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How Much Longer Is It Taking to Make Anime Under COVID-19? Mantan-Web Investigates

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Anime currently takes 'twice' as long to produce, 'three times' as long to dub

The Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan-Web online news outlet reported on Sunday that, based on interviews it had conducted with a number of anime industry insiders, anime is currently taking "twice" as long to produce overall, and "three times" as long to dub.

An insider at a studio that shifted to remote work in late March said that the effect has been particularly felt among studios that mainly do analog work. "There are many studios that are still transitioning into digital. When it comes to telework, the checks are going to take a while no matter how you slice it, and there are lots of people who are used to face-to-face meetings, which makes the quality of the work fall. It's very hard to maintain the quality with telework."

Mantan-Web reported that there are those who say that the situation is "gradually returning to normal, but it will continue for a while yet."

The outlet also highlighted the situation at voice acting recording studios, which are also experiencing their own disruption. For a time, a large amount of the voice recording for TV anime halted entirely, but it is starting to open up again. However, an insider told Mantan-Web that "separating the mics and ensuring social distancing means that only up to three actors at a time can record. It's very difficult to get up to 10 people to do it at once, which was how it was done previously. There are some recordings that take over three times as much time to do. As a result, the amount of time that the director has to spend stuck on recording is getting longer as well." The situation has also apparently made it more difficult for actors to ad-lib.

The anime industry has always struggled with manpower and personnel shortages, making it difficult for any except the most successful studios to survive. Some insiders have told Mantan-Web that COVID-19 is "making the situation worse. It may even cause an upheaval in the industry," necessitating a shift to new approaches to production.

Sponichi reported in April that voice recording for anime was at a standstill, and that delays would continue for the foreseeable future. Production was also being affected because a large amount of work is outsourced to China and South Korea, which are dealing with their own COVID-related struggles.

In May, anime sound director Masafumi Mima and music composer Masaru Yokoyama revealed images of how their studios have been implementing social distancing, indicating that work has been restarted.

A list of television series, films, and manga affected by COVID-19 can be accessed here.

Source: The Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan-Web

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