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Anime Insiders Share How Much Producing a Season Costs

posted on by Eric Stimson
Hint: It's too high compared to revenue

Although it's a far cry from the supersized budgets of Hollywood, the anime industry is a labor-intensive and expensive field. Like other entertainment ventures, any anime production has to ensure that its budget matches its expected earnings.

According to Masamune Sakaki, a CG creator in the anime industry, an average 13-episode anime season costs around 250 million yen (or $2 million). He also made it clear that most anime can't recoup this expense, and the industry rests on the windfall of a few big hits. In a July interview, Takayuki Nagatani, producer of Shirobako (itself an anime about anime production), claimed that his show cost 500 million yen (or $4 million) for 24 episodes. In order to make it sell, he had to "advertise it, plan events, and make merchandise." Shinji Takamatsu, a veteran animator, cited a figure of 150 to 200 million yen ($1.2 to $1.6 million). "Expecting to make that up through disc sales alone is a hopeless business model, but that's how almost all late night anime are," he writes.

If these sound like staggering figures, keep in mind that they are comparable to that for most American deep cable shows. As for the hard-working animators, average pay is a mere $27,689 a year.

[Via Yaraon!; Image from Manga Buzzca]

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