Raising Wages in the Anime Industry – A Collaboration with Aya Hirano

Fundraising campaign by Jun Sugawara
  • US$40,093
    raised of $100,000.00 goal
40% Funded
889 Donors
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This is Sugawara from Animator Supporters.

Animator Supporters is a non-profit organization that seeks to resolve issues for underpaid animators through the power of the anime fandom.

Thank you for your support towards last year’s project “The New Anime Making System Project Phase 1!

Thanks to your generous support, we successfully completed our first music video!

For our last project, we were able to secure adequate funding by campaigning not only in Japan but overseas as well.

Because of that, we were able to pay our animators our highest goal of 180 dollars per keyframe, 2 to 4 times more than the industry standard.

This time, we’re hoping to make a second animated music video, now with Aya Hirano as our vocalist.

Going forward, we plan to produce these kinds of short-form animations regularly, and in the near future, pay our animators a fixed salary rather than by piece rate.

※ We would like to produce these animations at a rate of 1 animation per year consistently.

Our goal is to accumulate staff and industry know-how over the next few years while we create our own anime studio which caters to the needs of those who create anime.

11 years have passed since the founding of this non-profit in 2010.

Upon our founding, we supplied new, underpaid animators with $5400 in yearly housing support. We also opened the New Animator Dormitory in 2014 where we supply housing also to new, underpaid animators.

Animator Dormitory Channel

↑ For details about the New Animator Dormitory, please consider watching our videos on the Animator Dormitory YouTube Channel.

Currently, due to high turnover rates caused by low wages, the anime industry is suffering a mass labor and training shortage. As a result, art quality degradations and show cancelations are becoming increasingly more common.

Chinese animation wages have even surpassed those of Japan, prompting concerns about an exodus of Japanese talent overseas.

These are dire times for anime.

The fundamental cause of animators’ low wages is low production budgets, so we need to fix these quickly.

However, progress toward fixing the anime industry’s problems has been slow.

(The price of in-between and key animation has barely changed in 10 years.)

We believe that the animation industry has a long way to go before its issues can be solved internally, so we set out to make our own production system. One that allows animators to work with sufficient funding, entirely separate from the current system.

As a simple, effective method to increase production budgets, since last year, we’ve been producing original anime through the power of worldwide funding!

This music video is the second step toward our main goal.

While there may be other efficient ways to increase anime production budgets (such as establishing an industry union) many of them aren\'t realistic in a Japanese context.

We’ve found this approach of worldwide funding to be the path of least resistance.

※ One reason for this is because we\'ve been going to overseas anime events annually since 2014 which has garnered us a decent level of support overseas, allowing us to seek funding internationally.

Our goal for this music video is to raise 50 thousand dollars from overseas.

By then combining that with an additional 50 thousand dollars from Japan, we’ll have a total budget of 100 thousand dollars.

100 thousand dollars is a relatively respectable budget for a 2-minute music video. This amount would allow us to properly compensate our creators.

(Of course, we\'d like to pay our staff more if possible.)

8 domestic and overseas artists led by RWBY composer Mason Lieberman and voice actress Aya Hirano have graciously collaborated with us to create the music for this music video.

Japanese animators, including past Animator Dormitory residents and housing support recipients, will lend us their assistance in animating a music video based on their composition.

We want to make a system where animators can do their job with proper funding!

Japanese animators have suffered from low wages, long work hours, and exploitative outsourcing contracts for decades.

Because of this, the entire industry faces impoverishment, and in recent years, increases in inconsistent, low-quality animation, cancelations, and art degradations have become a grave issue.

We are extremely concerned for the future of the world-renowned Japanese animation industry in its current state.

However, it’s incredibly difficult for anime creators to meaningfully change these circumstances on their own. (They risk losing their jobs if they try.)

If the industry refuses to change, why not make a new one? A new anime industry built by the fans, that’s the idea behind this whole project.

