A recent survey found that a startling percentage of anime production workers suffered from mental health conditions.
NHK reported on a survey by the Japan Animation and Directors Association, which found that 17% of those involved in anime production currently suffer or have suffered from mental illnesses such as depression. 429 people were consulted, of which 73 admitted to having mental problems; Additionally, 291 people (68%) said they felt mentally tired and 285 people (66%) felt physically tired. One anecdote in the report revealed that a female animator from Tokyo only comes home for about 30 minutes a week, bringing “shampoo and towels” so she can sleep in her studio. She added: “I continued to work as an animator because I found it very rewarding, but I saw firsthand many people suffering from mental illness. I want people to think about how to treat animation producers.”
Even Jujutsu Kaisen’s Satoru Gojo thinks MAPPA animators deserve a raise
The English voice behind Jujutsu Kaisen fame Gojo Satoru, Kaiji Tang, leads the growing calls for MAPPA to treat its employees better.
Demand for anime continues to grow, with the Japan Animation and Directors Association revealing that the number of anime titles released this year has reached 310. The medium continues to be one of its literary exports. Japan’s biggest culture, with Netflix’s head of anime Kohei Obara revealing that half of its 222 million customer base watched some anime in the previous year. However, the same streaming service has been criticized by Jujutsu Kaisen 0’s lead animator Terumi Nishii for its larger anime budgets that don’t trickle down to the actual workers.
The desire to meet current demand means that less qualified people continue to be employed in the industry, which means that senior animators like Nishii have to do more work to correct mistakes . Nishii continues to be one of the most outspoken voices in the industry, calling for skills testing to prevent production companies from diluting the market with rookie animators and going so far as to say that with At this rate, the anime industry will collapse in just a minute. years.
There are few more notable instances of the anime industry’s poor working conditions than fall 2023’s Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2, animated by studio MAPPA. The emergence of new allegations has become an almost weekly occurrence, with each allegation more startling than the last. While the problem could be solved with humorous anime scenes of animators destroying their workplaces, alarm bells were raised last month over two posts from freelancers MAPPA different, with the second depicting graphic images that highlight their mental state.
Deleted MAPPA tweet goes viral again after spreading to Instagram: “I want to die quickly”
MAPPA faced further backlash after a deleted post by a Jujutsu Kaisen animator with the message “I want to die quickly” was posted to Instagram.
The industry does not need to be so harsh on workers. Kyoto Animation (KyoAni) is hailed as an industry leader for its better production schedules, which is reflected in some of the highest quality anime adaptations to date. Yet just last month, MAPPA CEO Manabu Otsuka outlined plans to catch up with the likes of KyoAni and Ufotable by quickly producing more anime, sparking widespread condemnation across the industry.
This thinking seems to be the reason why Jujutsu Kaisen Season 1 director Sunghoo Park left the company to form E&H Productions, which will produce the upcoming anime adaptation of Eiichiro Oda’s Monsters. Chainsaw Man director Ryu Nakayama also seemed to hint last week that he was leaving MAPPA, teasing plans for a “free from harassment” studio.