entertainment

Anime voice actors need loans; face 'dangerous levels of poverty' during pandemic, union says

12 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

A lot of otaku will tell you that anime is essential for their emotional well-being, but animated entertainment still falls outside the realm of the sort of essential business activities health officials are talking about when they’re discussing coronavirus countermeasures. So as the country adjusts to life under the pandemic, voice actors and actresses are being hit hard, according to the Japan Actors Union.

The organization, which works in the interest of both live-action and vocal performers, recently conducted an “emergency survey” among members regarding their finances in the current business climate, which has seen numerous performances and events cancelled, as well as several release date delays. Out of the 528 respondents, 75.7 percent said they will not be receiving any payment for performances that have been cancelled.

More troubling are the responses regarding savings. The majority, 52.3 percent, of the respondents report they’re having to severely dip into their savings to make ends meet, but even they’re not in the worst-off scenario though. More than one in four, 26.3 percent, of the respondents said that they don’t have sufficient savings to support themselves and have had to take out loans.

Actor Toshiyuki Nishida, the head of the union, has asked the national government for swift action in addressing performers’ plights, and says that the survey’s responses show that “The loss of both work and income is creating dangerous levels of poverty” for the union’s members.

The survey’s released data does not differentiate between live-action and anime voice actors, and in some ways it seems as though the latter group should be more insulated from the economic effects of the coronavirus. Filming a live-action scene involves a far larger crew than recording dialogue, and so the smaller scale of anime voice-over work presents less of a challenge, comparatively, to pull off while attempting to limit the risk of coronavirus infection.

That said, professional-level sound recording still requires the presence of a team of technicians, and Japanese animation studios have long held having multiple performers in the booth at the same time, almost like a radio drama, results in the best performances. Factor in that most recording is done in Tokyo, a city where the possibility of a coronavirus-induced lockdown is still hanging in the air, and it’s not too hard to imagine producers are being more conservative than usual with their recording schedules/budgets.

There’s also the fact that in the current anime industry, concerts, fan meet-and-greets, and other live events are more important than ever in terms of marketing a series, and voice actors have lost the stream of income they’d ordinarily be getting for their on-stage appearances as such events have been cancelled en masse. Add it all up, or, more accurately, subtract it all down, and it’s a tough time for actors, voice and otherwise, in Japan these days.

Source: NHK via Otakomu

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Esteemed voice actor: “1 in 100 voice actors become pros”

-- What’s the highest-paying job in the anime industry?【Video】

-- Singing and dancing lessons, too!? An inside-look at a Tokyo voice acting academy

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

12 Comments
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What a load of crap! There is this thing called, the internet. Perhaps they have heard of it. They can all work from home! The voices can be recorded and edited to the sound track.

Professional voice recording for anime requires a soundproof studio and some expensive equipment. I doubt most voice actors have the money or even the space for that. This isn't some podcast - the standards are much higher.

And I have to second the attitude here. First of all, who says they are otaku?? They are professional voice actors. Is there something about that that engenders such hostility here? They are not farmers either. They are people in a profession that is being hit by the coronavirus restrictions. Like many others.

Some of these comments are just bizarre non-sequiturs.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Obviously you did not study hard enough for a lucrative job. Back to the basement you go.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

my heart bleeds. as if otakus leave their parents house anyway

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

If thousands of hikikomori can somehow survive in their apartments and without a job, then I think anyone can do it.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

rgcivilian1Today  11:27 am JST

I don't buy this just like the farmers who are always crying that they are poor but 20 yrs later still crying the same tune and never got out. If you ask me, if something that is poor and you don't bug out, then it's your fault for staying with it so quit crying and change jobs.

I tend to agree. There seems to be a lot of wallowing in self-pity these days.

But instead of bingeing on anime or whatever else unproductive they might be doing with their time, wouldn't they be better off investing their downtime by learning a new marketable skill? That's what the smart people are doing.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I don't buy this just like the farmers who are always crying that they are poor but 20 yrs later still crying the same tune and never got out. If you ask me, if something that is poor and you don't bug out, then it's your fault for staying with it so quit crying and change jobs.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Wow..first world problems huh?

To an extent, yes.

But in recent years I've been thinking about it, and one of the things that gives life its colors is characters, cartoon or otherwise. I think it's the distillation of a personality type into one crystallized character that we can all agree on, whether it's Mickey Mouse, Doraemon, Crayon Shinchan, Darth Vader, etc. that can give us all a shared personage to enjoy on live vicariously through in their adventures.

So I see where they're coming from, even if they're likely unhealthily obsessed.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What a load of crap! There is this thing called, the internet. Perhaps they have heard of it. They can all work from home! The voices can be recorded and edited to the sound track. It's just a rubbish claim from the adult children known as, otaku.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

"A lot of otaku will tell you that anime is essential for their emotional well-being"

Wow..first world problems huh?

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Stay strong, guys! Ganbatte! All of us Otaku and music fans around the World are behind you!!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

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