Anime is a tough and brutal industry for aspiring artists. It’s a highly skilled profession that expects artists to work long hours, receive a measly paycheck per drawing, and turn towards non-profit groups to help pay for bills and housing.
P.A. Works has long been viewed as one of the “good” studios. Like Kyoto Animation and Sunrise, they treat their artists as people and are sympathetic towards the tough luck their younger employees face – as evident in their original projects Shirobako and Sakura Quest.
But a new job posting has fans do a double-take. The studio is hiring new recruits for a Spring 2018 project, with starting pay at 770 yen ($6.75) an hour. Discounting overtime, a new recruit could earn 1.8 million yen ($15,790) before taxes. That’s a pretty terrible rate for animators.
P.A. Works is located in Toyama Prefecture and set the pay at the 770 yen minimum wage for the area. Japanese fans have blasted the studio for offering less pay than McDonald’s (980 yen / $8.60 an hour) and convenience stores (920 yen / $8 an hour).
That’s right, working on a potentially beloved anime for one of Japan’s favorite studios is financially less rewarding than food service.
Even crazier is that P.A. Works’ pay is above average for the industry! Most animators only make 2 to 5 yen per drawing since most studios can’t afford to pay artists an hourly rate. The average animator only makes 1.1 million yen ($9,658) so P.A. Works’ wage is a step up from the competition.
There are many factors for the terrible wages, including how production committees are structured and that piracy often negatively effects artists instead of corporations.
On the bright side, P.A. Works is gearing up to launch an animator training course in 2018 to help foster young talent. Earlier this year, they also announced plans to roll new recruits into their monthly salary program by 2019.