Anime industry at risk of “collapse” if working conditions don’t improve

Anthony McGlynn
Attack on Titan

The anime industry could have serious issues in the future, if current poor conditions for workers aren’t addressed, a new report states. Stagnation due to overworking staff is creating risk of “collapse”, as institutional knowledge decreases.

That’s among the findings by Nippon Anime and Film Culture Association, a body which seeks to identify problems within anime, and improve them for production staff. A survey conducted by the organization has yielded several worrisome results across people working on anime shows and anime movies.

Poor wages and overtime are common, with some earning as little as $4 an hour, amid working over 300 hours a month. Exhaustion creates a wide variety of problems, one of which is that there’s less resource for training and passing down knowledge.

Those who stick around in anime production can’t teach newer creatives as much of what they know because of the crunch. If this trajectory is maintained, NAFCA states, “the technology in the anime industry will eventually stagnate and the industry itself may collapse.”

Besides being overworked, morale is low due to harassment. Over 65% of respondents answered that they’d been victim to some form of harassment, another 85% stating they’d “seen or heard” harassment.

These findings come on the heels of several allegations that have been made over the last few years concerning crunch in the industry. Staff at Madhouse, MAPPA, and other studios have commented on the difficult conditions at the companies, and the ill-health they’ve suffered as a result.

It remains to be seen what changes might come as a result of NAFCA’s investigations. We’ll keep you posted.