The anime industry has a huge problem; there are too many shows.
That’s what Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma‘s chief animation director Mai Matsuura is saying in a series of tweets she made.
— まつうら (@odeco_a) October 7, 2016
According to her, it takes 400 animators to make 40 shows, assuming each animator creates 30 shots of the 12,000 required to make that much anime. She also added that the number doesn’t include anime opening and ending sequences as well as anime movies. Because of this, it’s nearly impossible to get a head start on a new season of anime.
Her numbers are very lenient too. In the Fall 2016 anime season, there are 50 full anime shows, 25 anime shorts, 17 movies, and 24 OVA works, bringing the total number of anime to 116 different titles, although anime shorts and OVAs take considerably less work than full anime shows.
This complaint comes at a time when Japan’s work culture is under fire after the death of an employee of the advertising company Dentsu Inc., where Matsuri Takahashi worked herself to death at the age of 24 in an act known as “Karoshi”. Since then, the Japanese government held a survey which revealed that 20% of Japan’s workforce is at risk of death by overworking.
In the face of all this, the anime industry has only grown, with the number of full anime titles increasing over time. Matsuura considers this one of the largest factors of the increasing strain on animators and has called for the industry to either lessen the number of shows created or to hire dedicated animation staffs instead of using freelancers.
Image by Insomnist (source)
The issues highlighted by Matsuura are slowly being addressed by anime studios such as Kyoto Animation, but whether it’ll be resolved in time to keep pace with the growing anime industry is something we’ll have to see in the future.