It is a well-known fact that a budding artist in Japan has to face many difficulties to become an Animator. Animators and Mangakas have a backbreaking work schedule in the Anime industry.
Manga and Anime, both have a decrepit industry in Japan. It is hard to find work permanently. Besides that this field has been facing a labor crisis for a long time. Animators and artists work on meager wages and many don’t even get proper work facilities.
Japan is home to several prominent Anime production companies like MAPPA Co. LTD.
MAPPA has established itself as the Anime industry’s powerhouse, creating some of the most successful Anime series in recent years and several prominent Anime films.
MAPPA has established an international reputation and is currently regarded as one of the most notable animation companies among Anime enthusiasts worldwide.
Even though the company has made millions in profit the Animators are still poorly paid which has made the company a subject of criticism from the netizens. In this blog, I will tell you how much MAPPA pays its Animators.
Masao Maruyama, a veteran Animator, formed MAPPA at the age of 70, and the name is an acronym that stands for Maruyama Animation Produce Project Association.
Maruyama had a career that spanned more than four decades before founding his firm. He co-founded the famed animation company Madhouse and is considered one of Japan’s most seasoned producers, having a flair for discovering brilliant directors and animators.
This motivation drove him to go out on his own and found the studio MAPPA. In an ironic twist of fate, MAPPA’s success would cause it to expand and become a more stressful workplace with many of the same issues as his prior employer.
Despite creating popular Anime shows and films, MAPPA has been constantly condemned for the working conditions of its animators.
Work hours are very lengthy, with very short deadlines and enormous expectations. MAPPA is also criticized for the wages it pays artists. The firm has defended its position by claiming that this is an issue in the Anime industry as a whole and that MAPPA is not alone in this regard.
In Japan’s animation business, including MAPPA’s forerunner, Madhouse, intense work schedules are the norm. To MAPPA’s credit, the firm has been working hard to enhance the working environment for its workers, including the establishment of a new 5,000 sq ft studio in Tokyo.
Here are some of the famous Animes created by MAPPA animations:
- Yuri on Ice
- Jujutsu Kaisen
- Chainsaw Man
- Banana Fish
- The God of High School
- Attack on Titan (Finale)
- Terror in Resonance
- Zombieland Saga
Are MAPPA animators underpaid?
Big projects including Attack On Titan Season 4, Jujutsu Kaisen, Chainsaw Man, and Jigokuraku: Hell’s Paradise were produced by MAPPA.
A full-time employee at MAPPA earns 187,000 yen (US$1,620) per month, including overtime compensation. However, for the 2022 release of the Anime Chainsaw Man, MAPPA is revising its employment regulations and paying the animators the highest monthly salary possible.
According to the revised recruitment information, the starting remuneration is 230,543 yen (US$2,102) per month, with performance-based increments once a year in July.
All national social security, pension, and insurance benefits, as well as additional allowances, are provided (up to 45,000 yen). Allowances are typically added on top of monthly payments.
How much do animators for Anime get paid?
There are usually 2 groups of animators—freelancers and in-house animators hired by a studio. Animators get paid a net monthly salary per cut they make. It is known that the average income for freelancers is up to 500 euros per month. Meanwhile, the hired animators get their salary offered by the firm they work at.
Well, not every animation company out there divulges all of its employees’ and members’ salaries. However, there are certain well-known companies whose baseline monthly wage per animator has been made public on multiple occasions.
An average 13-episode animation season costs roughly 250 million yen ($2 million), according to Masamune Sakaki, a CG developer in the Anime business. It’s difficult to put a number on it because the battle and action scenes in each Anime vary. Anyway, let’s get back to our issue.
Salary of Animators in a famous Japanese Animation Studio, According to certain sources, an Animator working in Japan gets around 398,000 Yen per month. Salary ranges from 203,000 Yen (the lowest) to 613,000 Yen (the highest) depending on experience and position.
According to a 2019 poll conducted by the Japan Animation Creators Association, Anime employees aged 20-24 earn an average of 1.55 million yen (US$13,434) per year.
Why is the salary so low? One reason for this is that there are numerous middle-man firms in the Anime industry that take large profits, leaving very little for Animators on the field.
Despite a scarcity of professional animators in Japan, companies rely on a big pool of largely unpaid freelancers who are devoted to Anime.
As a result of the heavy competition and limited production budget, freelancers receive around 200 yen for each drawing. Which is less than $2, which is regarded as exceedingly low.
|Animation Studio||Monthly Salary|
|TOEI Animation||233,900 yen (US$2,027)|
|Studio Ghibli||200,000 yen (US$1,733)|
|Kyoto Animation||172,000 yen (US$1,490)-202,000 yen (US$1,750)|
|Ufotable||50,000 yen (US$433)-150,000 yen (US$1,300)|
|Madhouse||245,000 yen (US$2,123)|
|Studio Pierrot||175,000 yen (US$1,516)|
|Studio WIT||210-250,000 yen (US$1,820-$2,166)|
|CloverWorks||200,000 yen (US$1,733)|
|Production I.G.||240,000 yen (US$2080)|
How long does an Anime episode take to make?
