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Old 2008-12-17, 23:26   Link #161
kyon.haruhi.suzumiya
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post

That's why I find new creators like Makoto Shinkai and Satoshi Kon exciting. They've broken new ground with their works and I hope to see talents like them emerging soon.
Well, I find Kyoani interesting for the same reason. Ypu know, I started on anime when I was 12. And that, I started on Evangelion. It was '96 then. Gainax dominated the market for like 3 years. Or something. Gundam now and then, what a yawn really.

I gave up at 17. My last one was FLCL, the next one I picked up, I never finished it. Then I picked anime again in '05. Starting with Canvas2, then Haruhi, then Shana, AIR and KANON all at once. Followed by Minami-ke, and now, CLANNAD.

If you noticed, it's moving towards something that's more proven. Like Key-Kyoani. Or something similar.
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Old 2008-12-17, 23:54   Link #162
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Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
Finally, like 0utf0xZer0, I don't have a long history following this industry either, certainly not in comparison to folks like kj1980 or relentlessflame. Can any of you recall what happened to the industry when Japan experienced its economic troubles about a decade ago? Obviously the entire industry was smaller then, but could you detect a reduction in experimental titles at the time?
Well, I can't say that I have a long history of following the industry myself -- while I was always casually interested in anime (without necessarily realizing what it was), I only really became a serious observer of the industry in the last 5 years or so. I haven't really done any serious study of the industry in the 90s, but I think it's logical to suggest that the economic conditions of the time probably helped shape the conditions that led to the big bubble that ensued. Some of the changes that really took hold at that time would be the move to widespread outsourcing, the conversion to digital animation, the "death" of the OVA (and rise of the one-cour TV series), and the growth of the U.S./International market. All these factors put together are what allowed them to reduce costs and expand their expectations, in spite of the tough economic conditions. But now that we're back at a point where the International market expectations have dampened, and they've basically cut costs as much as they can (and in many cases, too much), the market is sort of "back to reality".

So, like I said, I haven't done any serious study of the matter, but I wonder if other opportunities at the time sort of allowed them to dodge the economy bullet, and now there are less of said opportunities (or perhaps, it's more apt to say that it's more difficult to capitalize on the market opportunities that do exist at the moment, such as the online space). I agree with your observation that a tougher market generally means retreating to safer ground, and I agree that that's at least part of what's happening here. That being said, I also suspect that some of our own "been there, done that" impression has to do with our increased exposure to the variety of works out there after the recent boom, as opposed to the limited/filtered exposure in years past. In other words, it may very well be that anime was never quite as experimental/creative as people think, just that it's cyclical and it all depends on when you hopped on board. (As I look through the list of 90s shows, there were still obvious formulas that account for a vast majority of the shows out there, they were just different formulas than the ones we have now.)
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Old 2008-12-18, 00:56   Link #163
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Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
That being said, I also suspect that some of our own "been there, done that" impression has to do with our increased exposure to the variety of works out there after the recent boom, as opposed to the limited/filtered exposure in years past. In other words, it may very well be that anime was never quite as experimental/creative as people think, just that it's cyclical and it all depends on when you hopped on board. (As I look through the list of 90s shows, there were still obvious formulas that account for a vast majority of the shows out there, they were just different formulas than the ones we have now.)
That's a very good point. It may well be that many of us have been jaded by too much exposure to anime. But then again, that is how the creative process works. The moment you start feeling bored is the moment you know it's time to move on to something new. It's interesting to note that it's not just fans who are beginning to tire of the same old gimmicks, but also big-name creators like Hideaki Anno as well. He cited a need for the industry to break out of its current mould, just as Gainax did with Neon Genesis Evangelion a decade ago. (Ironically, he then went on to remake NGE.)

Some Japanese artists have also begun to revolt against the current moe fad by establishing the Superflat movement, for example. Shows like Kaiba are part of this emerging trend, and I hope to see more of them appear in coming years.

You're also right that fads move in circles, and in a way, there's nothing really new in anime. It could be that we've only just become aware of it, due to our increasing knowledge of the medium. That said, I don't think I'm far wrong to say that the number of anime series targeted specifically at older audiences have gone up from the mid-90s onwards. Anime like Ninja Scroll and Grave of the Fireflies were definitely not the norm in the 1980s, for example.

