This YouTube video by Clownfish TV reports on the scandalously low earnings of animators in Japan, despite the explosion in anime’s popularity. Not only is Japanese animation high quality compared to that from the U.S., there’s an abundance of it. There is also an abundance of young and eager animators in Japan, and the huge labor pool keeps wages down. The creators of comics, or manga, tend to be better off because they can be more individualistic in their art and storytelling styles.

The video also discusses the state of comics and animation in the West. Mainstream comics are published by large companies (mainly Marvel and DC), who have numerous employees and freelancers working for them. Artists and writers for these publishers are also compensated poorly because they’re so numerous, which drives down demand. Independent comic creators are having more success getting crowdfunded and making their own books.

Animation is notoriously expensive to produce, despite the low wages of its workers. It almost has to be done by large studios, until technology advances enough to allow small independent outfits a chance. It does seem though, that artists around the world are better off working for themselves, rather than a corporation.