Artists from Death Note and Trigun Stampede have formed a new anime group to improve working conditions

Artists who have worked on popular anime series such as Death Note and Trigun Stampede are joining forces to combat the toxic culture of grueling work and inadequate pay that plagues their industry.

Taking a stand against the dire working conditions prevalent in the anime world, these creative professionals have established the Nippon Anime & Film Culture Association (NAFCA). Founding members of NAFCA include Masaru Kitao, an animator and lead character designer for Death Note, and Naomichi Yamao, an animation director with notable credits including Trigun Stampede and Fairy Tail. On May 19, the group held a press conference to raise awareness about the need for improved working conditions in anime production and fair remuneration for the demanding hours animators put in every day.

During the press conference, NAFCA highlighted several critical concerns shared by animators in the industry. One prominent issue is the stark disparity between the immense popularity and profitability of anime and the inadequate compensation received by the artists who bring these creations to life. NAFCA argues that the current structure of the industry leaves many artists living in poverty, relying on support from fans. They assert that this broken system needs to be rectified to ensure a sustainable and thriving animation sector. The concerns voiced by NAFCA echo those raised in various artistic fields worldwide, including the ongoing Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, which exposed grievances related to low pay and excessive work hours. NAFCA expressed its aspirations to not only address the challenges faced by animators but also work towards resolving broader issues of employment inequality in collaboration with the Japanese government.

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In addition to the already inhospitable working conditions, animators now face the emerging threat of artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Recent headlines from China revealed how studios started replacing artists with AI, and while Japanese animation has not fully embraced this technology, the manga industry has seen some inroads with the creation of an AI manga writing tool by two Shōnen Jump+ editors. A recent survey confirmed that nearly all Japanese artists harbor concerns about the impact of AI on their livelihoods, indicating that NAFCA may have to grapple with this significant workplace dilemma as well.

To stay informed about the initiatives and progress of the Nippon Anime & Film Culture Association, interested individuals can visit their official website. By joining forces and advocating for change, these artists from Death Note and Trigun Stampede aspire to create a more sustainable and equitable future for all those involved in the anime industry.

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