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INTEREST: New Manga Creator, Veteran Continue Debate Over Assistants' Working Conditions


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Lemonchest
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:50 pm Reply with quote
You'd think that since the publishers set the schedules, they'd be responsible for the labour. But then the whole system seem to be built on a exploitative view of labour relations. There's always another kid with an idea for a comic out there to replace you, your skills as a mangaka are in demand almost nowhere else & what do the consumers care when they're buried in cheap paperbacks & digital manga.
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whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:40 pm Reply with quote
Lemonchest wrote:
There's always another kid with an idea for a comic out there to replace you, your skills as a mangaka are in demand almost nowhere else & what do the consumers care when they're buried in cheap paperbacks & digital manga.


I've always thought that creating a strong distribution platform for purely digital manga would go a long way towards better working conditions. It seems like switching over to digital screentones at the very least would cut down on some manual labor.

But I kind of feel like the manga industry is caught in the same vicious loop the anime industry is, where you just barely make enough money to stay afloat, so you churn out the same or even more content, only to barely make enough money to stay afloat, etc., etc. I could only see a big shakeup if some big player in the manga industry stepped back and said "Yeah, maybe we should rethink this stuff a bit" and then actually followed through.
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SaitoHajime101



Joined: 31 Mar 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:07 pm Reply with quote
Based upon this, it sounds like assistants are paid for by the manga creator, not the publisher?

Honestly, I feel the publisher should pay for any additional help that the manga creator may need. While I'm not versed in the know-how of what a publisher pays for overall, it feels this type of expensive is a "obvious" expense to keep deadlines met.

Hiring a assistant lessens the amount of work the main creator would need to do so he can focus on story and main content, while not having to push his or her own health to a breaking point. How many manga creators have we seen take extended breaks due to medical related issues?
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chronos02



Joined: 25 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:16 pm Reply with quote
It's really interesting to see the hypocresy of society as a whole when they say that mangaka and assistants work under inhumane conditions when the vast majority of society does so, too. This specific sector of the economy is obviously in a much worse condition than others, there is no denying that, but I haven't seen a single company in my almost 10 years of working experience as counsellor follow the rules, and believe it or not, 9 out of 10 companies do so out of necessity and not greed, numbers do not lie, they can be beautified with some makeup, but the underlying uglyness is visible to the naked (albeit experienced) eye.
I don't know where this self righteous spree has come from, and although it should be considered a good thing, it's like trying to tilt an iceberg by blowing from the moon, utter nonsense; all those projects to help with the status of new animators is the same, a simple patchwork that has no real consequence (though it does help those few people "touched" by it).
The source of the problem, some might think, lies in the gigantic corporations that don't pay enough to the poor mangaka, animators, authors... you name it, and although they do have some responsibility in the matter, they're no more than another link in the long chain that composes the "real culprit". The problem is much more complex than people might think, and it's a mix of circumstances, decisions and consequences at many different points in time from many, many different organizations and individuals, that most probably had the best of intentions at the time, but, akin to a chemichal reaction of harmless elements, its combination is disastrous and catastrophic, and that's where we are now, at the point where the reaction has been completed, but people keep pouring more of those harmless elements into the mix, thinking they do good, and blaming the other parties that also pour apparently harmless elements into the mix, none of them actually stopping, and in some cases, unable to stop because of the underlying circumstances that sorround the whole process, but most, obvlivious to almost everything.

I trully envy the people that outright point fingers without second thoughts, thinking they are so right about their "truth", I'd love to see them wail in despair after learning a fraction of what I have had to learn, and I shudder at the thought of knowing more, knowing what else lies behind that hill... do not get tempted by the sweet scent of knowledge, for it is but a trap sure to entangle around your mind and heart, bleeding you of your hopes and dreams and throwing you into a loop of doubt, that will make you question the smallest of things to the point of exhaustion.

In the end, to solve this problem, they'd have to go to the very foundations of the system, and starting from there, recreate it in a way that takes into account the whole process and interations of different sub-processes from beginning to end into the decision making of every link in the whole web-chain that our current society is made up from, instead of trying to do patch-work with amends and laws that who knows what might cause on other areas, akin to the butterlfy effect but in the whole of our societal system. This, however, would require for most decisions to be taken by a sort of supercomputer, because I don't see any ministers making spreadsheets and relationship-trees for every single topic at hand, nor revising other topics and relating them to all current, past, and potential future topics in the history of the country in order to make any decisions.

Summing up, we're not going to see this fixed anytime soon, and most probably, ever, and if they do "solve" it, then it's almost certain the burden got transfered to somewhere else in the chain.
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Kicksville



Joined: 20 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:43 pm Reply with quote
chronos02 wrote:
It's really interesting to see the hypocresy of society as a whole when they say that mangaka and assistants work under inhumane conditions when the vast majority of society does so, too.
---
I don't know where this self righteous spree has come from, and although it should be considered a good thing, it's like trying to tilt an iceberg by blowing from the moon, utter nonsense; all those projects to help with the status of new animators is the same, a simple patchwork that has no real consequence (though it does help those few people "touched" by it).
---
Summing up, we're not going to see this fixed anytime soon, and most probably, ever, and if they do "solve" it, then it's almost certain the burden got transfered to somewhere else in the chain.

Sooo...what, nobody can do anything about anything, don't even try, if you even dare to talk about it you're a whiner?

Isn't it a good thing that those having the conversation in the article are trying to make things better in their own ways, even if they have disagreements?

