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The translation is very rough because I did it very quickly, but forgive me, because it is worth reading. Seriously.

The interview of Kim Hyeon-tae, who works in Japanese animation business.

Q : Do you have any hobby not including your job?
I had. When I was in Korea I did swing dance for about 2 years but after I got employed I haven't had any time to go dancing.
So now I make Gundam plamodels in my home. I don't color them and just assemble them for now.

Q : Why do you think you are so busy like that?
It is simple. Production cost.

Money. The reason we are busy is money. I don't know how animation making costs in Korea now,
but in Japan it's about 12~15 million yen for a show? There are even 10 million shows when they're small.
To make it simple, if a show costs 10 million then the company should save at least 20% so the actual production cost should be 8 million.
But the money doesn't all go to drawing and painting. It includes the personnel expenses of the company.
Those employees are nine-to-fivers. The more time it takes to make a show, more money should be given to them.
And the money for sound director. A sound director hires voice actors and sound team with the money. The rest should be his/her share.
Then the money for art team and filming team. No matter what you do, this cost doesn't ever change.
Excluding this cost, there aren't big money left.

An episode is made of 250~300 cuts, and it varies in companies but some companies restrict the numbers of pictures per episode 3000~4000. Because it's related to making cost.
To reduce the personnel expenses they should shorten the time of producion.
When making a show sometimes the budget goes over. When I first when to Japan I was payed 4500 yen per cut. But it's reducing more and more.
4300, 4000, 3800. 3500... The minimum wage of Japan is 160 thousands yen per month.
If a cut pays 4000 then to earn 160 thousands I should draw 40 cuts per month.

It's very, very hard. 40 cuts for a month means I should draw one and more cuts in one day, right?
If the show is simple then it's easy but if the art is elaborate, it's hard to draw even one cut in one day.
Those people's life is worse then the minimum wagers. So they just need more jobs. So they prefer simple and quick jobs.

Of course Japan animation business world is better than Korea. Frankly speaking, there's nothing in Korea.
(Japan is)Better then Korean. But that isn't a perpect system.
A newbie animator is payed less then 160 thousands per month. They can't pay for their house.
To live on they should just draw for any shows possible.

Q : What do you hate about making animations in Japan then?
What do I hate? Everything. *laughs* The one thing is the cost.
But it's not a matter that can be discussed easily.
I want a circumstance where animators can be payed fairly as they worked.
The job is very hard. Everybody started the job because they love animes, but they are payed less than minimum wage.
It's full of people in the poor strata the government says about...
They can't date other people because they are too busy, they can't get married, they are now in their 40s and 50s...
Saying 'you guys loved anime and risked this life when starting the job' is too cruel.
To say roughly, it means that you should abandon your life as a human being and do the anime job.
'You started because you liked' is such a irresponsible statement.

You know what's funny. They tried hard to do what they like and live a harsh life,
while in Samsung or Toyota there are people who do what they don't like and live a wealthy life.

Do you think this is right?

I don't think so. That's what I hate most. Not only for me but my for coworkers too.
I firmly believe that there must be a way we can work more like a human being,
but I can't see any attitude, thinking or action for such world. we hate that most.

Q : Tell me more about Japanes otakus.
Japanese otakus hate simple stories.
But what is self-contradictory is, they hate simple stories but they love "K-ON".

"K-ON" doesn't have any plot, it is all about eating cakes and talking, and they love it.
It(the animation world) should be seen in another point of view, and yet everyone just look at otakus.
The pie of business is already small. The animation boom started with "Evangelion" was at peak at 2003.
"Suzumiya Haruhi" narrowly kept it till 2006 then it's been a downfall.
It's because nobody wants to invest since the popular animes they supported 2,3 years ago just failed in 2006.
So they must think about creating another new market, but they are still just looking at otakus.
They say their shows are universal and fun. But ordinary people don't watch them. Nobody watches them.

Q : Do Japaneses really watch animes a lot?
You think Japan is all about anime? Nobody watches them. Seriously, nobody.
The 'non-otaku normal citizens' maybe watch "Sazae-san", "Precure", "Chibi Maruko-chan" or "Meitantei Conan".
Except such big shows, normal people doesn't even think about animes.
When I say that they should make something for everyone even if means risking dangers, they say that there is Gjibli Studio.
But the business world doesn't treat Gjibli as 'anime'.
It is not included in anime business but they always include Gjibli when talking about anime, so it's really contradictory.
They say wasn't "NARUTO" big success in the world, but "NARUTO" wasn't targeted to the world when it was made.
It was completely for Japaneses, but accidentally foreigners loved it too.
It is ridiculous to see it as a success.
We should see something intended to success, and it's wrong to treat something coincidental as a result.