We aim to create a new anime production system. One that allows animators to tackle their work with sufficient funding, completely separate from the limitations of the current industry.

■ The average monthly salary for an animator in their 20s is about $810.

The Japanese anime industry, which is responsible for many beloved works, is valued at over 18 billion dollars.

However, the animators responsible for this success suffer from low wages, long work hours, and predatory subcontracting agreements that strip them of all employee benefits, all of which happen above-board in the industry. To call it cruel would be an understatement.

According to a 2015 survey published by the Japan Animation Creators Association, the average annual salary for an animator in their 20s is about 10,000 dollars.

※ That’s roughly 800 dollars per month.

There are even cases of first-year animators earning less than 270 dollars a month.

Animators’ low incomes stem from a myriad of complex factors.

The largest factor is the low price of in-between animation in Japan.

Most animators are hired under piece-work contracts. This means that they receive a fixed amount of money for each frame they draw. It takes time for them to get fast enough to produce the number of frames necessary to earn even a meager living.

For a TV anime, one frame of in-between animation goes for about 1 dollar and 80 cents.

If an animator draws 300 frames a month, they’ll earn 300 x 1.80, or $540 per month. That’s a big if though. Drawing 300 frames a month is a daunting task, especially for new animators…

■The Drop in Art Quality

Naturally, no one can live on this salary, so the turnover rate for new animators is extremely high. 90% of animators leave the industry within 3 years of entering.

Even more experienced key animators aren’t paid enough. It’s extremely common for animators who initially braved the industry in their 20s to quit in their 30s as they start to think about marriage or new jobs.

Since so many people quit, there’s a consistent shortage of both key and in-between animators.

This shortage of manpower has led to people without sufficient skills (such as hobbyists found on Twitter who don’t possess the necessary qualifications to do animation work yet) being made to take up work. As a result, art quality is dropping at an alarming rate.

※ All of this has culminated in an increase of failed productions and canceled shows.

Animators are just one cog in a larger machine, making it infeasible to meaningfully change things independently. (Again, they risk losing their jobs if they try.)

On the other hand, we anime fans who exist outside of the industry have immense power.

We hope to craft a system in which anime creators can tackle their work with proper funding, one entirely separate from the limitations of current production standards.

11 years have passed since the founding of this non-profit in 2010.

Upon our founding, we supplied new, underpaid animators with $5400 in yearly housing support.

Then, in 2014, we opened The Animator Dormitory where we provide direct housing to underpaid animators.

Now, the Animator Dormitory is finally at this point where it’s running securely.

Animators with less than 3 years of work experience tend to lead particularly difficult lives. Seeing this, we opted to establish these “safety nets” for new animators. We believe these programs have made a tangible difference in their lives.

Many of our housing aid recipients have gone on to work as directors and chief animators.

We see this as proof that our efforts have been able to nurture the talent of these young animators.

Some of our housing support recipients include:

■ Shingo Tamagawa:

PUPARIA, Director

Gundam Reconguista in G, Animation Director

Gundam: Hathaway’s Flash, Animation Director

■ Tatsuro Kawano:

BURN THE WITCH (Movie, 2020), Director

BORUTO -NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS- (TV, 2017), Opening Animation Director

■ Moeka Kuga:

DARLING in the FRANXX (TX/2018), Character Animation Director

■ Masaaki Tanaka: First Term Resident

Attack on Titan Season 3, Animation Director

■ Hitomi Kariya: Fourth Term Resident

NHK Morning Drama, Natsuzora, Opening Title Director,

Key Animator, and Character Designer

■ Madoka Ogawa: Fourth Term Resident

Inazuma Eleven: Mark of Orion, Animation Director

Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!, Episode Director

And more.

However, The Animator Dormitory is just a bandaid over a deep wound.

It helps animators who are struggling now, but we need to make more substantial improvements to animators’ wages before this wound can fully heal.

As we mentioned earlier, the reasons for animators’ financial grievances are complex and varied, but the largest one is low production budgets.

