Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Director: Sunrise Works Production Assistant 60 Hours in 4 Days

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

Director and storyboard artist Mitsuo Fukuda appears to have reached the end of his patience with animation production company Sunrise. Fukuda took to Twitter on Wednesday to vent his frustrations over the current work schedule of a female production assistant with the company, one that includes very long days and next to no sleep. According to Fukuda's tweet, she has worked 59 hours in four days and that schedule isn't out of the norm. He says this has been ongoing for the last month.

Fukuda's wrote that the assistant began her work week on Monday at 10:30 a.m. and did not return home until Tuesday at 6:00 a.m. She then slept until about noon before returning to work again until 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday. She was then able to sleep approximately four hours before she had to return to work again at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday and did not return home again until 11:00 a.m. on Thursday. She said she'd leave a note for herself to wake up after only an hour of rest.

In a follow-up tweet, Fukuda wrote that at the rate the schedule is going, it won't be long before the assistant falls victim to some kind of accident. He went on to say that he used to be able to work under this kind of schedule in the past but now he feels it has to change, even if it's dangerous for him to talk about it.

Fukuda joined Sunrise right out of high school in 1979. He has worked as a storyboard artist and episode director on Kiko Senki Dragonar, Mashin Eiyūden Wataru, Madō King Granzort, and The Brave Fighter Exkizer before directing the Future GPX Cyber Formula anime series. He would continue to direct future installments in the GPX Cyber Formula franchise and later the popular Mobile Suit Gundam Seed franchise.

Creators have become more open about the conditions in the anime, manga, and gaming industry in the last few years. Female creators have shared their stories of sexism in the work place and a NHK special discussed how the anime industry is viewed as a kind of "black labor" due to low wages and very long working hours.

Japan Animation Creators Association (JAniCA) reported in 2015 that animators averaged 11 working hours per day, and they had just four days off per month. An animator who left his job due to work-related depression kept an overtime log. He reported having 100 overtime hours in one month.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Fukuda worked 60 hours in four days instead of the production assistant. ANN regrets this error and the article above is the corrected version.

Source: Mitsuo Fukuda's Twitter account

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