But because of otakus' fault, the investors and makers must make shows for otakus.
The reason the animation business is this rough and horrible now is partly because of the consumers.
Especially because of otakus.
Of course we should be thankful for them for spending their money because they love,
but as a result, under this circumstance we must make shows only for them.
At this point of view, their fault is very big, because they demand us.

Otakus stops every scenes and captures it.
I really can't understand it, but they find some pictures that look weird, then they upload them on internet.
That's really ridiculous, and it harms the business.

For example, Mr. Matsumoto Norio.
He is well known for action scenes, and he is very trusted for the quality.
He did "NARUTO"'s 130 and more episodes almost by himself.
To exaggerate big and excessive actions, he distorts proportion.

Such pictures are seen for very short moments, but it changes the power of the action.
You know the notorious bent neck scene from "NARUTO"?
That was intentional. With that one picture or without it, the next scene's effect changes dramatically.
However, not understanding it, fans say "hey, this is ridiculous!" and upload it.
Then do you know what happens?
The makers are sensitive. They tell the artists not to do so.
That's really stupid. To see what they want, otakus harm the business by themselves.
Personally... I don't want people to do fanboying or fangirling. They make the business harder.

If they say "you guys started the world of otakus!" then I can't defend myself.
However, compare the works of 70s, 80s, 90s and after 2000 then you will understand.
They say now there is more diversity, but no, there isn't.
It's unequally leant to one side.
When "Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei" came out,
many people said that the art is funny. But that was intentional.
It's not funny. It is really natural.
Even in Japan there aren't many people who can draw that freely.
I can't understand otakus saying 'the art is funny so the show is stupid'.
They are the ones harming the diversity of anime.

Q : What do you think about moe animes like "K-ON"?
Personally, about moe characters, moe animes, something like "K-ON"...
I think, to say radically, there must not be one and we must not like it.
It's bad for business. It kills diversity.
They say that the existence of such show means diversity, but if such show make a hit then everybody will doing the same thing.
And the consumers are the ones who make that trend. They can't decide rationally and wisely.
They should know how will their consumption impact the business and what kind of feedback it will bring to themselves,
but they don't think rationally and they just go wild for what they like. The show even had a collaboration with a convinience store chain!
I know they aren't the major, but I can't understand those people buying useless same fan items for about ten times and boasting about them.
Then other shows will do the same, because it will make the money.
As a result, otakus will say that people don't understand their taste, but it's their fault.
Would normal people think that 'oh, "K-ON" seems to be popular, I should buy their stuff'?
They will think that 'those otakus are creepy'. Too much is truly worse than too less.

Q : Then, what might be "K-ON"'s main factor of popularity?
As an anime concentrated on characters, in the shows like "K-ON" the art is very important.
It caught the girls and the characteristics very well.
The five girls even walk differently. Therefore the fans feel that 'somewhere in this world, such cute girls might exist!'

Q : Will such trend go on?
It's concentrated on characters more than the drama,
so recent animes themselves are just 20-minute commercials for characters.
That is the trend, and it will go on.
Now there are less invest and the business is cold, so I think it will be more like that.
It won't be cured since there aren't an anime normal people can consume.

Q : By the way, the recent animes seem to be just for one broadcast season(13 episodes). Why?
It's because of the budget after all. Again, the watchers made this circumstance.
One anime costs 12~15 million, and we don't know it will be popular or not! And that's just for 20 minutes show.
Rather then wasting 15 million yen, they can make comedy or reality show for one hour with less money.
And more people watch them. The broadcasting stations have no reason to use money for animes.
They have no reason to invest on animes. They don't need to waste their broadcasting time. They don't invest on animes.
But they have the most rights, because the stations are also the distributors.
That is why most of animes are on 1'o clock in the night.
Why would normal people watch animes on 1'o clock in the night?

Q : It seems that DVD selling is important...
They say that selling more than ten thousands would break even.
But do you think there are many shows that sold more than ten thousand DVDs? Not very much.
They said that "Tiger&Bunny" sold about 40 or 50 thousands,
but the problem is that "Tiger&Bunny" sold that much but they also spent about so.
So they barely broke even. They tried that hard but couldn't make much money.
So what's left? They should sell character goods.

