’s what I think.
(I don’t know what to make of the fact that I’m saying this while having worked as a sound director…)

A better way to put it might be, “Budgets are clearly not balanced!!”… why don’t the producers at the studios who are associated with the AJA think this?

Do they really lack the imagination to see how leaving this situation as it is will lead to not being able to make works in the future?

The reason that work gets held up when it goes to the animation director is because of the rapid decrease in key animators who can do a proper job…
And the cause of this is the inattentiveness of production supervisors, who should be looking after the young animators who have no bargaining power.

I’m certain that this is the truth.

  1. tl note: I think this means “if it gets a dvd” []
  2. these are used during recording sessions []

What I read recently

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Yotsuba& vol. 1 (Azuma Kiyohiko/Yen Press)
Bought this out of curiosity. ADV’s old translation had their usual problems, like occasionally being wildly wrong and misspelling random names. The new one is fine, but comes with all kinds of localization decisions that just annoy me. Everything written (SFX, signs, etc.) is left untranslated and put in notes, even though nothing at all is interesting about the original, all the honorifics are used (with more notes), and there are extra cutesy misspellings that are only funny sometimes. That being said, there’s nothing really wrong with it, except for the horrible filth:

…I think I’m bored of Yotsuba now. Actually reading this again just made me want to get the new Azumanga chapters.

The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya (Nagaru Tanigawa/Yen Press again)
Kind of boring. The early stories are all better in the anime, though some later chapters are better, I’ve heard. Also the entire translation is written like this. I was going to make up something here about fansub translators not knowing how to write paragraphs, but I guess it’s light novel style after all. The anime episodes are better but are still boring.

The Summer of the Ubume (Natsuhiko Kyogoku/Vertical)
kransom told me to buy this before it came out here, and so I did. Unfortunately, not only is this a real novel, but it’s actually good and well-written, which left me totally unqualified to say anything about it. I will instead note that most people seem to have called it a “supernatural horror”, which it isn’t, and insist on comparing Kyogoku to nerdshoe authors like Neil Gaiman/Stephenson.
Personally, I thought the mystery solved through a very long history lecture at the end reminded me more of Umberto Eco, but there’s no reason to go around reducing things to comparisons like that. Just go read it, okay.

Kannagi v1/2
(I read the subtitles, you see.)
There wasn’t really enough plot to sustain this. The individual episodes were mostly good, but none of them actually led into each other at all, and you just had to pretend that the weird serious drama in episode 2 merited it suddenly coming back at the end of the show.
Maybe if the author had written more of the plot out it could’ve been interesting, since it was at least more leftist than Kamichu, but instead some completely different series about maid cafes got stuck in the middle. Yamakan’s director power somehow made this and Kanon watchable, but I end up regretting it afterwards…

Umineko no naku koro ni, episode 6
I can’t mention any plot details until it’s been translated, but after reading it I don’t think I got any clearer picture of the mystery. It looks like episode 7 will reveal a large part of that, so it’s just a little more waiting either way, but it made reading such a long episode seem a little pointless.
There were a few great scenes, but overall the whole thing is by design stuck until the actual end, and I think he’s just padding it out now. Watch out if you start reading it (e.g. if someone translates the prologue), because the first few scenes will just confuse you until you get to the end 15 chapters later.

2ch Selections, “The Most Unforgivable Incidents in Anime History”

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

, as chosen by 2ch and condensed into readable format by Kajisoku, who I don’t feel all too bad about stealing content from because affiliate blog lol

There were a whole lot of incidents I had no idea about, but first, the standard host of “incidents” that you’d expect in a thread like this:

  • The first post is, of course, “Nagi-sama virginity incident” (quickly followed by “the ‘incident’ part was the people who posted in response to the manga, right?”)
  • Electric Soldier Porygon incident
  • episode 4 of Gurren-Lagann (lol)
  • a pretty exhaustive list of Yashiganis (1, 2, 3, 4, Valanoir
  • Asuna’s cremation in Negima!
  • The existence of Tsuyokiss (or maybe it was all a dream…)
  • The existence of the Idolm@ster anime
  • The existence of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
  • The existence of Buddha Saitan
  • The ending of Kashimashi TV
  • Endless Eight
  • etc etc

Stuff like that makes up a good half of the thread or so. However, the other half is full of hilarious stuff that may have otherwise been lost to my poor memory and the straits of time!