I mean, really? No one should even bother? Come on.
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Kadmos1
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:53 pm Reply with quote
Shout out to the manga-ka mentioned in this article for their attempts to give better pay to their assistants and the creator's proposed business plans.
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pikkuhukka
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:27 am Reply with quote
having seen bakuman, this article got me to tears
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leafy sea dragon



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:37 am Reply with quote
This sounds a lot like "internships" in some other in-demand fields, in which they're subject to grueling, exhausting conditions with little to no pay, where the purpose is more to weed out the less dedicated (and the ones with less endurance) until the few that remain get to become true professionals.

whiskeyii wrote:
But I kind of feel like the manga industry is caught in the same vicious loop the anime industry is, where you just barely make enough money to stay afloat, so you churn out the same or even more content, only to barely make enough money to stay afloat, etc., etc. I could only see a big shakeup if some big player in the manga industry stepped back and said "Yeah, maybe we should rethink this stuff a bit" and then actually followed through.


It feels like most if the money winds up in the pockets of the executives and other higher-ups, and until your manga is REALLY popular, you're not going to be paid that much (and the raises for your success would be more an incentive to keep you in the company--Makoto Raiku jumped publishers and continued to work on Zatch Bell!, indicating manga authors can do this).

I don't know how feasible it is, and I generally loathe the practice, but perhaps if there was more poaching done in the manga business (in which competitors would offer people with histories of success a higher rate of pay to work with them instead), you might see manga authors get compensated more fairly for the huge amounts of time they sink into their work, and in turn can pay their assistants more. Of course, that'll also count on the generosity of the author. I have no doubt there are at least a few stingy authors out there who pay their assistants next to nothing.

SaitoHajime101 wrote:
Hiring a assistant lessens the amount of work the main creator would need to do so he can focus on story and main content, while not having to push his or her own health to a breaking point. How many manga creators have we seen take extended breaks due to medical related issues?


Word is that Yoshihiro Togashi currently does not use assistants (though this article indicates he used to), and this is a common explanation on why he takes so many breaks, and why they keep getting longer and longer.

Though it's hard to say about most other authors, Daisuke Ashihara (author of World Trigger) is on an indefinite hiatus because of a health condition he had before he even began. I have no doubt him drawing manga exascerbated it to where he could no longer draw, but no matter how many assistants he had, this would've happened at some point in time.

These are more exceptions though, and I'd say you'd be right...but the more assistants you have, the more money it'll cost, and the less control you'll have over your manga. Eiichiro Oda makes the best-selling manga of all time in One Piece, but the only things his assistants draw are still, inanimate objects, as Oda wants to make sure the manga conveys movement in exactly the way he wants it to.
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bleachj0j



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:41 am Reply with quote
leafy sea dragon wrote:

Word is that Yoshihiro Togashi currently does not use assistants (though this article indicates he used to), and this is a common explanation on why he takes so many breaks, and why they keep getting longer and longer.


Togashi breaks are more about his health than anything and the breaks have been getting shorter not longer. The recent one was three months.
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leafy sea dragon



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:56 am Reply with quote
bleachj0j wrote:
Togashi breaks are more about his health than anything and the breaks have been getting shorter not longer. The recent one was three months.


Was it? He's currently still on break, is he? (Or did he just get out of it last week?)

What I mean is that his lack of assistants take a great toll on his health, which in turn forces him to take long hiatuses. If he was willing to divide his work more efficiently, he might not tire out so easily.
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Compelled to Reply



Joined: 14 Jan 2017
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:19 am Reply with quote
Kicksville wrote:
Sooo...what, nobody can do anything about anything, don't even try, if you even dare to talk about it you're a whiner?

Isn't it a good thing that those having the conversation in the article are trying to make things better in their own ways, even if they have disagreements?

I mean, really? No one should even bother? Come on.

No, but manga and animation are by nature very laborious industries, and people interested at first should come to their senses that what they signed up for isn't all sunshine and lollipops if they can't handle the pressure and don't have the passion. Why do you think lots of animation is done in places like South Korea and Vietnam? It's a job a lot of Japanese people don't want to do, even if at higher, less competitive wages.


Last edited by Compelled to Reply on Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:50 am; edited 5 times in total
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Kicksville



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:22 am Reply with quote
Sure. But why does that mean people shouldn't talk about or try to improve working conditions all the same?
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TheAnimeRevolutionizer



Joined: 03 Nov 2017
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:39 am Reply with quote
I might take this into another direction, but you know what's one big factor that's kind of turned things into where it is now? The 2008 global recession. I swear, after that, not just the US, but Japan itself also got extremely retentive and too self preserving to where we have now seen that this has turned into stagnation. This has even gone towards the entertainment industry, where no one is willing to take any sort of risk to be experimental and entertaining and stand out. That's sad.

I'd say that Japan shouldn't be afraid to take risks again and live like it's the 1990s/1980s again, but with wisdom about what not to do. This is why I hold that era so close to me still; even if lightning does not strike twice in the same place, once you know what electricity is, nothing can stop you once you have its spirit. As a historian and cultural anthropologist on things anime, and knowing its course of global impact, if Japan wanted to make waves again with anime, nothing would stop it. They would be able to pay everyone under their company roof ten times over if they dared to risk things and know where to step.
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Nakurawari



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:04 am Reply with quote
leafy sea dragon wrote:
What I mean is that his lack of assistants take a great toll on his health, which in turn forces him to take long hiatuses. If he was willing to divide his work more efficiently, he might not tire out so easily.

What is your source that you're using to suggest Togashi no longer uses assistants?
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Juno016



Joined: 09 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:28 am Reply with quote
I like CLAMP's model, where they are designated as a team, even if Ohkawa-sensei is considered the leader. If I ever make it to the industry myself, I'd rather be part of a circle than a manga artist with their own name.
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