A Twitter user, HikozaTwi, posted an update on Dec 24, 2021, revealing a complaint left hidden by an animator in the 1988 cyberpunk action film Akira. The complaint was about the staggering amount of detailing required in the movie.
It can be found around the 38-minute-mark under a “caution” warning on a piece of equipment.
It may appear at first as if the message on the sign is written in English, but it’s actually Japanese that was written in the Latin script.
In English, the text translates to: Why do we have to draw this far! Knock it off! Enough
Twitter user @haru__G7 found out this was not the first time animators have tried to blow off steam through their work. They pointed out that one of the Gundam movie scenes too can be translated from Japanese written in English letters as: Hooray! I’m done. Now I can move on to something else.
Incidentally, VFX artist Yonghow Vong unveiled another instance of a hidden message in episode 7 of Otomo’s Freedom Project.
Gundam comic artist/Freedom concept artist Sono-san requested the use of the name of the VFX artist’s hometown (Bishan, a place in Singapore) to appear in this shot.
The overworked cry and plea of animators in Japan are not a myth in the industry. Animator-Director Ippei Ichii on July 2, 2021, explained in a series of tweets on how Netflix got their job of producing anime done through MAPPA at dirt-cheap rates, putting the streaming giants and production studio in the spotlight.
Originally the manga, Akira, debuted in 1982 and finished its run in 1990. Creator Katsuhiro Otomo adapted it to a feature film in 1988, writing the script and directing the movie. The movie premiered in Japan on July 16, 1988, where it was distributed by Toho. It’s gone on to become one of the most influential manga and anime ever, and its mark on popular culture continues to be felt even today.
The film had a production budget of ¥700 million ($5.5 million), making it the most expensive anime film at the time (until it was surpassed a year later by Kiki’s Delivery Service).