An unlikely source of resistance has appeared to the recent idea of creating a government-sponsored "Anime Hall of Fame": Japanese animators themselves. Formally outlined by the Japan Animation Creators Association (JAniCA) in a proposal to lawmakers on June 23, the idea is taking fire from those actually working in the trenches in the industry.
"The number of productions and the production budgets have plummeted in comparison to last year," says Studio Gonzo producer Junichi Tagaki. "We used to get 1.8 million yen for a thirty minute television episode. Now we get 1.3 million yen.... If there's the money to build an [anime] center, I'd rather see it spent on reorganizing the domestic anime industry."
His sentiments are echoed by others in the industry, in which the average salary of a twentysomething animator is just 1.1 million yen a year (USD $11,514) -- in spite of the fact that the industry is centered in and around Tokyo, one of the most expensive cities to live in in the world. "I've got zero money to use for going out. With a monthly salary of 70,000 yen (USD $732), I couldn't get married even if I HAD a girl," moans a twenty four year old animator in the article.
"Totally useless," opined no less a personage than Mobile Suit Gundam character designer Yoshikazu Yasuhiko about the proposed anime center. "Anime has the vitality of a weed. I want it to be left alone. And with government support, I worry about potential restrictions being placed on freedom of expression."
For their part, JAniCA plans to push ahead with the proposal even if there is opposition from industry insiders. They envision it as a center for educating new talent and as a potential attraction for tourists both domestic and foreign. But with a proposed budget of some 1.1 billion yen (USD $11 million), it's easy to understand why beleaguered animators are looking for charity to begin at home first.