Disney can do that. Mickey Mouse is everywhere in everything.
But is there a character in recent anime that can do the same?
They say that anime is character business, but actually there aren't many characters that can be used in marketing.
All they can do is making figures or giving away stationary stuffs on events.
Moreover, doing so is only possible in character-concentrated animes. Other animes are up to selling DVDs then the end.
So that's why there will be more character-concentrated animes.

Q : Among those animes of 2011, which interested you?
Ironically, because I work in anime business I couldn't watch animes a lot.
There are "Madoka★Magica" or "Tiger&Bunny" (that were a big success in 2011)...
I should watch them... I should watch them to analysis why they were popular, but I don't have time and...
Most important, I should feel like watching them to do so, but...*laughs*
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sushikissu Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Student Digital Artist
...I like mah touhous >:U
MREcartoonist Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I use to be an "Otaku" way back in my junior high years. The North American version anyway. I had several friends go to Japan and come back practically hating anime, and they went there because they were "Otakus" to begin with.

Once they began educating me, I took a step back and realized how pathetic it was to LIVE for anime. As an artist I needed to appreciate all forms of art, and not degrade myself to thinking anime was the greatest thing in the world.

Now, anime to me, is just an exceptionally gorgeous style of art. For the most part animes nowadays suck. So I really don't watch them. My finance tends to find animes and "pre-screen" them for quality. If they are worth it, than I'll watch them. Otherwise, I can't be bothered to sort through all the trash...
PlainPaper Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013
Ouch, so much ouch...

was an anime otaku but no more, since i rarely find anime with really nice story without exposing too much fanservice nowadays...
OrangeBlueCream Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I never did get too much into anime, but I did love the style when I was younger, and read a lot of manga. I stopped reading though because the plots were so dang similar that I got bored! Soon I could hardly tell the characters apart because they looked so similar and it seems like there are only 5 or so personalities in manga/anime.

As for anime, they really irritate me. The characters are always yelling and the fight scenes are lame, the animation is boring, sometimes they depend too much on dialog, and sometimes the humor just doesn't translate well. (I do love Ghibli though)

I'm glad to hear that most of Japan aren't otaku, cause the way they are portrayed in manga, and the one I've met here in America.... they really weird me out....
CrustCringle Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012
What a fascinating interview! It is disheartening how many creative properties are becoming worth less and less as time goes on. Thank you for providing the translation.
Rowie-Ann Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012  Student General Artist
I don't like K-ON at all! And now I'm glad I don't.
It is all such a sad story! I really had no idea that this was going on :O
uberkoopa Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
I've heard from a few people that k-on was a great show, and I decided to watch it, knowing it was just a show about nothing, and I liked it. I might be a sucker for cute characters (there, I said it.), but I liked the show for the humor, not solely for the eye candy.

But then I heard some other guys saying that this show is terrible and killing the industry. I liked the show from the first few episodes I watched, but I was afraid that if i kept watching the show and kept liking it, I would be considered 'cancer' supporting the moe craze and killing the industry.

Same with video games. I hear people saying that gaming is dead and Call of Duty is horrible and ruining gaming, yet it doesn't look too bad of a game to me, but I'm afraid that if I get into it, I'll be label as 'cancer'; I've seen it happen to people.

But reading this... am I really the cancer killing anime because I like slice of life shows about nothing? Am I really cancer to gaming because I don't mind Call of Duty? Everyone is indirectly trying to turn me into a cynical guy who thinks that all hope is dead, everything's gone to shit, and creativity no longer exists, but I don't think that way, I still believe there is a light out there. I've watched good modern anime, I've played modern games that weren't just monochrome war shooters, but maybe I'm just a sheep for thinking that way...
uberkoopa Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012
Should I stop watching k-on? I like it, but seeing everyone here saying things like "I'm so glad I hate k-on now more than ever"... I almost feel like a villain for watching it. I thought I was funny, does that make me a bad guy for not hating this show? I don't really think that it's doing too much harm! Since when does liking a show turn you into 'cancer'?
ki-ri-01 Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist
Thanks for the translation, it was very interesting to read!
Sadly, I agree with a lot of the things mentioned in this interview, particularly the point about diversity~
I don't really know enough about the industry or watch anime enough to make a more in depth comment ^^;
chibikeiichi Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, this is definitely sad to hear. I knew about how working as an animator or comic book artist in Japan was extremely stressful and paid terribly, so this sounds about right. I'm kind of surprised to hear how the guy basically just came right out and bashed otaku, and I wouldn't doubt there will be some kind of outcry from the otaku in Japan. I suppose since this guy is Korean and not native Japanese it's not as surprising that he would be more bold about his sentiments.

