Attack on Titan Studio MAPPA Addresses Animator Pay Controversy

MAPPA, the animation studio that produces several popular anime series, including Attack on Titan, Jujutsu Kaisen and the upcoming Chainsaw Man, has released a statement in response to recent claims that allege the studio was underpaying and overworking its staff.

The discussion about how the anime industry compensates its animators came back into the spotlight recently when veteran animator Ippei Ichii accused Netflix of paying animation studios, specifically MAPPA, a lower-than-average rate for its productions, which would then cause the animation studios to pay their animators below average rates as well. Ichii later clarified that they thought the problem was with Netflix, not with MAPPA, saying, "To avoid misunderstanding, I have to say that my issue is with Netflix. For all the exorbitant amount of capital they have, it's a problem that they've started to place orders with such low rates." Regardless, MAPPA felt the need to comment on the situation, and in a statement posted to its official website (translated by Anime News Network,) MAPPA claims it has never offered "unreasonable" pay rates to its staff. The studio claims it offers "a fair rate relative to the budget of the project," which doesn't necessarily refute Ichii's earlier claims. The studio also asserts that it has never forced or coerced staff into working on a project.

Attention was also drawn to MAPPA when a freelance animator who worked with the studio on the most recent season of Attack on Titan accused the company of "factory-like," unhealthy working conditions. The animator accused MAPPA of working them until "the sun came up," and criticized the studio for taking on too many projects. While MAPPA never directly responded to these allegations, the company did recently announce the opening of a new studio building, which was designed with "the intention to improve the workplace environment." The new studio features "an open-space lounge where people can refresh themselves," and a modern design that MAPPA hopes will attract new animators. The new Chainsaw Man anime will be produced within the new building.

The incidents involving MAPPA are just one part of a larger controversy surrounding the entire anime and manga industry, which has been widely criticized for poor treatment and compensation of its artists and animators. In February 2021, The New York Times published a report stating that full-time animators in Japan make as little as $200 USD a month, and alleged that the long hours animators are required to work in order to meet deadlines are a direct violation of Japanese labor laws. While the anime industry is currently booming, the report predicts an eventual crash due to an exodus of experienced talent, who are leaving the anime business in favor of higher paying and less demanding careers in other fields.

Source: Anime News Network

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