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Old 2021-03-02, 09:19   Link #321
SeijiSensei
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One problem, that the Times article mentions, is the nature of the production committee system. Anime studios are largely "hired guns," commissioned by the owner of a property like a manga or novel. My understanding is that the studios get paid a fixed amount; their contracts do not include a share of the profits. This system limits the risk for the studios, but also limits their payoffs if a show becomes a hit. Given the number of studios that might be competing for the right to animate a property, it's easy for bidding wars to occur with some studios low-balling to get the contract. That process tends to depress wages for those working in the studios.
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Old 2021-03-02, 09:58   Link #322
dragon1412
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I think we can all agree that at this point, the production committee models scale towards the investor too much compare to the studio. Especially with the current era of economic change. It turn a round back to the point that JP working culture is really what enabling all this thing to happen. Sigh......
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Old 2021-03-02, 10:40   Link #323
0cean
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I fundamentally disagree that this is a problem.

People are willing to sign contracts to work under these conditions. We shouldn't patronize them for their decisions.
Wikipedia editors slave away without even getting any kind of compensation. Money isn't everything for everyone.

Western culture is rather weird in that people will get all up in arms to defend strangers from perceived sleights, that the strangers in question may not even recognize as such. Of course, up in arms usually means bullying someone else into solving this perceived problem. Like the government, some business or rich people. Rarely does anyone ever put money out of their own pocket forward to fix the perceived sleight. Already mentioned was "The Animator Dormitory Project". You can give them money, if you care to. Make it a recurring payment, if you wish. Be the change you want to see in the world. Or just keep circlejerking, I guess.

The system in Japan works to the effect that there exists an anime industry in Japan. Most countries don't have a comparable industry. And I don't think it would be unfair to claim that a major reason for this is how passionate people are about anime. On both sides. Creators work for little compensation and fans pay a premium for the finished product. How many series for about $300 a pop did you import from Japan last year?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
I mean, if we want to extend the social-justice argument to one of its logical conclusions, it's valid to ask if we the viewers are prepared to stop consuming anime and its related products and services, lest we also enable the continued abuse of animators and artists.
All that would accomplish is the demise of the anime industry. More money would need to be poured into the industry, so that studios could risk creating their own anime instead of accepting safe jobs to make them for other people that shoulder the financial risk. Then we may get more projects like Cencoroll.
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Old 2021-03-03, 01:57   Link #324
relentlessflame
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0cean View Post
Western culture is rather weird in that people will get all up in arms to defend strangers from perceived sleights, that the strangers in question may not even recognize as such.
In this case, people within the industry in Japan have in fact been calling attention to the situation, all the more in recent years, so you can't say that they don't recognize the problem. How to solve the problem is complicated, obviously. Your view that because they participate in the industry they therefore accept the status quo as having no problem is incomplete and inaccurate.


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Originally Posted by 0cean View Post
Wikipedia editors slave away without even getting any kind of compensation. Money isn't everything for everyone.
This is supremely silly. People who work in the anime industry aren't volunteers helping a nonprofit foundation improve the quality of public information in their spare time.


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Originally Posted by 0cean View Post
The system in Japan works to the effect that there exists an anime industry in Japan.
This is so ridiculously reductionist. Things can be "functioning" but still have admitted failures and opportunities for improvement. No system is so perfect that it is beyond being improved, nor so fragile that any possible attempt to make things better will necessarily result in its inevitable collapse. Why would anyone ever try to improve anything if that was their view of the world ("if I touch it, it'll just break, so I'd better leave everything the way it is.") Helping draw attention to the issues that people within the industry itself have been bringing awareness to is not some sort of patronizing colonialism/imperialism.


Honestly, this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by 0cean View Post
I fundamentally disagree that this is a problem.
...really has an awful lot to do with this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by 0cean View Post
I don't really care one way or another for the people working in the trenches.
We can disagree all we want about the way to solve the problem using various economic theories and approaches, but this is a bridge that cannot be mended in this discussion. If you literally do not care for those who are adversely impacted by the current situation, there is absolutely nothing worth discussing with you.

Since you don't care, do not participate in this thread again. You are not welcome.
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Old 2021-03-03, 05:34   Link #325
0cean
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I care for the anime industry. This thread is about the anime industry.

