Terumi Nishii, whose major credits include “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable” and “A Town Where You Live,” explained her side on her second Twitter account, which reportedly functions as her primary connection to international otakus.
Nishii reportedly started as a rank-and-file animator. For the long hours she had put, she made a measly 2,800 yen ($25) on her first paycheck.
After her first year, that figure rose to 60,000 to 100,000 yen ($537 to $896), but such remains meager considering that the minimum wage in Tokyo is 985 yen ($8.80) per hour. And still, her promotion to character designer later did not improve her working conditions.
Japanese animation is maintained only by the feelings that the creators “like anime”. However, with the increase of the number of works in recent years, some people have broken mind and body.
Nishii pointed out that in order to survive, many animators rely on their parents’ money. For context, a 2016 survey conducted by the Young Animators Assistance Council revealed that 35% of employees with less than three years of experience still lived with their parents, while another 18% who lived by themselves still relied on some form of allowance.
“Japanese anime has nothing like royalty or revenue sharing for character designers. The material we drew is collected and discarded,” Nishii wrote.
If the cartoon sells, money will be paid. Anime is different. The animator doesn’t matter if the anime sells. There is no royalty or income distribution.
For now, Nishii does her part in making change: she has worked on character designs for “Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac,” a reboot of the same title releasing on Netflix. Check out the trailer below:
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