Anyway, I definitely agree about the K-ON thing. I STILL don't understand why the series was so popular. It's basically just good animation and nothing else. The show really pissed me off because it basically tells people (subliminally), that you can just goof off and do whatever the heck you want without any practice or work, and when the time comes for you to do the real deal, you'll be able to pull it off without a problem.

As for DVD sales, I think it's hard to be making strong judgements right now. The whole world is in a pretty terrible economic situation which started in 2007, possibly a little earlier. Maybe other people are in better situations than me, but I can't even afford to buy all of the anime DVD/BD that I want. Trust me, if I had the money, I would totally buy the stuff, but I just don't have it. I think that is very likely the situation with a lot of people, though I'm sure there are plenty who will just upload/download anime and not even care, but that's another discussion for another day.
CaramelCookie Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
It's sad, but that's the way the "market" works, being the product anime, clothing, etc...
There are still a lot of good animes, tough. Poor guy, who doesn't even find time to watch any... :(
Nyanobyte Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
I haven't been able to finish an anime in years. This really confirms a lot of my fears.

I hope we can see a day where the anime industry goes back to how it used to be! But... Maybe not.. : c
firelight-Elsa Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Student Writer
Wow, I guess this gave me more reason not to watch anime anymore.

The main reason I stopped, though, was because plotlines were no longer interesting for me and because the telly now offered me American or British drama series.
PuddingValkyrie Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It sucks that anime is just like evrything else in the end... I mean, I knew that.. but it's like popular stuff will sell, but that limits diversity and thus the market... and again this is a reminder that people shoul be buying their DVDs and not just pirating everything....
Levsta Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
Meh, I've known this since plenty long ago. Doesn't really bother me, and still doesn't.
cigar-blues Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
Thank you for sharing this with us, It's always interesting and worthwhile to find out the other side of the story.

Companies being forced to cater to otakus is awful :'C
Akira-Itsuki Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This interview kinda brings anime culture to home a bit.
You always tend to think it's so much different to the west but at the end of the day it's the same thing.
Person likes one thing, doesn't want the next thing to be different, everything gets copy and pasted, non-fans start to dislike it and then is left redundant after a certain period of time.
This is EXTREMELY similar to the current western video game industry.
We have company's churning out the same thing over and over and over again because they know people like it.
Now it's rare to see a decent, non-mainstream game.

I agree with him though. Company's need to take more risks nowadays. I understand it's more simple to say than do as obviously you have a lot to be responsible for.
However as I (and many others I'm sure) can see it. In the near future we are going to see the end of the anime and video games we used to know. A new era of Virtual reality war games and same-s**t anime will begin and A LOT of fans will be turning to new hobby's.

What this guy speaks is the truth and it's not a case of him being bitter because of the job itself.
I've studied a lot into the different media industrys at college and uni and let me tell you, over the next few years don't except to see anything that'll give you that same feeling watching/playing as it did a few years back (I'm not talking about nostalgia by the way).

It's through seeing these horrible issues and sharing them can they change for the better.
Not pretending they don't exist because your satisfied with the same mainstream crap...