  • Red tinting on the Japanese Spirited Away DVD release (English article, image)
  • TV Tokyo pushes back Inukami episode due to world table tennis championships running long, man who set his recorder to automatically tape Inukami during the normal time slot sends cremated remains to TV Tokyo in protest (article)
  • Episode 26 of Animentary Ketsudan, a right-leaning 1971 historical anime series where the first 25 episodes are about important decisions made during World War II, becomes an episode about Kawakami Tetsuharu’s decisions as the manager of the Yomiuri Giants. Apparently the episode was originally going to be on the final days of the war, but mounting pressure by parent groups over the program’s politics lead to the change.
  • Nippon TV, Tatsunoko Pro, and Kuri Ippei are sued by Katsukawa Katsushi over claims that they plagarized his character design in their show Doteraman, temporary pulling the show from the airwaves. (Katsukawa would later lose the suit)
  • Incredible scheduling botch when TBS tries to push Ichigo Mashimaro ep 5 back by 5 minutes in order to air a special live news report on a hurricane. (youtube)
  • Broadcasting error on 8/15/2007 leads to a 65-minute long frozen frame of Sanji’s eyebrow (One Piece) on one channel. Japanese
  • The Musashimaru Tragedy
  • Episode 17 of Samurai Troopers is accidentally broadcast in lieu of episode 18, forcing the production company to shorten the show from 40 episodes to 39.(image)
  • The staff of the Prince of Tennis anime decided to make a staff doujinshi of the series and sell it at summer Comiket 2004, but are forced to give it away for free when the original author takes notice. (scans on nico)
  • Spanish terrestrial broadcast TV channel “La Sexta” airs ero-anime Daiakuji without actually knowing what it is, causes general moral outrage
  • The ending of Might Gaine, where the characters find out that the ultimate enemy is actually Takara and other toy companies. (No really, I’m not kidding)
  • The opening credits of episode 11 of City Hunter 3, broadcast on Christmas Eve 1989, featured a one-frame flash of Aum Shinrikyo leader Asahara Shoko. This was apparently done as an production in-joke, as one-frame insertions like this are present in shows like Urusei Yatsura and Patlabor TV, and there was no backlash at the time. In 1993, Yomiuri TV asked them to remove this for later rebroadcasts as they were afraid that uncredited insertion of living people’s photographs might lead to a image rights issue. However, TBS would later attack Nippon TV over the original sequence during the heated weeks after the Aum sarin gas attacks, saying it was a subliminal message. (Image here, video footage of an indescribably bizarre cult-recruitment tool/Aum video game which features a clip from the video here.)
  • Not in the thread, but related to the above 2 entries: The 6th show in the Yusha/Brave series, The Brave of Gold Goldran (Might Gaine was show #4), had a one-frame flash in the opening credits of the first 13 episodes where, in the background of a scene where the titular robot could be seen, the phrase “An anime that’s easy to make toys out of / by Sunrise” can be seen handwritten in the background. Oh, those crazy disgruntled Sunrise animators! You can catch it at around 1:12 of this video.

The top 2000s shows you don’t remember

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

In the order I thought of them. Also these shows are all terrible, so please don’t watch them, except for Magipoka which was brilliant.

1. Samurai Gun.
2. RGB Adventure.
3. Renkin San-kyuu Magical? Poka~n.
4. That one show that was like Mai-HIME, but all the characters were gay men named after rocks.
5. That Hercule Poirot anime where the main character was a girl with a pet duck.

I was going to put Fantastic Children and Project Blue Earth SOS in there, but you guys all watched those, right?

The Dreaded Fall 2009 Three-Episode Test

Monday, November 9th, 2009

As this just happens to be the first time in years I haven’t been behind a school firewall, I thought I’d do something up-to-date for once. Luckily, the world’s most respected anime-watching technique is as useful as ever!


I’m glad that’s cleared up

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

not that moeru

JAniCA Club Blog Translation: What’s Going On in the Anime Industry Right Now?!

