Tom Sito's blog re-posts an eye opening article
on the future viability of anime as a going business concern. While the points on the long term surival of anime may or may not be valid, the points in the article that stood out to me were the stories of what life is like as an artist in the anime animation business.
Full disclosure- I've never been a huge fan of anime. I mean some of it's OK, but a lot of it is violent, disgusting and mysogenistic. But there are some pieces that can be rewarding, yet there's a nagging nag in the back of my mind that always keeps me from enjoying it fully. I have a hard time appreciating the product of an industry that is as blatantly exploitative as the Japanese anime industry is. Anybody who has paid attention over the years has heard the horror stories of working hours and disgustingly low pay. In the article noted they tell of a young lady making 80,000 yen per month working 60 hours a week drawing inbetweens. 80,000 yen per month comes out to ~$800, or €635 euros. These folks aren't working in some dusty little village in po-dunk East Asia. This is the wage paid to people working in Tokyo, the 4th most expensive city in the world
. I'm willing to bet that people working at McDonalds get paid better. But it's not like anime as a selling product is a dud. The article also notes that global annual sales for all anime products runs in the 200 billion yen range ($2 billion per year). That's not chicken scratch. That so little of that lucre finds its way to the bottom of the production chain is appalling. It has been and continues to be an exploitative industry. This one fact alone dampens my appreciation for the work of people like Miyazaki, et al.