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ANNCast - Worked To Death For Art's Sake

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Joined: 23 Dec 2013
Posts: 296
PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:20 am Reply with quote
Animation is a weird art-form, you intellectually know how much labour goes into it but sometimes it manages to hide itself with how effortless it can look. I remember seeing layouts from Ghost in the Shell and it finally hitting me that each of those individual drawings are incredibly difficult to do, and animators are drawing up to 24 of them per second. Not mentioning the other things you have to keep track of like arcs, timing, acting etc. The amount of skill required is mind-boggling.

And it made me kind of angry to know somebody like Yutaka Nakamura, probably one of the best draftsmen of this generation and somebody whose animation adds a ton of value to any project he gets hired for, is paid so damn little for what he contributes.

Miyazaki's arc is particularly depressing. From a union-leader socialist at Toei, to doing an idealistic interview in 1991 about the need to create good working conditions to secure staff, nurture talent, and increase wages in order to keep making good movies. And then Ghibli being the studio where one of their promising directors got worked to death.

For the ethical consumption of art thing. I guess one option is consuming more art from independent artists and not corporations. But while there are absolutely brilliant independent webcomics (If you liked Evangelion's introspective look at depression, give Mare Internum a try) out there, an anime TV series isn't something that can be done by a small team.

With anything of late-stage capitalism, you can try to watch what you consume, but widespread systemic change is what will actually solve things. I do love the medium and hope it survives as something that doesn't crush the artists under it.

I do wonder if anime can actually maintain it's talent pool with how it treats them. I can imagine 2D animation dying out as more older animators retire and younger artists look elsewhere for employment. Pure speculation from a layperson though.
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Joined: 11 Jan 2010
Posts: 154
PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:12 am Reply with quote
The hard working conditions are due to the vulnerability to outsourcing that animation has, and this has only become higher with digitization.

This actually merges well with the discussion in a previous show about whether anime should be considered something separate from animation, and if it should be considered a technique or a place.

The most successful unions are always anchored to physical things that can't outsource. One reason construction unions are so successful is that the building is often required to be built in a particular spot, so the only options are dealing with the workers at that spot or importing everything, which is still more expensive than outsourcing (although this is changing in some places).

If Japan were to create and enforce a geographic designation of origin for anime, and was able to get the agreements internationally to have it recognized, then maybe they could start to consider things like unionization and improving working conditions, because by tying anime to a particular place, it becomes harder for someone to say, "You want what? You know, this other country just wrapped up a civil war, and I'm sure I can find plenty of animators who won't ask for these things-"
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Joined: 20 Sep 2007
Posts: 1751
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:26 pm Reply with quote
I hate to be the one to acknowledge the 1000 lb gorilla in the room here but...

If fans here in the west are well aware of the difficult working conditions that animators face and are treated less than average for the sake of a deadline without proper pay to compensate for all the stress, then how exactly are we making the situation any better by just purchasing anime arbitrarily? Aren't we exactly contributing to the problem as well?
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Joined: 03 Feb 2015
Posts: 621
PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:36 pm Reply with quote
I have to agree on the Crunchyroll Awards criticisms. This was the first year they really left a bad taste in my mouth with the general vibe of the show, skipping awards, their Icon of the Year, but especially the whole never once mentioning the KyoAni tragedy. Crunchyroll promotes their event as a celebration of anime and its creators (over just being an easy marketing tool for CR properties only). But when there's such a huge oversight like that because you don’t want to mess with your carefully crafted “corporate synergy” or whatever, you've failed somewhat in my opinion.

I actually liked most of the nominees for the awards even if I didn’t agree with all of the choices like AOTY. I thought it was a pretty solid list of different shows for the most part. The only exception would probably only be the English VA category? But at the same time, that’s what you get when your jury feels mostly comprised of people who don't really watch that many dubs (or maybe just a couple Netflix ones). Plus, the nominees being LA actors only + the most of the nominees being CR-produced dubs rubbed me the wrong way. But I don't really blame the jury or anything, not everyone likes dubs to begin with and that’s fine. As far as categories go though, that’s really my only minor complaint. I think I'd rather see a "Best English Dub" category than one performance, since there's a lot more to judge there, and you could get more interesting picks.

As far as the animation production talk, I thought it was really interesting (albeit sobering), and I really enjoyed Canipa as a guest! I’m pretty nervous about whenever that bubble burst happens to be honest. With the way things are going, I can't see it not happening at some point. I also thought Lynzee’s advice to ask (polite) questions about work life balance at cons was a good idea I hadn't really thought of, but honestly I’d be way too nervous to do so. I think I would be afraid of coming off as rude or confronting, but I’m thankful anytime media outlets do so!
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Joined: 29 Apr 2013
Posts: 2522
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:21 am Reply with quote
In my morals if two adults consent to a contract it's not my say to say whetehr that contract is or not immoral; it's not like the japanese government is forcing young adult-kids to become animators or is not like the animators working conditions are a secret. As a software engineer I find it far more immoral how the media tends to super glorify software engineering by saying alot of fake things about it.
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