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Blogger’s/Translator’s introduction: A number of weeks ago, I was trawling through my usual Google Reader feeds when I noticed a good number of Japanese sites linking to one of the blogs on the “JAniCA Club” side of the JAniCA (Japan Animation Creators Association) website. The blog, written by anime director Osamu Yamasaki, details the current situation in the anime industry, especially from the perspective of the animators themselves. I found Yamasaki-san’s blog very interesting, and received permission to translate a particularly insightful entry. During this whole process, ANN has posted an article drawing from the same posts, so this may be material you’ve seen before. However, I think that Yamasaki’s presentation of this information is an informative one, and that his original words, though translated, may provide a better picture of things that may have been harder to deduce from the non-editorial style of the ANN post. Of course, I’d like to thank Yamasaki-san and Nekomiya-san, along with everyone else at JAniCA involved in allowing me to post this translation, and I hope to be able to translate and post other articles from the blog in the future.

– – – – – – – – –

What’s going on in the anime industry right now?!

I think that it’s a wonderful thing that the Animator’s Field Survey Symposium 2009 was conducted and held without a hitch.

It seems like the findings were quite a shock to the general public of Japan who watched that day’s NHK late night News, along with foreign anime fans…

However, you really cannot understand all of what is going on in the anime industry just based off of the information in the Symposium.

That’s why I’d like to use this post to set the record straight and clearly explain about the current state of the anime industry.

First off, it’s easy to see that the anime industry as a whole is not a poor one, as clearly seen by the large amount of content it is producing to a global audience, on the level of tens of trillions of yen.

So then why are the animators on these works as poor as they are?

Naturally, there is a reason behind this.

What you hear quite often is “It’s because the ad agencies and the TV channels take such big kickbacks…” and this certainly may be a large problem.

However, I’m not in a position to fully understand what goes on in that realm, and so I’ll avoid talking about that subject as if I knew what really goes on there.

There are rumors about the Japan Fair Trade Commission coming in to expose and clean up this section of the industry in the not-too-distant future, and so I’d like to watch what happens with that in time to come.

Now, let’s go back and take a look at the state of things on the production side of the situation.

First, there’s the widely-discussed issue of the current state of things for inexperienced inbetweeners

As explained in the Symposium, ever since the switch to digital animation, an inbetweener produces 500 drawings on average in one month.
The inbetweener is paid 200-250 yen per drawing, and so their monthly income is 100,000 to 120,000 yen, which after 10% tax turns into 90,000 to 100,000 yen take-home pay.
From this monthly income, they have to pay for their national pension, healthcare, rent, and food.
When you consider that rent in Tokyo is 50,000-70,000 yen, it is clear that one could not possibly live a decent life on this rent.

Compared to this, how much does a similarly inexperienced anime painter (shiage, coloring + touch-up animation) make?
One painter finishes 2000 drawings on average in one month.
The painter is paid 180-200 yen per drawing, and so their monthly income is 360,000 to 400,000 yen, which after 10% tax turns into 320,000 to 360,000 take-home pay.

Why does this difference in pay exist?

It’s because the relative prices paid per drawing that was established during the pre-digital era of anime exists unchanged to the current day.

In the past, a cel painter would have to wait for paint to dry, trace shadows with color, and so on, requiring the same proficiency of technique, as well as time and effort, that an inbetweener needed to have, and they would complete around 700 to 1000 drawings a month.

During this period, inbetweeners would complete about an equal number of drawings.

This is why you’ll hear veteran animators who worked as inbetweeners twenty years ago often saying, “In my day, everyone was doing 1000 drawings a month,” without really understanding the current situation.
In those days, due to the nature of the trace machine1, lines from anything other than graphite pencils, such as lines from color pencils, would not be transferred onto the final cel. This would allow for “one-shot drawings” where one could draw a draft on a sheet in color pencil, then trace it on the same sheet of paper for their final drawing. Also, even if the pencil lines in an animator’s final drawings were not perfectly connected, cels were hand-painted, so one didn’t have to worry about colors extending past their pencil lines as a result of a color fill tool being used on an unconnected area as they do now.

Comparing the current methods of digital paint, where one doesn’t even have to color shadows on the reverse side of the cel anymore, the amount of time and labor spent by a painter compared to an inbetweener has decreased drastically.
The reason new animators live in such distressed conditions is because the relative prices of these two jobs has not been changed, because of individuals who do not understand the changes that have occurred in these two occupations.

This issue is also resulting in the creation of a problem that can result in the breakdown of production schedules.

What is becoming of the anime industry, where the conditions above have already been going on for the past ten years?

