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Veteran Animator Nishii Terumi Warns Anime Industry Will Soon Collapse Without Emphasis On Training

Terumi Nishii Jojo

In a recent post on X (formerly Twitter) animator Nishii Terumi, who has worked as an animation director on various anime such as Jujutsu Kaisen 0 and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures, said that the anime industry was bound to collapse soon.

Terumi isn’t someone who has shied away from pointing out the malpractices in the industry. This time too, she has highlighted an issue, which she feels would make the anime industry come to an abrupt end, once the veterans like Hisashi Kagawa and his generation retire from the industry.

Kagawa is a prominent animation director who has worked on Sailor Moon and other iconic titles.

Terumi wanted to point out that it was high time that the anime industry and studios started taking the aspect of training new animators seriously

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“It’s seriously in dire straits. Once the generation of artists like Mr. Kagawa is gone, everything will come to an abrupt end. We really need to figure out a training scheme before that happens,” Terumi said.

She also added that it would be impossible for anime studios which only cared about numbers to train and develop animators.

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“You can’t rely on production studios because the ones who’ve been nurturing animators up to now are freelance animators. It’s impossible for clueless companies who only understand numbers,” her post read.

Terumi’s posts were essentially connected to the ones that were made by Kagawa himself who had earlier pointed out that animation directors in the industry need to have a certain level of experience, and that the job could be hard for newcomers.

I hope I’m not being misunderstood, but… the reason why there are so many complaints about the animation director (sakkan) in work-related grievances is that the position of an animation director is fundamentally based on having a solid ability to draw layouts and keyframes and being able to reasonably capture character likenesses. This profession is built on the assumption that one has passed through the narrow gate of being able to do these things well. So, if that foundation is not there, it’s natural to wonder, ‘Why’?

To become an animation director in the first place, one needs a certain level of experience and achievements. That’s why I’m always asking ‘Why?’. It’s not easy for new keyframe artists or animators with limited experience (self-assessment).

While production studios often suggest to ‘try out’ someone [new] as an animation director or to give them a chance in production, if it doesn’t work out in the trial, one must make a proper judgement.

I may sound preachy, but I still vividly remember the tension and fear from when I was entrusted with the role of animation director for the first time.

Terumi and Kagawa are not the first people to highlight the issue of training animators and not having experienced staff in the industry.

The founder of MAPPA and Madhouse studios, Masao Maruyama, had also talked about Japan’s anime industry declining due to being fixated on commercialization. According to him, this fixation on churning out money has made the industry lag behind in fostering the next generation of animators.

Source: X (formerly Twitter)

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