There is no hard and fast rule about how long can it take—it all comes down to the budget and the production company.
Planning and pre-production (things like writing, storyboarding, recruiting talent to work on staff for the project, design work, and so on) should begin a year or more before the first episode is planned to air.
The initial bit of animation is difficult to pinpoint because some test animation is frequently done early on by the core team of Animators, both for marketing and to gain financing for the project. Some of this animation is used in the final piece.
In most cases, it takes four weeks. Episode 1 of a series might take a year from conception to completion. However, episode 2 would be completed one week later, followed by episode 3, and so on.
The reason for this is that each series works on an overlapping timetable. Every episode moves to the next level at the same time each week.
So one episode may be in the design stage one week, the second episode in the storyboard, the third one in the draught screenplay, and the fourth one in the animation department, there is a mix-up of everything at once, like a well-oiled machine
So what exactly causes the first episode to take four weeks? There is no definitive answer to this, but this gap is pretty much reasonable for any adjustments in animations. It is mundane for Animators teams to work concurrently to keep up with their schedules.
- Team 1 may be revising episode 1
- Team 2 is in the first week of animation on Episode 4
- Team 3 is in the second week of animation on Episode 3
- Team 4 is wrapping up the first pass animation on Episode 2.
All of this is getting done at the same time.
If you want a simpler answer to how long will it take for an animator to produce a scene then just multiply the time you would take to draw a particular scene and multiply it by 15000. You’ll get the answer.
It takes 15000 pictures to animate a minute of Anime. Seems challenging right? For an animator, it depends on his drawing speed and the difficulty level of the scene that the animator has to draw.
Taking all of this into consideration, Animators should be paid more than what they are paid right now. It is very saddening to see animators pouring their life and soul into every piece of work and not getting adequate remuneration for it.
How long did MAPPA take for AOT?
Although the given time was 1 year for MAPPA to complete Attack on Titan’s final season, we also know from CG magazine that the models were only completed in late July—implying that they only had 6-8 months to complete the CGI Titan sequences.
In addition, the majority of the episodes this season were completed only one day before their release. At most one week beforehand.
MAPPA took up the animation production for the series finale after Wit Studio completed the previous three seasons.
The reason for this was that the creators wanted Anime to progress even further. Dozens of studios informed them that they could not accept it.
Mappa was the only studio to consider the animation. Since the producers agreed, the production was moved to MAPPA. Even with the short time limit for the animators, they did a great job to keep bringing the correct elements into the adaptation.
How many anime does Mappa produce each year?
Mappa should be perfectly capable of managing the production of seven cours (seasons) of anime per year, but the studio is heavily reliant on freelance personnel.
Cirugeda also stated that of the 20 televised anime produced by MAPPA between the beginning of 2015 and the beginning of 2020, the company was only on the production committee for four of them, all of which listed MAPPA near the bottom or at the very bottom of the list, indicating that they served almost as if they were specifically contracted for work even on “original” series.
In response to claims that the underpaid studio workers, MAPPA denied offering “unreasonable compensation” to “creators.” However, animator Ippei Ichii claimed that an anime produced by MAPPA under Netflix suggested a pay of 3,800 per cut, to which Ichii claimed that 15,000 is the minimum cost that animators should negotiate for.
Does Mappa compensate animators?
Despite the fact that the company has made millions of dollars in profit, the Animators are still underpaid, prompting netizens to criticize the company.
Mushiyo, a freelance animator, announced their decision to depart MAPPA in a series of tweets on May 14. According to Mushiyo, who worked on the most recent season of Attack on Titan, the studio had poor working conditions during the series’ existence. (Note: while the tweets were previously public, Mushiyo has subsequently locked their account).
Mushiyo questioned their decision to work for the company, citing their experience of being asked to fix designs till the sun came up as the reason they departed.
They questioned MAPPA’s decision to work on four shows at the same time rather than adequately preparing its personnel to avoid such mistakes. Mushiyo compared the work environment to a “factory,” where lower-level animators are tasked with fixing problems rather than drawing.
- There have been several allegations that Anime studios do not properly compensate animators.
- MAPPA studios have also been under fire for their high work pressure and non-friendly work environment.
- MAPPA has made positive changes to its recruitment rules and regulations to increase the monthly wages of animators.
- A single episode can take from weeks to months to complete and animators have to sit for long hours to create every scene.
- Animators who are putting such hard work into animation deserve employment benefits and higher wages in Japan.