For years, Japanese animators and entertainers have been stuck with low wages despite a booming industry. But what happens when something like Netflix arrives with a ton of money? Many are saying that it would give the Japanese anime and entertainment industries a much needed push. And with Netflix revealing their anime slate which is full of great titles such as Gen Urobuchi’s Godzilla: Monster Planet, Fate/Apocrypha, Kakegurui, Blame!, Saint Seiya, Knights of Sidonia, and Little Witch Academia, the Netflix anime revolution has begun.
TBS Radio’s Tama Musubi program recently interviewed Japanese script writer and film critic, Tomohiro Machiyama, and they talked about Netflix’s rise in Japan, where it’s slowly taking root in the country’s local entertainment, movie, and anime industries. When they were talking about anime, there was a comment regarding anime’s “amazing” overseas values. However, Masubi pointed out that creators barely make any money at all, even if their work is a massive success. And then Netflix came to the picture. He said:
It’s amazing, but no money is being invested in Japanese anime at all. Even the In This Corner of the World director [Sunao Katabuchi] was making [the film] on the verge of starvation. He was making the film for five years with no income at all with his wife. Japan, which has squashed and made fun of its anime creators for a long time until now, is going to get big retaliation from Netflix.
As for the live-action series, they don’t have much budget from their own studios in Japan either. For this, Machiyama also said that Netflix’s live-action series have “five times the budget of a Japanese film. Five times [the budget] in one episode.” He said that Netflix is now active in Japan, and “it lets Japanese film directors and anime producers make their works.” Machiyama said that the cooperation allows for the budget for simultaneous releases worldwide. He believes “Japan’s anime industry will soon change completely. And the film industry will also change.”
In Japan, it seems that Netflix is now also offering actors “ridiculous sums of money”. In response to a comment about this, Machiyama said:
There is a big paradigm shift happening in the entertainment industry now. Until now, people making films and anime in Japan have suffered their lives in poverty. Suddenly people with ten or twenty times the budget appeared, and it is becoming a world where they say, ‘it’s okay to make it no matter how much money it takes.’
However, Machiyama also believes that this “paradigm shift” might also escalate to a conflict between the traditional Japanese studios and Netflix. He thinks that a “full-blown war” with Netflix will start in the media world in Japan, and it will look like “an invasion of the former American military.” He advised careful consideration for people involved with Japanese media companies.
As for anime itself, Machiyama says that while it is a great medium itself, its development has been limited because there has been no significant monetary investment.
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