Berserk 2016 Anime Director Says Industry Has Shortage of Animation Directors
posted on by Kim Morrissy
In a column posted on Web Anime Style on January 17, Berserk (2016-7) and Ulysses: Jeanne d'Arc and the Alchemist Knight director Shin Itagaki wrote about one of the overlooked problems of the anime industry: the shortage of animation directors. According to Itagaki, this is a bigger problem than a lack of key animators. In this current era where too much anime is being made, there is no time to train animators properly, which means that animation directors have to shoulder more of the burden of the production.
Animation directors typically supervise the key frames drawn by animators, revising the drawings and giving feedback when necessary. Because animation directors are usually entrusted with the task of maintaining consistency in the animation, they are highly sought after among anime studios.
"These days, it is normal for the unit/episode director (enshutsu) and animation director to redraw 80-90% of the key animation that is submitted," Itagaki mentioned.
In order to stress the high level of demand for animation directors, Itagaki said that just the day before, he had received two calls asking for him to assist as an animation director. He also mentioned that during crunch time he acted as animation director for some parts of Ulysses as a non-credited role.
Itagaki stated that when "animation breakdown" happens, it is usually not because of negligence from the production assistants or because the storyboards were finished too late, but because the smaller/mid-sized production company had lost out to a bigger company in the "war for animation directors." In other words, the production has no choice but to leave bad animation as it is.
In the same column, Itagaki also announced that he has completely recovered from his cold after the recent flu outbreak, so the news wasn't all bleak.