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Anime Artists Are Underpaid And Underappreciated

The dark truth behind the animation industry


What's going on?

Animations have always entertained children and adults alike for the past few decades. In the United States, the anime craze started at the turn of the century with Sailor Moon’s middle-school magical girls and Pokémon’s Ash Ketchum. However, there is a dark side to those who are behind the scenes, mainly anime artists. It has been found that animation companies do not receive good returns despite the animation industry current’s worth at $18.2 billion.


Something that stands out about animation is the manual labor behind the scenes that is required to turn fantasy into reality. For example, a 30-minute animation work requires more than 3,000 illustrations. On average, anime artists receive roughly $2 per drawing, and the maximum they can produce is 20 pages daily. Therefore, they are only expected to earn about $911 per month. Furthermore, studies have shown that anime artists average around 11 working hours per day, and they have only four days off every month. Working conditions are beyond stressful, and they often fall asleep at their desk and in some cases, hospitalized due to exhaustion or overworking.


Anime artists are taking the brunt of the intolerable burden for the sake of beautifully hand-drawn animation, which showcases lush landscape and breathtaking visuals to improve storytelling. As a result, they are paying the price that is their livelihood. While some might argue that being an anime artist is a work of great passion and enthusiasm, it is important also to not forget basic employee’s rights and needs.