Why Is Anime So Expensive To Make?

By now, you might have watched many animes. But have you ever thought how much money goes into creating a refined final product for anime watchers?

To create an anime, indeed, you need to work hard, but there’s something even more important than that, which is money. People often think that 2D animations are much cheaper than 3D animations. But is it true?

The cost varies depending on the genre quality and story of the anime. Here’s a simple question to help you understand better. Can you compare Boruto’s animation with Naruto’s?

No. The quality of the animation is clearly different. But does that mean it’s not expensive?

Not at all. According to a rough estimate to create a 2D animation of just 60 seconds, expenses can exceed 6000 dollars.

But, if we talk about a complete episode, which is usually more than 30 minutes, the cost increases from $ 10,000 to $ 30,000. Now, you can calculate how much a 12-episode animation can cost.

A lot of money. But there’s much more that you need to know about why animations are so expensive. So, let’s dive in.

Why Is Animation So Expensive To Make?

Creating an anime needs a lot of effort and money. Even if you have the initial budget to create the anime, you need more money to market your animations. Because, after all, you want people to talk about your animation and love them.

But you might wonder, what if I settle for creating a simple animation? The production cost might be low, right?

Wrong.

Because there’s a complete process that goes behind the creation of even a simple animation.

You’ll be surprised to know that anime is a cheaper version of different forms of animation because the style is comparably simple yet attractive. It was developed to reduce the high cost of animation.

But if you’re starting an anime, here’s how the process goes. At every step, you need creativity and money. So here’s the entire process step-by-step, which will help you understand why making anime is so expensive.

Step 1: Concept Phase

The first step is the concept phase. You need a concept around which your story will revolve. The animators design the characters. But it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Because animators often make numerous designs, and after that, one of them is selected. This process is extremely hectic. Once the character design is finalized, the animators test how these characters will move.

Now it’s time to conceptualize various things such as:

  • Lighting
  • Background
  • Style of animation

Suppose the anime character is sweet and bubbly. Then, the animator will set the mood, color, and style according to it. Moreover, it’s also important to ensure that the character matches the story.

It’s the most crucial phase, and many projects fail to go any further after this stage. The lack of creativity can become a huge hurdle in the completion of this phase.

Step 2: Storyboard Phase

After successfully completing the first phase, it’s time to move to the second phase, the storyboard. Every cut, movement, and background is precisely made in this phase.

Do you think having a character drawn is enough for your animation?

Not at all.

You need a background and add movement to the story to make it look eye-catching. So, in this phase, all these things are implemented to level up your animation.

Step 3: Animation Phase

In the animation phase, high-quality animations are made. Artists make the keyframes. In simple words, these are the actions of the characters’ movements, and huge gaps exist between them.

But what if any frame is missing?

Then, other animators have to draw these keyframes. You’ll be surprised that there are around 25 to 30 frames in a single second. Every step has to be drawn neatly to make it look smooth.

At this stage, a lot of money is spent. It is considered one of the most expensive stages of anime creation.

The time will also vary depending on the animation video’s length. Obviously, the budget for a 50-minute animation will be much higher than a 60-second short fan-made animation. Either way, the pricing also increases with the increase in video length.

So, to bring characters to life, you have to pay a high price.

Step 4: Cutting Phase

Now, you’re almost at the end phase of making your anime. At this stage, animated scenes are cut together, and colors, additional fine details, and effects are added.

If you have a small project, the cost will be much less. But if the timeline is tight, then the price rises.

However, even after that, there is one most important thing.

It is giving voice to your characters.

The cost can be lower if you plan to create animation in just one language. However, subtitles, translation, dubbing, and these factors can make anime production extremely expensive.

Even if you don’t want dubbed versions, a soundtrack is a must, such as Rumbling from Attack on Titan and Unravel from Tokyo Ghoul. So what does that mean?

It means you need more money to hire songwriters, singers, etc. If you are looking for a cheap voice-over artist in Japan, you might have a tough time because some professionals are adopting this profession as a career. So, finding a cheap voice artist in Japan can be difficult.

That’s why location plays a huge role in your animation budgets.

Moreover, if you have a complex project, then you need skilled workers. After all the hard work, you get an animation. Depending on the studio, quality, and anime length, it might take two to three months to finish an animation project.

Is It Worth It To Make Your Anime?

If you’re interested in creating your anime, then there are several things you need to consider, and obviously, money is the most important of them all. But should you quit the idea of making animation just because it’s expensive?

No. Not at all.

If you have a story and can draw characters, keep working and share your work on social media. Thanks to technological advancements, it’s easy to reach your target audience.

If you build a community, you can make your dream of creating your anime a reality. You should begin by drawing mangas, webtoons, or comics. That’s how One Punch Man started, as well. Initially, it was just a manga, which later got an anime adaptation.

Another fascinating thing you should know is that most Japanese animations don’t make enough money from just airing anime. Then what do they do?

That’s where merchandising comes in. Also, there are many ways to earn money from anime, such as selling physical copies of the soundtrack, additional content, premium drama CDs, etc. Moreover, these limited editions get sold quickly. So, limited quantity merchandise is a clever strategy to increase your profits.

Because their fan base wants these anime collectibles, it makes them feel more connected to the animation. The Netflix anime industry is at its peak because of streaming sites like Crunchyroll. People are starting to see the potential of the anime and animation industry thriving more than ever.

Will the Anime Genre End Because Of High Costs?

Many people are concerned that anime might stop because of high costs. Why would animation studios create them if it’s so costly?

It’s because the anime industry is becoming huge. In Japan, anime has always been very popular, but now, even in Western countries, people buy movies, host events, do cosplays, etc.

So you can rest assured anime will not die now or even in the next ten years. Its popularity is going to skyrocket.

Conclusion

Now that you have complete information on why anime is so expensive, it’s time to appreciate the efforts these artists put in for anime watchers like us. You might have seen Mappa animators’ exhaustion while making Attack on Titan.

No doubt they delivered the masterpiece, but a wide range of costs and stress goes behind the scenes.

But it’s not only the cost that goes into animation, story writing, etc. It’s much more than that that goes back. The hard work and effort are indeed applaudable. 

If you are also thinking about creating your animation, then the best way is to use social media and create a loyal fanbase. Those who not only motivate you but also support you financially.

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Reki

Reki

I'm Reki, and I'm here to share my undying love for anime with all the weebs. My passion for anime is infectious. I'm like a cupcake-toting cupid, spreading joy and enthusiasm wherever I go. Anime lovers, I'm here to guide you through this colorful world.