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How Much Does One Episode of Anime Cost To Make?

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#1
Oct 30, 2011 1:37 PM

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I read this on Crunchyroll and I thought this was worth sharing here.
--

In the November 5th issue of Shūkan Tōyō Keizai, which goes on sale Monday in Japan, a special report looks at the balancing act between quality and cost in the Japanese entertainment industry. The anime section of it breaks down the expenses associated with producing a TV anime series. So how much does one episode cost to make?

According to an investigation by Media Development Research Institute Inc., a 30 minute episode of a TV anime in 2010 that totaled 11,000,000 yen (about US $145,214 at the current exchange rate) consisted of the following expenses:

(Note: All US dollar conversions are approximate based on current exchange rate.)

Original work - 50,000 yen ($660)
Script - 200,000 yen ($2,640)
Direction - 500,000 yen ($6,600)
Production - 2 million yen ($26,402)
Animation Supervision - 250,000 yen ($3,300)
Original Art - 1.5 million yen ($19,801)
Animation - 1.1 million yen ($14,521)
Post-production - 1.2 million yen ($15,841)
Art (backgrounds) - 1.2 million yen ($15,841)
Photography - 700,000 yen ($9,240)
Sound - 1.2 million yen ($15,841)
Materials - 400,000 yen ($5,280)
Editing - 200,000 yen ($2,640)
Printing - 500,000 yen ($6,600)

If you suppose an average episode has 5,000 frames, the price per frame for the actual drawings is 220 yen or just under three bucks, which apparently is a rate that hasn't really changed much in the past 30 years. Japan Animation Creators Association rep, Osamu Yamasaki, commented [roughly translated], "30 years ago it was said that one person would draw 1,000 frames per month, but now if you can do 500, that's considered good." Under these circumstances, it's no wonder young animators are having trouble making it in the industry.

The article also has a comment from producer Tomohiko Ishii of Production I.G., whose full CG film 009 RE:CYBORG is coming to theaters in the fall of next year: "Japanese people like hand-drawn animation. Realistic CG like they produce in Hollywood doesn't sell in Japan." Currently CG costs more than hand-drawn animation, but it's expected in the future that it will be cheaper and faster. The idea is not to completely do away with hand-drawings, since character design and CG modeling still have to be done by artists...

Personally, I'm not sure I see how making animation cheaper and faster addresses the issue of low wages for artists, but our source for this post, Japanimate, seems to think there is some hope. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
 
#2
Oct 30, 2011 1:43 PM

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That's pretty expensive stuff there, I'd be able to afford the original work though.
 
#3
Oct 30, 2011 1:47 PM

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dear lord... ;_;

 
#4
Oct 30, 2011 1:48 PM

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I knew it was a lot but wow.... Over 1 mil to make a one season show?
 
#5
Oct 30, 2011 1:48 PM

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I knew it was expensive but holy cow! that's more expensive than I thought.

Thanks for sharing.
 
#6
Oct 30, 2011 1:49 PM

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dis aint cheap... :3 but then again, how much do you think a average live action movie costs..?

and you know, there is no way to tell exactly how much each part costs as it is customized to each show.. angel beats for example, they had so much more music made for that show and changed the op/ed in every episode (which may have been somewhat the cause they decited not to make the series too long). but yeah, this kind of expansions will alway's cost a price.

/me bitching :Þ
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#7
Oct 30, 2011 2:00 PM

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What the fuck? Never noticed how much money everything was. XP
 
#8
Oct 30, 2011 2:09 PM

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Average Gonzo produced anime episode costs about 5yen.
 
#9
Oct 30, 2011 2:10 PM

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:'(
Courtesy of Paul
 
Oct 30, 2011 2:27 PM

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wow , but it compenses , due the money the gain from every part of the world!
Anime is a great thing.
 
Oct 30, 2011 2:32 PM

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They must make something from the ADS if any, and the sales in DVDs are 10x in Japan than they are here.
 
Oct 30, 2011 2:39 PM

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This is good info. I've been looking for stuff like this lately just to compare to live action. If I recall correctly, a post somewhere says the live action Heroes show cost like 5 million per episode. I'm too lazy to dig up that info now, for accurate comparison but it would be nice if somebody did.

Fate zero is taking my time.
 
