One of the great misconceptions of anime fans deals with an anime’s budget. Most fans believe a high budget leads to better quality, which makes sense on paper.
If your budget is large enough, in theory, you’ll be able to hire the best animators, best director, and a top-flight storyboard artist. But unfortunately, hiring the best doesn’t mean the project will be the best.
Naotoshi Shida is a highly respected animator that his worked on Dragon Ball Z, Heartcatch Precure!, and One Piece Film Gold. He loves interacting with fans on social media and revealed that a series’ budget and quality are not related.
— 志田直俊 (@naoV47) January 24, 2018
Shida’s answer reflects what we’ve heard in the past. While anime budgets are a closely guarded secret, Visual Arts & Key President Takahiro Baba said it costs 400 million ($3.66 million) to produce a 12-episode adaptation of a Key light novel. Most late night anime (which accounts for the bulk of shows) have a budget of 437 million yen ($4 million) to 218 million yen ($2 million) for the entire series.
Yep, series like One Punch Man and Clockwork Planet typically have similar budgets! The thing that leads to creating a masterful anime is a combination of freelance animators (who vary in skill level) and proper pre-production planning.
So the next time you see an elegantly animated scene, keep in mind it has less to do with a show’s budget and more to do with planning or finding the right crew.