Gintama Director Predicts Anime Studios Will Die in 10 Years

Shinji Takamatsu is a well-known anime director. Some of his big-name works include:

Gintama

  • After War Gundam X
  • Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!
  • Daily Lives of High School Boys
  • Gintama
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
  • Nanbaka
  • School Rumble

Such an impressive resumé adds a lot of weight and clout to his opinions on the anime industry. Last week, NHK aired a special highlighting where all the anime goes and focusing on the poor work environment animators face. Takamatsu, for the most part, agreed with how the program depicted the industry and how the money is distributed.

School Rumble

However, he voiced his concerns about some of the “fixes” that were proposed in the program. At one point, the program theorized that A.I. and CGI animation would help the industry, but Takamatsu feels that they would only put low-ranking animators out of work.

Takamatsu also criticized a very common solution people suggest: lowering the amount of anime being produced while increasing the production budget. He calls this solution as “nonsense,” because producers already have a hard time predicting what anime will end up being hits.  Takamatsu said producing a one-cour anime (about 12 episodes) with a budget of 100 to 200 million yen ($910,000 to $1.82 million) is risky enough since there are relatively few profitable anime.

Nanbaka

For reference, in 2015 Takamatsu tweeted that the average late night anime budget was between 150 million to 200 million yen ($1.37 million to $1.82 million) for the entire series. He also criticized relying on discs sales back then.

Swinging back to the NHK program, Takamatsu was also confused by the claim that directors receive royalty checks. He says that he has never received a royalty check during his career, but also proposes that maybe only famous directors can get these contracts.

Finally, Takamatsu feels it’s outdated to blame Osamu Tezuka for the industries poor practices. Tezuka produced Astro Boy with a small budget and cut production costs, while relying on merchandising and his own wealth to bring the anime to Japanese TV. Fans in and outside of Japan have theorized that Tezuka’s practices have stuck with the industry for over 50 years.

However, Takamatsu claims that this only a “half-truth.” While Astro Boy was produced on a low budget and sold to a TV network for a low price, Tezuka paid employees with his own money. Takamatsu also added that with some research, Tezuka’s studio treated its employees well compared to other companies during the ’60s.

Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!

Takamatsu ended his Twitter session by sharing a bleak prediction: the industry won’t change until studios start going bankrupt en masse. He thinks this event could happen within the next five to ten years.

You can read Takamatsu’s Tweet chain on Yaraon!

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