The number of talented young individuals in the current anime industry who can draw decent key animation has shrunk by a extremely large number.
The harsh working conditions that new animators face is the primary cause of this problem.
Many anime companies ask new animators when they hire them, “can you commute from home?” or “are you receiving an allowance from your parents?”
This is because newly hired animators will not be able to sustain themselves without these things.

With this initial filtering of their applicants, the companies repel a large number of talented individuals who want to work in the anime industry, leaving only those who will work for 50,000 to 60,000 yen a month.
While a few young men and women with skill and craft remain within this group, willing to work, a significant amount of the rest of the group are hobbyists.
People who don’t particularly care if anime is their job.
A large number of staff who treat drawing anime as a hobby enter the industry every year.

In the past, most animators quit because they didn’t have the talent for it.

But these days, smart and talented individuals are leaving the industry.
Of course, this can’t be said about everyone in the industry.
I do have juniors in the industry, leading difficult lives where they are trying desperately to pursue animation as a profession.
However, working right next to these serious and dedicated individuals are hobbyists who lazily draw pictures as if they were doing it for fun, people who are making doujinshi, or who are playing games, watching anime, or reading manga instead of doing work.
If they can earn their monthly allowance of 20,000 to 30,000 yen, they’re happy to continue on with their carefree lives.

Smart and motivated newcomers who see that leave the industry.

They see their friends in college who were less talented than them go to work in the gaming industry where they make around 300,000 yen a month, and think that it’s just stupid to be crushed by the absurd industry that they’re currently working for.

The result of this is that the talent pool of animators is running dry.

This has been going on for ten years.
The percentage of talented key animators rising up from this pool of fresh animators has fallen drastically.
Currently, the exemplary directors, animation directors, designers, and talented key animators who are all holding up the Japanese animation industry are in their 40s and their 50s.
Most of these individuals were already working as directors, animation directors, and designers when they were in their 20s.

This same group is still supporting the anime industry today.
And as the years continue to go by, the weight on these men’s shoulders is only increasing.
It’s because there has been a shocking decrease in the number of talented key animators who ought to be fostered by the system.
Young animators today can’t draw layouts.
They can’t draw key animation or proper timing (exposure) sheets.
So, if the director or animation director doesn’t go back and fix everything, then it won’t pass as a decent work of animation.
With no other options available to them, the veterans will draw all of the key animation, while the young animators will just do cleanup.
This is called “2nd key animation” and people in this position may think of themselves as key animators, but twenty years ago, this was called key animation tracing, which was a job of the inbetween animator.

These days, you often hear complaints like, “The director or animation director is getting too involved in production and not doing their checking duties on time, which means we’re rushed on our schedule, and it’s causing us a lot of trouble” coming from colorists, photographers, or sound engineers.
However, if the animation isn’t redrawn at this step, the end product will look horrible.
The person who the abusive cries of “terrible, off-model animation!”2 and “awful production!” are directed at? The director or the animation director.

This is also where a client passes their assessment.

If a poor end product is created, the director and the animation director will have a harder time finding their next job.
However, decent key animators aren’t being brought up.
With no other option, directors and animation directors shave off more hours from their nightly sleep and fix more drawings.

Animation directors earn 300,000 yen an episode.
On average, it takes a month and a half from the time that drawings are received to the time that the episode is finished.
This means a monthly salary of 200,000 yen.
These directors are twenty-year veterans of the anime industry.

Working in the same place as these directors are inexperienced colorists, making 300,000 to 400,000 yen a month.

The producers at the production companies understand the state of things, but they do nothing to change them.
It’s because this problem can’t be fixed by just one company adjusting their pay rates.

An absolute minimum living wage for a fresh inbetweener is 150,000 yen.
Dividing this by 500 drawings a month, that comes out to a minimum of 300 yen a drawing.

Currently, the cost of a colored inbetween frame between colorist and animator is 400-450 yen.

If you give 300 yen of this to the animator and the remaining 100 to the colorist, do you know how much the colorist would make?
2000 drawings a month times 100 yen = 200,000 yen.

Why can’t companies fix their budget like this?

We strongly wish that the Association of Japanese Animators, the regulatory body organized of the various production companies, will take the needed measures and enact regulations.

  1. a machine that would bake carbon lines onto cels []
  2. 作画崩壊!, Sakuga houkai!, a commonly hurled complaint []