Veteran anime director Taiki Nishimura, who is credited as episode director for prominent works like Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, Ergo Proxy, Seven Deadly Sins: Imperial Wrath of Gods and others, revealed in a twitter thread that he was not paid for his work in an anime that was produced two and half years ago.
He has vowed to reveal the real name of the studio in a general weekly magazine. Nishimura further said that the studio did the mistake of underestimating him.
“I will do it. The company that produced the anime that did not pay the production fee two and a half years ago, will be published in a general weekly magazine under their real name. After consulting with attorneys and others, we will also consider criminal proceedings,” Nishimura tweeted.
The director is also looking to sue the parent company’s labor union and the distribution companies after they released the DVDs of the series without payments being cleared.
“The DVD is being distributed without payment, and we will sue the parent company’s labor union and each of the distribution companies first. You underestimated us, remember,” the director wrote in his tweet.
Nishimura said that it will be a while before the article is published. He also added that there were also interviews related to this matter.
According to Nishimura’s claims, the anime in question was produced/released sometime during mid 2019. In this period, he was credited as an episode director for Boruto (the last episode which he directed aired on Jan 6, 2019), animated by Studio Pierrot and Bermuda Triangle: Colorful Pastrale (which aired from Jan to March 2019), animated by Seven Arcs Pictures.
Fans responded with messages of support to the director, as they condemned the bad practices in the industry. Many also hoped for the situation to improve so that staff members can get a decent pay.
This isn’t the first time a prominent figure in the anime industry has taken to social media to complain about lack of pay.
In 2019, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind animation director Kohei Ashiya had revealed a similar issue, where he was not paid for his work 60 days after the anime’s last episode had aired.
Ashiya, who had working in the anime from the first episode, joked that he participated in the production for free. However, in order to avoid any misunderstandings, he later clarified that he hadn’t agreed to work as a volunteer.
Nishimura himself has been vocal about the downside of the anime industry in the past. In a tweet that he published in 2021, the director said that his lawyers were shocked to hear that his anime work doesn’t involve a contract.
“I want to do my best to help straighten out this industry which is rife with sexual harassment and power harassment. By doing that, I’d be out of a job (awkward smile). I want to rectify the problems with the help of the Directors Guild of Japan,” Nishimura wrote in his tweet.
Nishimura is a member of the Directors Guild of Japan. He has been involved in the animation industry for over 20 years and has worked as an episode director and on the storyboards of various anime.
He was most recently involved in the anime Combatants Will Be Dispatched and Wixoss Diva(A)Live for which he served as a episode director.