The Japan Times has a long, and at times sensationalistic, article describing how the Japanese animation industry is struggling to survive and why their “animation bubble” is about to burst. A vast number of reasons are offered. I don’t know enough about their industry to properly assess which reasons are accurate and which are overblown, but some of the reasons covered in the article include a sluggish economy leading to lower production budgets, too much adult content turning off general audiences, piracy and fansubs in the West, lack of financial incentives for show creators, shady business practices by production studios, and low pay for the average animation worker. I was also surprised to read that 90% of their animation work is outsourced to countries like China and the Philippines. Maybe the US animation industry isn’t that bad after all.
(Thanks, Karl Cohen)