Sorry if I came across as rather bitter myself but I hate picky and selfish consumers.
dollphinwing Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Unfortunately the fans are impossible to please, everyone only likes what they know and are afraid of change. Why don't people like those video games that are different and beautiful yet they flop? People just don't like it cuz it's different and it's not what they know. It's a sad truth.
Akira-Itsuki Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I could not agree with you any more.
It is indeed a sad truth.
Hopefully it'l change.
dollphinwing Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
This all sounds about right, everyone doing the same thing in anime to generate sales. I've only met one person who actually watches anime from Japan so far too. I happen to like the show K-On even if it's just cute girls running around being cute. Otaku guys also like that type of show because cute is considered sexy in that culture. Although the person being interviewed sounds really bitter just about having a tough job and not having any free-time. It sounds like he just really hates his life right now but it'd be too hard to find a different job? I don't like reading about this kind of thing, it makes me feel sad and cynical more and more, now I can't even watch something without finding something wrong about it because everyone is always saying bad things about anime and other entertainment in general. The "otaku" are just impossible to please.
Rollinlol95 Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
And who will hire him then? I hear alot of people who can't find a job or take a job, and it's not even their fault.
dollphinwing Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
That's what I mean, he can't get another job because it would be too hard to even get hired or start from the bottom so he's probably upset about that as well.
Cindysuke Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Most animaters had started their jobs because they were anime fans, and they chose the jobs with the love. I think they are the ones who knows best of the changes of anime of those years. Maybe they want to do what they like best, but with less financial pressure and more diverse shows. I used to watch animes, but now I don't watch any new show especially the moe stuffs. That doesn't mean that I don't like animations. I just hope there will be more shows many people can enjoy, not just fangirls and otakus, because anime should be so. Maybe he, too, is sick of commercialism and 'moe'.
LuLu-Bubbles Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
I'm not really a hipster (by far) but this is why I hate mainstream anime - because it's always the same sort of plot, always the same type of characters, always the cute one, mysterious one, smart one, goofy one.

I think it's because of this that anime's don't really get as much credit as they much. Because it really is the otakus that complain about something being different.
Cindysuke Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't watch mainstream shows too. The stereotypes are really boring and the art styles all look same. And more and more people start to think that anime is for kids or (pervert) otakus.
LuLu-Bubbles Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
I know - even I could come up with more unique ideas. But no, they have to play it safe and give what Otakus want... -.-
They're too afraid to change when it could pay off.
Teddypotts Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is such an eye-opener, thank you so much for the translation. I can really appreciate the pressures of the animators even more now and my suspicions about the business and how the "Otaku/Weeaboo" generation that has created this beast.

Do you mind if I share this with my watchers? Many of them could do with reading this.
Cindysuke Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sure, just mention the source please! :)
Teddypotts Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Of course I will, I do intend to plug you as much as possible for this :)
Cherimoya-chan Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Student General Artist
That's... so incredibly depressing. :iconorzplz:
Cindysuke Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Rynxo Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Student General Artist
Although I'm not consider myself as anime fan, it was a really interesting interview. And, sadly, I'm not surprised and to say more - I think the situation in japanese animation business actually is reflected in the rest of culture. Nowadays, when people have internet access they can easily reach various artists, film producers etc. and indicate their expectations. The creators want to satisfy cosumers (for $$$ of course) even if it has negative influence on plot, characters, visuals. Everything is going down.
On dA is no different. If you want to be popular, you have to draw fanarts because that's the type of art which other deviants enjoy the most. Okay, I know there are lot of exeptions! but in the end... nobody really cares about somebody's own creations, no matter how good could they be.

Anyway, thanks for translation!
Cindysuke Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're welcome. I guess it's human nature... I understand you well because that's what I have been always thinking, and today I found a proof.
Sarahfina-Rose Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Student Filmographer
Wow, situational irony, much?
Cindysuke Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:shrug: Glad I'm not an anime fan. Well it can be applied to every kind of pop culture though.
Sarahfina-Rose Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Student Filmographer
I'm not a fan either either but even if I were it probably wouldn't bother me as much. She probably just took the job because she needed it and she has the skills, but she's not a fan. I guess it's a stereotype to say that everyone who works in the anime industry is an otaku.
RakmiFromSundown Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
Damn, now I hate myself and everyone else. Even more.
Cindysuke Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sigh... it's not easy to support anything.
RakmiFromSundown Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
You can say that again.
TreeFrogly Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
wow, thanks for the translation. I really enjoyed reading that.
I'd read something similar to this on a blog by someone who lives in Japan.
But I had no idea that screencaps could be so harmful the the industry.
If I like an anime I always try to buy some merch or a DVD. Just because it doesn't air in my country, that's no excuse for ripping off the people who worked hard on it.
Cindysuke Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah... If you like it, support it! And I hope there will be more original and diverse shows for all people, because it's true that it's losing difference.
ParadiseSunflowers Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
I agree, people always criticize me for spending money in manga or merchandise since one can find them for free on the web, but it's not like the people who draw or animate are machine who doesn't need money to survive. It's a way to support them.
Illzie Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Wow. Just as someone who genuinely enjoys watching animation, anime, western cartoons, etc, I find this interview to be extremely depressing. Just the fact that Otaku are ruining the thing they fawn over is horribly ironic.
Cindysuke Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah... such a sad reality... Anime is not only for otakus and everyone should know that. Especially otakus.
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