It's been six years since we
first launched the Animator Dormitory Project, our organization has finally
reached a stable operation. We believe we accomplished our goal in establishing
a safety net for up-and-coming animators who suffer through their early professional
Our past boarders have been building their careers, as many have moved on to positions such as animation directors. (E.g., Hitomi Kairya, former boarder and director, key animator, and character designer for the opening for the NHK Morning Drama “Natsu”.)
However, the Animator Dormitory is only a temporary treatment to the bigger problems of the anime industry. From now on, we will be tackling the fundamental issue of underpaid animators.
As the NPO Animator Supporters, we pondered on the question: What would be best for fans to do?
Our answer is, if it’s hard to change the current state of the industry, we should create a new anime industry ourselves!
In a system outside of the current anime industry, we are planning on increasing production costs to increase wages, and create a flow in which sales profit are returned to animators. In the future, we are willing to produce short films that allow staff to work under better wages.
The Traditional Anime Production System
The average monthly salary for new animators in their 20s is $900.
The Japanese anime industry has been producing more anime than ever, with its market size being more than 2,000,000,000,000 JPY.
However, the environment surrounding animators remains severe -- low salary, long working hours, and illegal contracts. According to a survey conducted by the JAnicA in 2015, an average monthly salary for an animator who is in his/her 20’s around ￥90,000, making the yearly salary about ￥1,100,000. It is not uncommon that the monthly salary for a first year animator is less than 30,000 JPY.
(※) For a typical TV anime series, an animator makes ￥200 by drawing ONE picture.
If one draws 300 pictures per month, his monthly salary is only: 300 drawings × ￥200 = ￥60,000.
However, drawing 300 sketches is a really challenging task for a new animator.
In addition, animators generally do not have time to work a part time job, which makes it even harder to make a stable living.
Why do such terrible conditions of employment happen?
It is quite costly to produce an anime. So if one anime did not become a hit, the company would be in huge debt.
In order to avoid such situations, the current anime making process
forms a production committee which consists of a TV station, movie
production firm, ad company, publisher, and other big production
The production cost is collected from each of them so that the burden can be shared.
It is, in a way, true that this kind of financial management is needed to avoid a huge debt, but there are other issues that can arise.
For example, the production fee paid from the production committee to the anime studio is, in many cases, not sufficient. Consequently, many anime studios end up in debt. (1 out of 4 anime studios are currently in debt.) As a result, they cannot pay the animators salaries who end up living below the poverty level.
In addition, the profits made by sales of an anime go to the production committee, so even if it becomes a hit, animators would not benefit from the sales. Although this current method to produce anime seems reasonable to avoid risks, there are some critical issues with animators being disregarded.
The current situation and method do not pay animators well; therefore, we are creating a new system that approaches the problem from a different angle to support animators.
Shouldn't the animators form a labor union?
Whilst creating an
animators’ labor union could be one approach to this problem, this has failed
in the past due to some factors:
Firstly, many animators are freelancers who do
not regularly work for a single company.
Second, employment statuses differ
between in-between animators, who are usually newcomers, and key animators. There
is a divide in whether the animator is regular employee or a non-regular
Finally, getting jobs in the anime industry is based on human
relations. Labor unions formed in the past disbanded due to pressure from their
Therefore, we think it will still take a long time until the animators
are able to form a labor union.
Plans for the New Anime Making System
Our plan for now is to welcome popular artists from abroad for this project.
It works like the following - artists prepare us their music, we make their music videos like an anime opening, and ask supporters to raise the budget by crowdfunding.
Artists will provide us with a song.
We will hopefully raise enough money for this project from anime lovers.
and then, our NPO members, and mainly former dormitory resident animators will make animated music videos.
If I can make this new system, for anime fans like me, our money can go to animators and other creators who make anime directly.
Within three years I want to make an animation production studio which can pay two to four times bigger payments, a fair rate, to animators.
This plan of making a new style animation production studio will just be a starter.
I also want to make a system which can pay animators some extra money such as paying them royalties when the anime series becomes popular.
Because with the current system, animators can't get anything extra when it becomes popular. Not even a dime.
We already got the help from the composer of RWBY, Mr. Mason Liberman and he will provide us with music.
We want more help from many other artists too in the future so now, we are making a demonstration video to show what we can make.
this project we are working on now is the “New Anime Making System Project.”
Tatsuro Kawano is the director of this 30 seconds demonstration video.
He received highest honor at “The 2nd Starting Out Animator’s Grand Prix.”
And he has been supporting this dormitory from the beginning.
He is a animation director of “PSYCHO-PASS 2”,
action Key animation director of “Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress”,
Opening animation director and episode director of BORUTO.
With it, he also drew storyboards.
