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‘Why Don’t You Just Read Manga?’ Veteran Animator Questions Low Cost ‘Light Anime’ Production

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Last week, Imagica Infos a publishing and advertising business centering on light novels and magazines, and printing giant Dai Nippon Printing (DNP) had announced a collaboration to produce “light anime”, a format which includes animating works with about 10% of that of a traditional television anime.

Following the reveal regarding Light Anime, veteran animator Mizue Ogawa, who has worked on Bleach, Attack on Titan and other prominent series, questioned this production method and raised her concerns about how it will change the animation industry.

She wondered if it would be better to read manga or light novels, if the plan was to forcibly push forward the crude “light anime”, which simply relied on partially animated manga panels coupled with voice acting.

If you’re going to make anime that’s this crude and forced, why don’t you just read manga or novels instead? (A simple question). What is light animation? How will the animation field change?,” Ogawa said in her post.

The animator also pointed out in one of her comments that the authors of the original work (manga and light novel) might be expecting to see a solid anime adaptation instead of such “half-baked stuff.”

Ogawa joins the growing number of anime industry veterans, including Masao Maruyama, Yoshiyuki Tomino and Nishii Terumi, who have questioned the direction in which the anime industry is headed.

Maruyama, Tomino and Terumi had all highlighted the lack of training that new animators in the industry received, pointing it out as a major concern. While Maruyama felt this would lead to China overtaking Japan in the future when it came to anime, both Terumi and Tomino felt that it would lead to the decline of anime in the future.

While these veterans called for training and blooding the young animators, Light anime, on the other hand, is taking an entirely different route, which focuses on cutting down the workforce and reducing the time taken to produce anime.

Many fans saw this as a move in which quality was being sacrificed for a cheap procedure, in order to maximize profits and income.

I believe that if the quantity of animators working decreases, it will cause the quality of animation to decline, and as a result, viewers will find animation less appealing, and the company, and the industry, will be on the road to decline,” a fan comment read.

There’s no end to money-making ideas, huh? But whether they’ll be profitable or not is another story,” Ogawa said in another one of her replies.

Light animation is created by cutting out frames and parts from a manuscript with speech bubbles and other elements removed, coloring them, and using motion and 2D techniques to create the video. Various other effects, such as audio and sound, are added to create the composition of the anime.

Check out the following video from a DNP workshop which was conducted on Light Anime earlier in 2023, to see how the production looks.

Here’s another tweet showing how the Light Anime production from a manga will look like!

A team of about 10 people can reportedly produce a light anime in a short period of time, and the production cost is subsequently lesser.

According to the company, this streamlined approach will cater to the growing global demand for easy, fast, and diverse anime content.

Source: X (formerly Twitter)



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