To raise animators’ wages, we need to do something about these budgets first.

So what’s the plan, then? Essentially, we’re trying to “make the pie bigger” so to speak.

We’ve come to realize after attending anime conventions overseas yearly since 2014 that anime is primarily made to sell in Japan. There is little to no regard for overseas fans. Currently, even in the U.S., until sites like Crunchyroll and Netflix became standard, there was pretty much no way to watch anime legally, and they only came around recently, too.

Crunchyroll even originated as a pirate site and there are still many countries where you can’t watch anime legally, like India.

Knowing this, we believe that if we can conduct our business such that overseas fans are properly acknowledged while retaining the unique characteristics of Japanese animation, then we should be able to make the pie 2x, 3x, or who knows, maybe even 10x larger than if we focused solely on Japan. After all, Japan may have 120 million people, but there are 7.8 billion people worldwide.

Over the next few years, we’ll be trying to produce a series of short-form music videos, gathering funds not only from Japan but from around the world. In doing so, we’ll create an environment where anime can be made properly with sufficient time and money.

With this in mind, we’ve been lucky enough to receive the collaboration of 8 domestic and overseas artists led by RWBY composer Mason Lieberman and voice actress Aya Hirano.

Japanese animators including past Animator Dormitory residents and housing support recipients will lend us their assistance in animating a music video based on their composition.

We aim to create a new anime production system. One that allows animators to tackle their work with sufficient funding, completely separate from the limitations of the current industry.

We humbly ask for your support in this endeavor!

Any money raised will go towards the production of the music video.

※ This is the minimum amount necessary to create this music video.

In addition to the production budget above, we also plan to create a video documentary of our production process with creator commentary. We will release part of this documentary publicly on YouTube and part of it as a backer reward.

※The image above is a sample. The actual product may differ.

You can choose between a paper book (doujinshi) or digital data (jpeg) for this item.

※The image above is a sample. The actual product may differ.

You can choose between a paper book (doujinshi) or digital data (jpeg) for this item.

※The image above is a sample. The actual product may differ.

※The image above is a sample. The actual product may differ.

※The image above is a sample. The actual product may differ.

※The image above is a sample. The actual product may differ.

※The image above is a sample. The actual product may differ.

※The image above is a sample. The actual product may differ.

≪ Music Team ≫

Director, Composer, Conductor: Mason Lieberman

Composer for RWBY, Beyblade Burst God, Eden, Tower of God, PUBG Mobile, Apex Legends Mobile, Teamfight Tactics: Battle for the Golden Spatula, and many more.

Theme Composer for official video game collaborations with Arcane, Spider-Man, Mobile Suit Gundam, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ultraman, and many more.

Collaborator with Yoko Kanno & The Seatbelts on the official Cowboy Bebop Real Folk Blues charity performance for COVID-19 relief.

Recording Artist on The Rising of the Shield Hero, Made in Abyss, Star Wars: Visions, Pokémon: The Animated Series, League of Legends, and many more.

Vocalist: Aya Hirano

Veteran voice actress famous for her roles as Haruhi in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Lucy Heartfillia from FAIRY TAIL, and more.

Mix, Master, Lead Guitar: Masahiro Aoki

Composer for Street Fighter 5, Astral Chain, No Straight Roads, and many more.

Mix engineer of the official Cowboy Bebop Real Folk Blues charity performance.

Piano: Takahiro Obata

Composer of The Promised Neverland, Ninjala, Mirror Twins, and more.

Piano player for My Hero Academia, One Piece, and more.

Organ: Ty Bailie

Keyboardist for Katy Perry.

Performances and recordings with Gladys Knight, Steven Cropper, Peter Frampton, Dave Matthews, Ellie Goulding, Adam Lambert, and many more.

Rhythm Guitar: David Gibson McLean

Composer on PUBG Mobile and This is the President.

Guitarist and drummer for Tournament Arc.

Session musician for PUBG Mobile, Teamfight Tactics, Renaine.