So, yes, the anime could have been moving in circles. But at the same time, I also see a linear trend of increasingly "mature" anime. That would be a sensible trend, because even the most hardcore otaku would grow old.
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Old 2008-12-18, 00:59   Link #164
kyon.haruhi.suzumiya
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But at the same time, I also see a linear trend of increasingly "mature" anime. That would be a sensible trend, because even the most hardcore otaku would grow old.
Like CLANNAD After Story. I guess that's the reason for the strength of the Key-Kyoani partnership, huh?
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Old 2008-12-18, 03:10   Link #165
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
You're also right that fads move in circles, and in a way, there's nothing really new in anime. It could be that we've only just become aware of it, due to our increasing knowledge of the medium. That said, I don't think I'm far wrong to say that the number of anime series targeted specifically at older audiences have gone up from the mid-90s onwards. Anime like Ninja Scroll and Grave of the Fireflies were definitely not the norm in the 1980s, for example.

So, yes, the anime could have been moving in circles. But at the same time, I also see a linear trend of increasingly "mature" anime. That would be a sensible trend, because even the most hardcore otaku would grow old.
I think the evidence would definitely support this point too. I suspect (but don't know for sure) that there are a few things going on there, including but not limited to...
  1. As you point out, a realization that there's still a lingering fanbase as people get older (along with the sort of "legitimizing" of otaku, at least as a market category), which affected the prime-time and mainstream material, along with the specifically-targeted stuff.

  2. The OVA format (that would have been largely supported by the young adult market, unless it's parents buying for kids) getting transformed into late-night TV series (which, ultimately, are paid for almost entirely by DVD/merchandise sales, the same way OVAs are).

  3. Attempts to appeal to the "Western" teen/young adult male demographic, which is stereotypically more interested in shows that look cool/"mature" (see also Western video games, blockbuster movies, etc.), and less interested in the Japanese notion of "cute" (excepting some cross-over when it comes to "sexy"). (Gonzo in particular was famous for producing shows geared to the Western market, with some degree of success until the bottom fell out of the market over here...)

  4. As you pointed out as well, the changing interests of the directors, producers, and all involved. As people stick around and get more credibility, they can start taking on the projects they want.
Those are at least a few of the possible contributing factors I can think of, although those are just "hunches". That being said, I wonder if a related counter-trend these days is that the younger demographics are starting to have access to these "more mature" shows at a younger age. At least, that seems to be the case in the English-speaking markets.

Anyway, interesting stuff.
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Old 2008-12-18, 03:54   Link #166
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With current economic climate, I think anime will go down too, from 50 series a year to like what; 15?
I can't imagine they can continue at bloated rate when there is economic depression going on.

Seriously.
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Old 2008-12-18, 10:45   Link #167
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Originally Posted by stormy001_M1A2 View Post
With current economic climate, I think anime will go down too, from 50 series a year to like what; 15?
I can't imagine they can continue at bloated rate when there is economic depression going on.
Warning: Shameless plug.

I attended an industry seminar at the inaugural Anime Festival Asia in Singapore last month (November 2008), and was mildly surprised to hear what the representative director for PanAsia Partners, Mr Susumu Tsubaki, had to say.

I get the impression that the anime industry has become keenly aware of the growth potential offered by international markets; particularly Asia, which Mr Tsubaki claimed would surpass the United States by 2030, at US$43.1 million (Asia) to US$23.4 million (USA). As a result, Japan is keen to expand operational and production links with emerging animation studios in Asia, particularly those that are producing original intellectual property of their own. Mr Tsubaki cited China (Blue Cat) and the United Arab Emirates (Freej) as examples.

More interestingly, he also spoke of creating a Japan-Asia Contents Corridor to facilitate the exchange of skills and IP throughout the continent.

In a nutshell, this basically means that Japan's anime industry has reluctantly acknowledged the need to hook onto world markets for future growth, especially in the present economic climate. But, it doesn't just want to grow by outsourcing operations to cheaper countries, which it has already been doing in South Korea for some time now; it also wants to become a distribution hub for animation content produced in Asia. Mr Tsubaki did not say it, but I believe this implies a desire to attract and develop promising animation talent, if not in Japan, then at least in the rest of Asia, hence the proposed "contents corridor".

Now, while I personally feel that this proposal is largely wishful thinking, I take it as a strong signal that Japan's anime industry is hurting very badly from competition in new media. Mr Tsubaki also said Asia will be a "pro-intellectual property rights market" by 2030, but did not explain how that would be achieved.