Oct 30, 2011 2:52 PM

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Damn.
 
Oct 30, 2011 3:18 PM

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I had a momentary seizure reading those digits. Holy hell.
 
Oct 30, 2011 4:56 PM

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mellors said:
Average Gonzo produced anime episode costs about 5yen.

Yeh, they were saving their money for this Season's Last Exile based on the looks of it. FOR YEARS!!
 
Oct 30, 2011 5:03 PM

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You know it's really never even something I thought about, I perhaps may have wondered upon maybe how much to make an entire series but seeing how much per episode blew my mind

Very interesting and thank you for posting this here.
 
Oct 30, 2011 5:05 PM

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Appel_stroop said:
That's pretty expensive stuff there, I'd be able to afford the original work though.


That's the cost of doing business. Those numbers aren't that high.

 
Oct 30, 2011 5:33 PM

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To think that amount of money was used to produce something like Hidan no Aria
Even when I was in crowd, I was always alone
 
Oct 30, 2011 5:35 PM

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Confucius said:
To think that amount of money was used to produce something like Hidan no Aria


Strangely, this makes me want to see this show.
"Yes, I have been deprived of emotion. But not completely. Whoever did it, botched the job."

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Oct 30, 2011 5:42 PM

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QysteiN said:
totaled 11,000,000 yen (about US $145,214)
Original work - 50,000 yen ($660)


^.-


 
Oct 30, 2011 5:50 PM

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insan3soldiern said:
Confucius said:
To think that amount of money was used to produce something like Hidan no Aria


Strangely, this makes me want to see this show.


Trust me, I think we can agree on this one
Even when I was in crowd, I was always alone
 
Oct 30, 2011 6:10 PM

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Confucius said:
insan3soldiern said:
Confucius said:
To think that amount of money was used to produce something like Hidan no Aria


Strangely, this makes me want to see this show.


Trust me, I think we can agree on this one


I just added it on my PTW list ♥
 
Oct 31, 2011 6:29 AM

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Kuramii said:
I knew it was expensive but holy cow! that's more expensive than I thought.

Thanks for sharing.

Np :3
 
Oct 31, 2011 6:36 AM

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Sucks for the failed series eh?

▬▬▬▬ [color=black][u]weibo[/color][/u]김유정[u]Instagram[/u] ▬▬▬▬
 
Oct 31, 2011 6:49 AM

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It only seems expensive to you folk when that figure is up there by itself, but compared to major TV animation projects out there it's actually pretty darn cheap.
 
Oct 31, 2011 7:19 AM

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They could give it sooner xD
I was writing a licenciate work about anime industry in japan and internationalization of Disney there. I could put it here but it is in polish-even the scheme is in polish.

I've found:

Astro Boyearned 450000000 USD.
Anime industry is worth 207 Bilions=97,1Bilions in 2005- games, 80 Bilions from advert, 2,6 bilions from posters, 27,4 Bilions from cinema movies tickets.
Animators earn ~~3 milion yen-30.000 USD per 100 TV series.
2 Bilions per year is yearned from anime, games, toys from it.
~~16.2 Bilions of yen is earned from Dvd and licences -year 2005.
~~92,000 USD-10milion yen per 20minute ep. Only escaflone was very expensive 350,000 USD : O

* Most of TV broadcast expenses are covered from high blue-ray/dvd prices and +18 anime transmited at night.
It is like this, for in 60's one guy Tezuka I quess tried to put animation into TV, for cinemas wasn't enough for anime industry. Nowadays each animation studio is struggling with production expenses and try to go back to non-paid tv station era.

Here you go some polish pictures:
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/827/50610352.png/
Modified by batonik, Oct 31, 2011 2:59 PM
xxx
 
Oct 31, 2011 1:43 PM

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They obviously make enough money to keep doing it!
Eureka Seven: Making grown men cry since 2006. Literally the best anime ever. ( I don't say that lightly!).

 
Oct 31, 2011 2:58 PM

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A bit man a bit . You have to love it.
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/521/kaneganai.jpg/
xxx
 
Oct 31, 2011 3:56 PM

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Serduszko said:
A bit man a bit . You have to love it.
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/521/kaneganai.jpg/


What bit? The only numbers you've researched have been costs but have not cover just how much money anime producers make from merchandising.