Bass Guitar: Charles Berthoud

Bass Player Magazine’s Inaugural Rising Star award winner.

Youtuber: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAi_uNeDWRXj8C8yw....

Venues toured include the Capital Center for the Arts, the Palace Theater, and the Agganis Arena in Boston, MA.

Drums: Blaize Collard

Assistant Professor of Drums at Berklee College of Music.

Drummer for Final Fantasy XV.

String Arrangement: Jeff Ball

Violinist and composer for Call of Duty, PUBG Mobile, Devil May Cry 5, Mass Effect 3, League of Legends, and more.

Lyrics: Shihori

Singer-songwriter born in Nagoya, Japan, and living in LA, U.S.A. In 2007, she made her major-label debut under the name Sena, and her 3rd single ranked 5th on the Oricon Daily Chart. Since 2009, she has written more than 100 songs for popular artists such as Nana Mizuki and Momoiro Clover Z. She has released many hit songs including \"Hatsukoi Cider\" by Buono! In 2018, she moved to the U.S. on her own to start her music career from scratch. In 2020, she wrote and sang the \"BATTLE QUEENS 2020\" theme song for global gaming sensation \"League of Legends\" cementing their place in the United States.

Producer: Jun Sugawara

Founded the NPO Animator Supporters in 2011 and has been working to improve the lives of anime creators ever since.

Animator Supporters is mainly known for providing low-cost housing to new animators through the Animator Dormitory. Located in Tokyo, animators can stay at the Animator Dormitory for less than 270 dollars a month including rent, utilities, and high-speed internet.

※To date, over 50 new animators have resided at the Animator Dormitory, some of who have gone on to become directors and animation directors.

It\'s time to tackle low wages and bring more substantial changes to the anime industry!

We hope we can earn your support!



Rewards

Thank You!

A Thank You Email including a limited edition illustration from the New Anime Making System Project 2022

246 Backers
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246 Backers
Keyframe Collection

The previous tier\'s rewards plus a Keyframe Collection - Standard Edition (30 Pages) in physical or digital (JPEG).

29 Backers
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29 Backers
We Love Animation

The previous tier\'s rewards plus a t-shirt of a character from the music video (type A) and a storyboard collection.

13 Backers
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13 Backers
Anime Forever

The previous tier\'s rewards plus your name in the credits of the music video (small).

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The Animator Supporter

The previous tier's rewards plus a deluxe edition (100 pages) of the Keyframe Collection, a t-shirt (type B), a background art collection (30 pages), and your name in the credits (medium).

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Anime Be Eternal

The previous tier's rewards plus an exclusive illustration drawn on Japanese Shikishi paper from our in-house illustrator KAPPA-KUN, as well as your name in the credits (large).

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The Collector

The previous tier's rewards, another exclusive illustration done on Japanese Shikishi paper done by our animation staff, and a portrait of you in the credits also drawn by animation staff.

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The Otaku King

The previous tier's rewards and a short animation of your choice drawn into the credits of the music video by our animation staff.

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Organizer

Donors

  • Karsten Singh
  • Donated on Dec 03, 2022
$300.00
  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Dec 01, 2022
Amount Hidden
  • James Robbins
  • Donated on Dec 01, 2022
$20.00

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Donors & Comments

889 donors
  • Karsten Singh
  • Donated on Dec 03, 2022
$300.00
  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Dec 01, 2022
Amount Hidden
  • James Robbins
  • Donated on Dec 01, 2022
$20.00
  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Dec 01, 2022
$30.00
  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Dec 01, 2022
$50.00
  • Charles Bailey
  • Donated on Nov 30, 2022
$162.00
  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Nov 30, 2022
$30.00
  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Nov 30, 2022
$12.00
  • Nathan Treichel
  • Donated on Nov 30, 2022
  • Good luck

$5.00
  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Nov 30, 2022
$300.00
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US$40,093
raised of $100,000.00 goal
40% Funded
889 Donors

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