Frustratingly, no one at the seminar seemed willing to discuss the elephant in the room — rampant IP-theft throughout Asia, and the industry's heavy-handed attempts to tackle it. In my opinion, piracy is proving to be a major thorn in the industry's side, regardless of global economic conditions. (In fact, the downturn is likely to spur even greater incidences of IP-theft, not just of DVDs, but also of anime-related merchandise.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by C.A. View Post
After reading this thread I'm thinking whether I really should apply for an animation course. If I do take up animation, am I stuck with low pay all the way?
Very sad to say, you couldn't ask for a worse time to break into the industry than now. You're very likely to end up as a lowly grunt (assuming you get hired in the first place) working at below minimum wages for a very long time.

Particularly for Singaporeans: Mr Gregory Ho, vice-president and general manager for Animax Asia, had to keep telling many eager young students from local technical colleges to look beyond Singapore's shores for work. Quite frankly, Singapore is far too expensive a place for key animation work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by C.A.
Or is there something else I can do with higher wages, concept artist etc.?
Now, if you're willing to bend over to "sell backside", there is actually quite a number of art-related jobs in Singapore outside of animation. There are employment opportunities in the publishing industry, for example. And, if you're raring for more creative challenges, you can also try looking for work in public relations or advertising.

Last edited by TinyRedLeaf; 2008-12-18 at 10:58.
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Old 2008-12-18, 10:56   Link #168
kyon.haruhi.suzumiya
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Warning: Shameless plug.



Now, if you're willing to bend over to "sell backside", there is actually quite a number of art-related jobs in Singapore outside of animation. There are employment opportunities in the publishing industry, for example. And, if you're raring for more creative challenges, you can also try the public relations or advertising industries.
^^ Oh I thought he wanted to GO TO JAPAN and work. In Singapore? No way. It's not worth it. It's better to try something safer. Really. Singapore's environment isn't friendly to creative talent for now, and most likely the next decade or so. And in bad markets, people in creative industry will lose more.
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Old 2008-12-18, 20:59   Link #169
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Actually I don't even know now, where to look for an animation job or even just a job I can draw lol

This thread adds on to what I believe, that Japan is incredibly hard to get into, and the pay is so low I can hardly support myself if I rent a room.

And Singapore is obviously no place for animation. I'm not that interested in 3D, definitely not high budget western 3D like Pixar. But Imaginary Friends Studios sounded really nice at the industry seminar at the AFA.

Hows the animators in the Japanese gaming industry? Are they just as bad? That is some thing else I have interest in since I'm as much a gamer as an anime lover.
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Old 2008-12-18, 22:05   Link #170
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Actually, if you're really interested, I strongly suggest knocking on doors. That is, send in your resumes cold. The first thing you should do is to start compiling your portfolio. I used to be a magazine editor, and I can tell you that when hiring artists, I don't usually bother looking at their resumes. I'm more interested in their portfolios.

I once interviewed Alvin Yap of NexGen Studios, a home-grown game developer (Elven Legends), and discovered that he tended to use freelance designers from all over the world. That's the power of the Internet for you — you don't actually have to live in the Japan to work for a Japanese developer. That way, you have a stronger selling point, because Singapore rates would presumably be lower than Japanese ones. Apparently, there are web portals out there, sort of like DeviantArt, that specialise in hosting jobs (ranging from full-time, part-time to freelance) in both publishing and graphics design industries. That may be a good place to start. No promises, though.

Do you work with Flash animation if not 3-D? Because if you do, there are local game developers who may just want to hire you. From what I understand, game developers in Singapore find it very hard to find people.

In short, while opportunities here are scarce, you'd at least be better off here than trying your luck in a totally foreign country, despite what Mr Gregory Ho suggests. At the very least, you'd get your feet wet, and build some valuable experience. That way, you'd be in a stronger position to pitch your skills internationally.
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Old 2009-01-07, 23:22   Link #171
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As always, this thread does succeed to illuminate the harsh realities of the business and hit the proverbial nail on the head. Big props to dafool for giving light to the inner workings of the local Philippine animation industry.

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news...make-ends-meet

After this article came out, I wasn't surprised at all that these people have to juggle even five jobs a day just to pay most of the bills. Good thing j1m0ne made a more illuminating commentary on that report.