 
Oct 31, 2011 4:18 PM

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A little I mean. And it goes to animatiors and other minor guys. They earn little money, which covers all expenses and some cash is left. It is stright from some interview with naruto worker. So I don't give a de.mn if one do not believe me.

just how much money anime producers make from merchandising.- SO U ARE BLIND.
Merchandising =games, posters, dvds and etc? Correct me if I'm wrong. If not I wrote that. It is given overall but you can divide? Can't you?
xxx
 
Oct 31, 2011 4:37 PM

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The wage animators and minor guys earn is part of the cost involved in making anime, as seen in the first post. What I am talking about is how much money anime makes after it has been made. That would be called revenue not wages.

just how much money anime producers make from merchandising.- SO U ARE BLIND.
Merchandising =games, posters, dvds and etc? Correct me if I'm wrong. If not I wrote that. It is given overall but you can divide? Can't you?

Not blind and I am not forming the conclusion that each anime producer is struggling nowadays because they are taking in 10x the money it takes to produce an anime. Some studios are closing/closed and some studios are experiencing record highs, what about that is new when it comes to individual businesses within an industry?

 
Aug 16, 2012 5:04 PM

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Hot damn.
 
Aug 16, 2012 5:13 PM

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I knew it was expensive but that's way more from what i was thinking
This world...is rotten
 
Aug 16, 2012 5:16 PM

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It would be interesting to see the profits after the investment.

Behold of my awesomeness~
 
Aug 16, 2012 5:31 PM

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holy crap
 
Aug 16, 2012 5:39 PM

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Going by this info, assuming an average of 150m yen for a 12-13 ep series, a series would need to sell roughly 5k BDs/DVDs average per volume just to break-even going purely on disc sales alone.

If we add in increase in source material sales ( LN/VN/Manga ) and other merchandise, it's likely much lower than 5k.

Chihayafuru is a good example where it sold an average of 2.5k BDs/DVDs yet is getting a second season because the manga got a huge boost in sales.

Pretty interesting stuff.
 
Aug 16, 2012 6:22 PM

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And you got SHAFT making anime right and left...
 
Aug 16, 2012 6:38 PM

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BatoKusanagi said:
And you got SHAFT making anime right and left...
Shaft has made over 8 billion yen purely from disc sales just from 3 shows so it's not too much of a surprise :P
 
Aug 16, 2012 8:58 PM

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Yeah that sounds about right. People get so shocked about the costs of episodes and the costs of this and that.
But $145,000 per episode on average... not THAT much.. seeing as a 1 hour episode of Game of thrones costs nearly $5million .A budget of $45 million for season 1. Which has 10 episodes.

Just because it's "anime" and doesn't need "actors" it's cheaper, but as we can see voice actors aren't cheap either.

It's not even an unrealistic amount if you look at it... actually anime is SUPER cheap to produce.. It's just such a low paying field (because it's not aired internationally.. and a lot of people just download anime.. and then no one needs to buy the boxed sets etc.) the anime usually stop.. unless it hits big internationally..
 
Aug 16, 2012 9:06 PM

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Zanzie said:
It's not even an unrealistic amount if you look at it... actually anime is SUPER cheap to produce.. It's just such a low paying field (because it's not aired internationally.. and a lot of people just download anime.. and then no one needs to buy the boxed sets etc.) the anime usually stop.. unless it hits big internationally..


I'm pretty sure no anime needs international success to continue. Of course that conclusion is from looking at the Japanese TV ratings and seeing that the top shows have either never left Japan or failed miserably for distributors.

 
Aug 16, 2012 9:24 PM

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Anime_Name said:
Zanzie said:
It's not even an unrealistic amount if you look at it... actually anime is SUPER cheap to produce.. It's just such a low paying field (because it's not aired internationally.. and a lot of people just download anime.. and then no one needs to buy the boxed sets etc.) the anime usually stop.. unless it hits big internationally..


I'm pretty sure no anime needs international success to continue. Of course that conclusion is from looking at the Japanese TV ratings and seeing that the top shows have either never left Japan or failed miserably for distributors.


