Otaku USA Magazine
Animator Dormitory: 9 Out of 10 Animators Leave the Industry Within 3 Years

jun sugawara

The Animator Dormitory Project is an organization that educates people on the less than stellar ways anime animators are often treated, and works to making things better for them. Their newest video, which contains an English dub, is about low wages and how this leads to 9 out of 10 animators leaving the industry within three years.

“Japan’s anime industry is worth more than 18 billion dollars,” Jun Sugawara, the head of the organization, says in the video. “Even though Japanese anime studios produce numerous masterpieces every year, the actual animators creating some of your favorite anime work in abysmal conditions and face problems like low wages, long hours, and unfair labor contracts. Sadly, it’s been like this for decades.

“On average, animators in their twenties earn an annual income of about $10,000. That makes their monthly earnings about $820. First year animators make remarkably less. It’s hard to believe, but some make as low as $270 in a month.”

He continues, “There are a number of reasons why animators make so little. A major one is that many are hired on piece-work contracts where their income is directly tied to how many frames they can draw. Naturally, it takes time for them to learn how to draw so quickly, so animators tend to make very low wages until around their fourth year or so.”

He then goes into more specifics. “For a TV series, you earn about $1.80 for a single in-between animation frame. If you can draw 300 frames in a month, that would come out to 300 x 1.80, which is $540 total. But it’s really hard to draw 300 frames a month, especially for new animators.”

Sugawara points out animators are already working too hard for a second job, and costs in Tokyo (where most of them live) is high. This leads to nine out of ten animators leaving the industry within three years.

Check out the video for more details and how you can help. And just by watching the video you’re helping, because it helps raise money for the Animator Dormitory Project.

Source: Animator Dormitory Project


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.