Now, I had some friends in the Philippine VA industry who started out either in the theater, in radio, or came by walk-in auditions. Most of them do admit that they have their hands full, working six hours per episode and several shows per day, and they practically dub almost everything -- anime, standard US cartoons, soap operas for TV networks -- and sometimes do some outsourcing work for minor games, advertising agencies and telecom industries. Of course the money isn't easy, and some of them do freelance, others are attached to a specified agency or television network. There at least some more I know of who sometimes join a theater troupe, appear in a magazine (like some AV :lol: ), or be an extra in a live-action feature, or even star in a TV ad. :lol:

But still they run into problems: tight deadlines, errors in the script, little or no details on how the story would flow, translation problems, and occasionally an errant voice actor does not work well with his/her fellows in the sound booth. It really pisses them off sometimes that the TV network cancels the show they worked on very hard.

I believe that the VAs here have different and perhaps better arrangements in their contracts with the broadcasters, and recently they've just set up a non-profit guild for themselves. Local fans are also beginning to give recognition to these voice actors, and I'll not be surprised if a fan club springs in the midst.

Strangely, given the disparity in economic conditions (lower wages are common here in the Philippines, but costs of living in Japan are higher, of course), and despite that the hardcore pro-sub "purists" insult them on the net on the daily basis, Filipino VAs seem to be better off and living simpler lifestyles than their Japanese counterparts, judging from the pictures they have on their Friendster accounts.
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Old 2009-05-26, 00:33   Link #172
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Not to bring back an old topic, but once again the reality of industry wages:

Labor Group: Animators in Their 20s Earn US$11,600 a Year (Updated)
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Old 2009-05-26, 00:42   Link #173
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Less than USD 1,000 a month? No wonder we get QUALITY animation.
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Old 2009-05-26, 01:11   Link #174
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That's rather sad.

And they probably put a lot more than 40 hours a week, so the hourly breakdown for that would be dismal. It's a wonder we get the regular supply of enjoyable anime that we do. They gotta' be doing it for love, because the money sure as hell can't be a motivator.
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Old 2009-05-26, 01:26   Link #175
TinyRedLeaf
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Not to bring back an old topic, but once again the reality of industry wages:

Labor Group: Animators in Their 20s Earn US$11,600 a Year (Updated)
Not to open old wounds, but it's a point that needs to be reiterated: People will continue to look for "free" anime, even when its producers are already working for scraps.
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Old 2009-05-26, 03:31   Link #176
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I wonder if they make so little because anime in general doesn't make enough to pay well or the profit stays in another chain of the link?
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Old 2009-05-26, 03:34   Link #177
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The collectivism is very stong here. Making people pay their dues is not really the most efficient way to find out and extract ideas and talent from them.
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Old 2009-05-26, 08:44   Link #178
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Originally Posted by sa547 View Post

But still they run into problems: tight deadlines, errors in the script, little or no details on how the story would flow, translation problems, and occasionally an errant voice actor does not work well with his/her fellows in the sound booth. It really pisses them off sometimes that the TV network cancels the show they worked on very hard.



hehe yes, I remember the "Marimite Incident". Poor dubbers already completed the series before it was cut 4 episodes short.
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Old 2009-05-26, 10:30   Link #179
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I wonder if they make so little because anime in general doesn't make enough to pay well or the profit stays in another chain of the link?
The profit is stopping at the production committees. Most of the anime made the studios are just hired contractors. With 200 plus animation studios operating in Japan these contracts are are heavily fought over and price being a major selling point. Do to the heavy competition the studios are basically entering into slave labor contracts, where they are paid a flat fee and nothing else. If the show is a hit they don't see any more money then if it flops.
I would be interested in seeing what the pay difference is (if there is any) between the studios that self produce shows and those that are contract only.
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Old 2009-05-28, 08:35   Link #180
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That's rather sad.

And they probably put a lot more than 40 hours a week, so the hourly breakdown for that would be dismal. It's a wonder we get the regular supply of enjoyable anime that we do. They gotta' be doing it for love, because the money sure as hell can't be a motivator.
Except in nearly every case (all that I know of, at least), it's not even on an hourly basis... It's per drawing (or shot/scene the higher you go). Unless you're an employee of the company, which is really rare, you will get paid at piece rates.

So you have to have to work hard (because the more you do, the more you get paid), and long (because drawing is non-trivial, and the unit price is crap)

AFAIK most people who work on a project will get paid once and that's it - and how would you transmit royalties to them anyway, they're from all over the place...
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