Now, he is working as a director on “BURN THE WITCH” by Taito Kubo, a comic book writer of “BLEACH”. (This movie will be released in fall, 2020)
The 30-second short movie will be directed by Tatsuro Kawano, former resident at the Animator Dormitory and winner of the 2nd Starting Out Animators’ Grand Prix . Since his debut as an animator, he's known for the opening animation director, a storyboard director, and a casting director for BORUTO-ボルト-NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS.
- BORUTO-ボルト-NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS; opening animation director, storyboard, and casting director.
- BladeSmash; character designer and opening animation director
The key animation team will be the current or former boarders of our Animator Dormitory.
- Attack on Titan Season 3; key animation director
- Blade Smash; key animation director
- NHK morning show Natsu; title designer, opening director, key animator, and character designer
- Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?; art director
To have a sufficient budget and provide adequate payment for animators, we are estimating that the cost will be as follows:
- Key animation 10,000 JPY/ 1 cut
- In between animation500 JPY/ 1 picture
- Finishing touch 200 JPY/ 1 picture
- Background 20,000 JPY/1 cut
- Filming 100,000 JPY/ 1 artwork
- 2DW/special effects 50,000 JPY/ 1 artwork
- Music 300,000 JPY/ 1 artwork
- Sound effects 200,000 JPY/ 1 artwork
- Editing 200,000 JPY/ 1 artwork
- Director 400,000 JPY/ 1 artwork
- Character design/ Animation director 400,000 JPY/ 1 artwork
- Producing 400,000 JPY/ 1 artwork
Total/ 3,000,000 JPY (approximately)
Our ultimate goal is to create a new Anime-Making system to consistently produce anime based on our system.
It's hard for us to change the current situation of underpaid animators in the industry, but it's possible to take small steps.
We hope to improve the current working conditions by making the New Anime Making System an alternative option for animators who suffer under the traditional system.
Hope you guys will support us! Thank you ;)
$30.00 or more
A thanks note and an original image LIMITED only for gogetfunding campaign! Resolution W1280 L720pixcel via email.*The image below is a sample.
$50.00 or more
In addition to the [30dollars] perks, we will send you a copy of the 1st Starting Out Animators’ Grand Prix Catalogue.
$150.00 or more
In addition to the [50dollars] perks:
1) A keyframe collection of the “Anime-Kikaku Grand Prix” 30-second sample movie drawn by Masaaki Tanaka and Hitomi Kariya, former residents of our Animator Dormitory
2) A copy of the 1st Starting Out Animators’ Grand Prix Catalogue
3) A copy of the 2nd Starting Out Animators’ Grand Prix Catalogue
4) A copy of the 3rd Starting Out Animators’ Grand Prix Catalogue
$300.00 or more
In addition to [150 dollars] perks:
1) An invitation to a Facebook community with behind the scenes
content of our animators working on the 30 seconds animation sample
movie of the “Anime-Kikaku Grand Prix”, with clips of animators from
different sections working on their parts.
2) A copy of the 4th Starting Out Animators’ Grand Prix Catalogue
$500.00 or more
In addition to [300dollars] perks:
1) A DVD of layouts and key frames from the “Anime-Kikaku Grand Prix” 30-second sample movie, in 720x480 QuickTime File Format and TVPaint
2) A copy of the 5th Starting Out Animators’ Grand Prix Catalogue
$1000.00 or more
In addition to [500 dollar] perks:
1) A LIMITED EDITION key frame collection consisting of key frames
from the “Anime-Kikaku Grand Prix” 30-second sample movie, AND
additional background art and layouts! Key frames are drawn by former
residents of our Animator Dormitory, Masaaki Tanaka and Hitomi Kariya.
*The image below is a sample
2) A copy of the 6th Starting Out Animators’ Grand Prix Catalogue.
$3000.00 or more
In addition to [1000dollars] perks:
1) An invitation to our mini-studio in the Animator Dormitory— the
place where the 30 seconds sample animation movie was made! The studio
is attached to the Animator Dormitory in Asagaya. The producing staff
will talk about and analyze the behind the scenes of “Anime-Kikaku Grand
Prix” 30-second sample movie. This will be held at the Animator
Dormitory in Asagaya. You will be able to choose a preferred date
between January 2020 to December 2020 to come and visit us! To those of
you who live afar, there will be a live stream on (appear.in
2) A copy of the 7th Starting Out Animators’ Grand Prix Catalogue.
$5000.00 or more
In addition to [3000dollars] perks:
1) A complete collection containing all resources and pieces,
including the layout, key frames, background art, storyboard, character
design, and art design of the “Anime-Kikaku Grand Prix” 30-second sample
animation movie. Animation sketches are done by Masaaki Tanaka and
Hitomi Kariya, former residents of our Animator Dormitory Anime.
Background art are by Tasturo Kawano, the winner of the 2nd “Starting
Out Animators’ Grand Prix”. *The image below is a sample.
2) A copy of the 8th Starting Out Animators’ Grand Prix Catalogue.