Author: Gabriel Persechino-Forest Published: February 19th, 2018
Many people have cheered Netflix’ entry into the market as a ray of hope for the many underpaid artists who create the anime we love so much. However, since its arrival, Netflix has brought with it many drawbacks, unfortunate side effects, unwanted changes and letdowns. And now it seems that one of those disappointments is that it has so far failed to improve on the one element people thought justified the content creator’s presence into this foreign market.
Since Netflix’s arrival, creators have seen no change in their working conditions whatsoever. It seems Netflix is pouring all of that money into securing contracts, increasing production value and so on… and is fine with the way the industry works as is as far the staff is concerned. Japanese artists, which includes 3D artists and colorists, have voiced their issues over on Twitter (Many such tweets are now deleted due to creators wanting to keep their jobs) and some went on to post their horrendous average rates for the work they did, which were consistent with the rest of the industry.
A perhaps well known industry voice, and especially relevant for his work as episode director on Devilman Crybaby, Katsunori Shibata, was recently asked how working under Netflix “changed the game” and replied that while restrictions were off on depictions of sex and violence, little changed in the way of working conditions: Schedules were still horrible and it was still up to production committees (You know, the thing people claimed Netflix made irrelevant) to decide on the overall working conditions of the staff. He was adamant that no changes occurred in remuneration and that even if titles perform well, there is still no incentive at all for the people making them, as the system controlling content creation has not changed and Netflix has made no attempt to alter this status quo. Shibata’s claims were backed by another CG artist as well (All claims and statements can be seen in the sources at the end of the article).
As mentioned, the status quo has not changed: Most studios do not have well compensated, full time employees, freelancing with poor pay is still abound… The staff working on the anime we all love are not seeing a dime of this “new way to make anime” or the recently reported “all time high” profits for the industry. It is important that we do not forget ourselves and, most importantly, the content creators as we welcome without a second thought a game changing powerhouse like Netflix; especially when all the game changing seems to involve making the medium mainstream and not improving working conditions for its creators.