It's a little more than that.. I've seen anime's that had to end because the pilot episode didn't have enough success, but the station asked for 1 season so the anime ends, the manga continues. (cheaper that way) I'm not saying EVERY anime needs to make money to continue. A lot of fan service animes were designed to just make money. But only get 1 season, even if they made a lot of money. Sometimes the writer of the manga sells the original works, and continues with it.. and notices the anime doesn't bring the manga the "respect" it deserves and refuses to sell the rights.

I just compared the prices to produce an anime season and a TV show season.. it also shows a lot of anime profit margins don't come from people watching the TV show it's also from DVD sales/box set sales/toys/plushies etc. it's all a market in that sense..

Look I've seen some amazing anime that have been only great in Japan.. but only 1 season. A lot of the shows end but the manga continues.. usually if the manga continues and the anime continues.. the anime is very well known internationally (Bleach/Naruto/One Piece examples), although I would love to know animes that aren't well known and continue along as the manga keeps going (I haven't followed many new anime/manga since I don't like watching unfinished series...I dislike waiting for the next week or such. There have been exceptions, but not many).
 
Aug 16, 2012 9:24 PM

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...Holy Kami-sama. LOL And that's why a lot of animes are super short D:

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Aug 16, 2012 9:33 PM

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Zanzie said:
Anime_Name said:
Zanzie said:
It's not even an unrealistic amount if you look at it... actually anime is SUPER cheap to produce.. It's just such a low paying field (because it's not aired internationally.. and a lot of people just download anime.. and then no one needs to buy the boxed sets etc.) the anime usually stop.. unless it hits big internationally..


I'm pretty sure no anime needs international success to continue. Of course that conclusion is from looking at the Japanese TV ratings and seeing that the top shows have either never left Japan or failed miserably for distributors.


It's a little more than that.. I've seen anime's that had to end because the pilot episode didn't have enough success, but the station asked for 1 season so the anime ends, the manga continues. (cheaper that way) I'm not saying EVERY anime needs to make money to continue. A lot of fan service animes were designed to just make money. But only get 1 season, even if they made a lot of money. Sometimes the writer of the manga sells the original works, and continues with it.. and notices the anime doesn't bring the manga the "respect" it deserves and refuses to sell the rights.

I just compared the prices to produce an anime season and a TV show season.. it also shows a lot of anime profit margins don't come from people watching the TV show it's also from DVD sales/box set sales/toys/plushies etc. it's all a market in that sense..

Look I've seen some amazing anime that have been only great in Japan.. but only 1 season. A lot of the shows end but the manga continues.. usually if the manga continues and the anime continues.. the anime is very well known internationally (Bleach/Naruto/One Piece examples), although I would love to know animes that aren't well known and continue along as the manga keeps going (I haven't followed many new anime/manga since I don't like watching unfinished series...I dislike waiting for the next week or such. There have been exceptions, but not many).

Look, I am not talking about any of your money comments. My issue is the line about a show needing international success in order to continue.

Those great only in Japan anime won't be getting additional seasons based on any international success they may garner. Yes, there will be special circumstances when foreign companies actually pay for more but those are exceptions.

 
Aug 16, 2012 9:40 PM

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So wait.

you aer telling me that one episode of anime cost US $145,214?

 
Aug 19, 2012 8:39 AM

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juniiflow said:
So wait.

you aer telling me that one episode of anime cost US $145,214?



http://vimeo.com/41219207

This woman created a short animated clip in 6 months for nothing other than a degree. I'm just happy animators get paid a decent wage.
 
Aug 19, 2012 10:46 AM

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Hey Check out Fate/Zero's budget

Original work - 0 yen ($0)
Script - 0 yen ($0)
Direction -0 yen ($0)
Production - 0 yen ($0)
Animation Supervision - 0 yen ($0)
Original Art - 0 yen ($0)
Animation - 11,000,000 million yen ($145,214)
Post-production - 0 million yen ($0)
Art (backgrounds) - 0 million yen ($0)
Photography - 0 yen ($0)

:P

 
Sep 15, 2014 6:07 PM

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Still some people are watching it online free.
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Sep 15, 2014 6:14 PM

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I find those stats to be bullshit, the animation has to be somewhere in the range of $100-200 at most.
 
Sep 15, 2014 7:15 PM

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That's too much imo


"Everything you see on the internet isn't true." -Abraham Lincoln
 
Sep 16, 2014 6:49 PM

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i won't say the budget is low but i was expecting it to be more than 50 mn us dollar
 
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