I'm just arguing a different point and to convince me that this is indeed a problem, one would have to show how it negatively impacts the anime industry's ability to produce anime. Because that's the reason I care in the first place.

Additionally, it matters little what I think, since what I'm thinking isn't preventing you from proposing and executing a solution to what you perceive to be a problem. Though, my line of thinking likely isn't that uncommon among the people directly responsible for the current state of affairs, so if someone could manage to convince me from their point of view, that could be considered as a first step towards a solution. I therefore disagree that there's nothing worth discussing with me.

Hiding away in an echo chamber won't solve anything.
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Old 2021-03-03, 05:35   Link #326
TinyRedLeaf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
We can disagree all we want about the way to solve the problem using various economic theories and approaches, but this is a bridge that cannot be mended in this discussion. If you literally do not care for those who are adversely impacted by the current situation, there is absolutely nothing worth discussing with you.

Since you don't care, do not participate in this thread again. You are not welcome.
Let's avoid such drastic action. I think it's okay to disagree vehemently with each other's positions. That's part of discourse, and I don't feel that Ocean had been disrespectful or inflammatory in his views, even though I am philosophically and ethically opposed to his arguments.

For what it's worth, his point of view did prompt me to look further into the conditions that attract amateur artists and animators into the anime industry. There are in fact independent journal articles on the topic, undertaken by Western researchers. That was a surprise, and it gave me some sobering insight into the sad situation.

Ocean isn't wrong in the sense that young Japanese are willingly entering the industry, despite knowing the slave-like conditions. That's why I would grudgingly agree that it's a problem of their own making.

To some extent, this is another version of the "starving artist" dilemma. I'm told, for example, that artists in America also weren't paid all that well during the heydays of superhero comics. So that's another angle I would probably study further when I have the time. Is it still a problem? How did it get solved or mitigated? Or has the market moved on, and it's all about movies now, not the comic books? Lots to find out.

Long story short, let's not indulge in cancelling opposing views too harshly.
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Old 2021-03-03, 06:32   Link #327
dragon1412
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Ocean isn't wrong in the sense that young Japanese are willingly entering the industry, despite knowing the slave-like conditions. That's why I would grudgingly agree that it's a problem of their own making.
No, the number of animator have been decreasing over the years, and it is rapidly becoming the problem

There are still young people enter it sure, but they are much more realistic about it, basically, if I can't make it big in X number of years, I'm leaving or if I start a family, I'm leaving the industry, but the animators numbers entering every years is definitely declining rather than there is enough fodder around for big committee throwing as they please. It still doesn't as big of a problem now because the numbers is still drafted from previous gen when people still haven't realize the reality of being an animators, and their skillset is limited so they can only do such works if they can't find a job in the game industry or adjacent industries where they can't transfer their skillset. I do agree that part of the problem is Japanese unhealthy work ethic and attidude that lead to this situation in the first place.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
To some extent, this is another version of the "starving artist" dilemma. I'm told, for example, that artists in America also weren't paid all that well during the heydays of superhero comics. So that's another angle I would probably study further when I have the time. Is it still a problem? How did it get solved or mitigated? Or has the market moved on, and it's all about movies now, not the comic books? Lots to find out.

Long story short, let's not indulge in cancelling opposing views too harshly.
0cean view is that, he don't care about the situation of the industry as long as new anime is made. He has good point that people still getting in despite knowing the conditions. For now, that is, I mean, like I said above, right now the industry still are able to drawn a large numbers of animator from older generations who unable to transfer their specific skillset into another jobs, but sign of issues already showing, the increasing numbers of adaptions instead of original because of risk avoidance strategy, The increasing use of CGI even if it decrease quality due to lack of animators and lower budget. The younger animator generations is a lot more realistic towards the industry, and that's why the numbers of them was on decline. People say that animators knowing the actual conditions of the industry is a very recent thing, around 10 years ago many animators still getting into the industry with rose tinted glasses. It is only 5 or 6 years recently this would make the news, and people would be more realistic toward it. In fact, the productions committee and anime industry money flow is largely unknown to most people up until around 8-9 years ago where it only start to garner attentions of other. This was also the period where young mangaka in a weekly magazine punishing schedules is known if I remember correctly.

