Director of Hitori no shita : The outcast anime ‘Xin wang’ is a chinese animator who shared is view on the drop of animation quality in Japanese anime. The anime Hitori no shita was not well received due to the low production cost and messy schedule. The manuha was critically acclaimed but the anime had some different case. Few months back Xin wang gave interview in which he shared his opinion on the Japanese anime and animation quality.
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Xin wang’s extract from Interview
Question : Many Japanese anime series have been airing in China and recently there have been Chinese-Japanese collaborations Have the Japanese changed anyways to adapt the Chinese broadcast pacing?
Xin wang : The Japanese side wants to change, but how much they can change is limited. That’s why these collaborations have had so many problems. In essence, we are in a fine-tuning phase. Who ever can first get past this phase will have a big advantage [in the Chinese market].
Japan has a very strict work flow that is completely different from the Chinese industry. Due to historical reasons, Chinese animation companies are mainly influenced by the western production process which is simpler. In contrast, the Japanese process is very complicated. They push the limits on every single detail and everyone in the process. If any one stage is stuck, the entire process halts. This is a weakness within their process. When the flow is very smooth and everyone delivers on time and on quality, it is a fantastic process. But they lack flexibility. Not at all. Everything must first go through step one before step two. The Chinese production cycle is more parallel. Many things can be worked on at the same time. Somethings start getting passed to the next person once it’s 20% done. But in Japan, everything must be completely done before it can be handed down the line, so they waste a lot of time waiting.
For example, in the animation process, say there’s 300 cuts. We would make 10 cuts of key frames, have it approved by the director, and it goes to the in-between people. They [the Japanese industry] don’t do that. They must wait until all 300 cuts are finished before they move to animation [in-between]. This way, the in-between people are just waiting for two months for the key frames to finish. In theory, this can work if they just keep moving from episode to episode, but they ignore the fact that it takes three months to make one episode of key frames and the in-between is done in three days. So another cycle of waiting begins.
Question : In what way does this affect the anime series which is produced?
Xin wang : Right now, the biggest problem in Japanese animation is that the first two episodes of a new series will be great, but then the quality starts dropping from episode three, all the way til the end. Most Japanese TV series are like this. The first two episodes they have plenty of time, so they take their time and everything is very detailed. Once the time tightens up by episode three, their quality starts to slide.
Question : So usually the beginning and the ending have the higher quality?
Xin wang : Now a days even the end isn’t always well done. They are all rushed. For us, ten to fifteen days is a good buffer, but for them it’s thirty days. [this last part isn’t really clear in the interview and they moved on to the next topic].