Right now anime industry is still possessing many veterans with skills, but if the situations going on, as in new bloods quit when starting family or can't make it big, it is hard to say for the numbers as a whole, but the veteran artist and animators is definitely going to to decrease, which drastically lower the quality of anime. It is not something that show problem immedietly but the hollows of veteran will starting became a serious pain when the previous gen start to get into retirement while the maturing generations that supposed to replace them trickled down to another industry to find better prospect/

Last edited by dragon1412; 2021-03-03 at 06:45.
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Old 2021-03-03, 10:37   Link #328
TinyRedLeaf
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The number of young Japanese entrants to the industry may be falling, but the number of new anime productions is increasing at the same time.

Let that sink in for a while. What does it mean? It means that the production committee system is, despite all its egregious faults, working. It's working extremely well for the IP holders, in fact. And if the system is profitable for the rights holders, then there is very little incentive for them to change the system.

As for the declining number of local talent — it's not strictly an issue. The anime industry has been steadily outsourcing the work to artists and animators in other countries for a number of years now. Originally, it was to studios in South Korea, but the pool has long since expanded to also include talent in China, the Philippines, and even Vietnam.

Particularly for workers in the Philippines and Vietnam, the low rate isn't as big of an issue, because the cost of living is so much lower there.

So, what does this mean in the long term? As I said before, the long-term implications are that the day will come when "anime" is not going to be Japanese any more. The aesthetic will come to encompass a style of animation and art that is common throughout East Asia.

I shared an article not too long ago in this thread. Here is the key quote:
Quote:
Irie Yasuhiro, representative director JAniCA, says the main reason young animators cannot accumulate enough experience today is the Japanese animation industry's dependence on offshoring. He estimates that 80 per cent to 90 per cent of the in-betweening work in Japanese animation is now being outsourced overseas, primarily to China and South Korea.
Mr Yasuhiro bluntly observed that Japanese studios are indirectly training the next generation of talent in other countries, while doing nothing to protect and groom their own talent.

From another JAniCA report:
Quote:
The Chinese theatrical animation industry started the year 2019 with uncertainty due to a significant decline of its box-office takings since 2016; however, a work which totally dispelled such worries finally arrived: The 3-D animation Ne Zha.

Ne Zha eventually recorded 5 billion yuan (80 billion yen), overtaking the Chinese record of the global boxoffice champion, The Incredibles. This will surely trigger a boom in production investment...and accelerate the expansion of the Chinese animation industry.

But there is a risk that China will detach itself from Japanese animation. Chinese creators, including the director of Ne Zha, were born in the 80s and were deeply influenced by Japanese manga, anime, and games. Now it seems those creators have already mastered their own methods of expression and fully absorbed Japanese culture.

It's now a question whether China, with such talented creators, still needs to collaborate with Japan.
Here's an example of what Chinese animators are capable of today:

Fire vs Ice ("Fog Hill of Five Elements")

YouTube
Sorry; dynamic content not loaded. Reload?

I'll be frank: Even if I were not Chinese by ethnicity, I sure as hell would support more of such projects going forward. They're a tremendous breath of fresh air compared to the endless iterations of isekai projects in Japanese anime today. (The English title of the above project is, as one would expect, a somewhat poor translation. The Chinese title is 雾山五行 . A more accurate translation would be "The Five Paths of Fog Hill", or the "Five Paths of Fog Hill".)

So, the Japanese anime industry, and the government, is as usual very short-sighted. They fail to see the larger picture, and the longer-term risks of hollowing out their own industry. If they continue on this path, there eventually will not be any worthwhile "Japanese" anime industry to talk about. The real talent will come from overseas.

By then, it'll be too late to reverse the trend for domestic talent.
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Old 2021-03-03, 12:21   Link #329
dragon1412
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I think it's half and half from economic perspective, I agree that Japan, in a way, is training other country talent and rather short sighted, But I don't really share the idea that Chinese or Korean or any SEA country taking over anime, largely because they will face the same problem. Point no further than the tech area where country who outsourcing software to China face the exact same problem with Japanese Anime. And I think you heard about the 996 already. The 996 exist in tech scene for years, but only very recently come to light. For the exact same reason, low wage and punishing schedule. Why does it exist up until this long ? because prior to now, Tech and software in CN was a green field, so everyone can get good pay simply enter the field, but when enough people exist, there will be a lot more marginal cut and the punishing schedule don't seem to worth it.

The same apply to China game industry and even animations, they only came to prominents 3-4 years recently, the industry itself is young and there is not much people with specific skillset needed, so as for now, it still has a lot of room to growth, and there is not much product or big name out there yet. But when a lot of people see that the game and animation industry is a green field and jumping in, we will see an exact situation that happened to tech industry in CN, except that animations industry capacity is a lot more smaller compare to tech. And they would be facing the marginal cost issues which lead to the dreaded 996 again. Especially when it come to CN, high turnover rate in business due to extreme schedule and low wage is very common.
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Old 2021-03-03, 22:44   Link #330
relentlessflame
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
That's part of discourse, and I don't feel that Ocean had been disrespectful or inflammatory in his views, even though I am philosophically and ethically opposed to his arguments.
I absolutely consider it disrespectful and inflammatory, in a thread discussing the lifestyle and wages of animators and other workers in this industry, to say that you don't care about the problems faced by the people impacted and to insinuate that it's all just a problem of their own making. This is a thread specifically about them and this issue. Having basic empathy for the people impacted by the situation -- which many people in the anime industry have proclaimed as a problem -- should be the bare minimum requirement for participating in the conversation, whether or not someone has other viewpoints about things like the extent of the problem or the way to solve it.

A flawed process can still produce an acceptable result by some measures. But you have to measure a process's effectiveness holistically considering all the impacts, including human impacts, environmental impacts, societal impacts, globalization trends, long-term growth potential, etc. So again, it's reductionist to say that "the process is working therefore there's no problem." There are problems -- people working in the industry tell us there are problems and we see evidence of failed and collapsed productions on a regular basis (again with staff often coming out of the woodwork to provide insights into the problems faced, often stemming from directly related issues). Things can be improved. At the same time, it's not like it's all problems either. The whole industry is not imminently collapsing upon itself, and investment from Western streaming companies has helped infuse some cash to keep things afloat at least for now. The discussion has to occur somewhere in the middle.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Long story short, let's not indulge in cancelling opposing views too harshly.
I think, in an over-reaction to some other people's over-sensitivity, you're being overly generous. The "opposing view" has essentially cancelled the entire topic by proclaiming they don't believe there's a problem and that they don't care about those impacted since production output seems, to them, to not be adversely impacted. Since they won't accept testimonials from workers, evidence from individual failed productions, or industry research and journalism, what arguments can possibly be made? The only evidence I can imagine that would seemingly convince them may be an industry-wide production collapse that is directly attributable to poor working conditions, and undeniable production output improvements attributed directly to improved working conditions? If you don't accept evidence of the improved quality of output from successful studios that pay their people well as evidence enough to support the potential benefits of employee QoL and benefits, what would you entertain? Basically the whole view is so "free-market absolutist" that no problem can exist that wouldn't correct itself by the free market anyway, so why discuss anything?

As you pointed out, the industry itself is "routing around" the problem by outsourcing production to other markets, and it's much more likely that this will manifest itself over time as a shift of lead anime production talent to other countries. By the time any shift happens enough to be undeniable, it will be too late to reverse course. And when that happens, rather than attributing the change in output to working conditions or anything else, it's equally likely that the consumer who cares only about anime industry output and its impact on them personally will just believe anime output no longer matches their personal tastes and move on, as happens all the time.

In other words, this is a topic about the workers in the anime industry and their working conditions. If someone doesn't care about them and doesn't want to listen to them talk about their working conditions or entertain solutions to their stated problems, it sure seems to me like this thread is irrelevant to them and it's just arguing for arguing's sake. It has nothing to do with "cancelling opposing views" (or about an "echo chamber") it's about actually discussing the topic at hand. The room for disagreement within that sphere is still immense.
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Last edited by relentlessflame; 2021-03-04 at 01:54.
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