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Cracks In The Animation Industry

The+animation+industry+is+going+through+a+major+upheaval%2C+and+something+needs+to+be+change.
Gabby Comer
The animation industry is going through a major upheaval, and something needs to be change.

It is a well-known fact that the entertainment industry, particularly in the animation field, is full of controversies, issues, mismanagement, etc. These cracks have slowly become more and more apparent as new works are released.

A newer trend and concern to note is from the critically acclaimed Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Yes, a seemingly perfect movie has been subject to controversy after film production was “finished.”

To recap, there are now at least 3 different versions of the Spider-Verse movies, 2 of which premiered in theaters at the same time. Now why is this an issue, exactly?

At first, it seemed like a fun little easter egg or different canons of movies people watched. This initially provided a unique experience. It was only until the digital and DVD versions of the movies’s released that the issue was called out; an unfinished movie.

It was not a creative decision when some parts of scenes were removed or added, but instead a deadline issue. This raises the concern that movie publications will be able to release unfinished products.

This may not be new, but can set a projected trend for directors who are short on time. Many have already complained about investing, working, and playing through unfinished products.

The gaming industry has also seen this quite frequently, an infamous example being the dreaded initial release of Cyberpunk 2077. Of course, this is an extreme example of an unfinished product being distributed to the masses. However, hearing about and knowing there are 3 different versions of the same movie but only one of them being truly complete is a scary thought.

The second concern is primarily the animator’s work and deadlines. It has been reported that exactly 100 animators quit mid-production due to overworking conditions.

According to multiple sources and reports, 11-hour work shifts and 7 days a week scheduling led to the quitting of the masses. This is older news, but an example of something a lot more recent could be Jujutsu Kaisen’s Season 2, episode 14.

Hokuto Sadamoto took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to vent and explain his frustrations on working with the animation studio, Mappa. Usually, their animation is top tier, considered to be one of the best-animated studios in not only anime but the genre as a whole. However, episode 14 lacked that luxurious quality in animation. At first, the episode looked gorgeous, animated, and with shots executed beautifully.

Soon, however, it took a turn midway through the episode with the animation becoming choppier and less smooth. It failed to match the peak quality of the episode set up earlier. This was due to the extreme workflow and scheduling of animators.

Hokuto goes on to vent and voice his frustrations about his work and output of the episode and apologizes for not being able to fix 250 of those cuts of animation. This is insane for just one animator working on a weekly anime. On top of all this, time constraints also led to him cutting out portions of the storyboard. There are a lot of issues that are beginning to glare and shine through these “cracks”. This can also be shown in the Spider-Verse’s series of films, Spider-Man: Beyond The Spider-Verse is expected to drop within the spring of 2024, which is concerning for those who are left still expected to animate.

This is not just terrifying for animators, but visual effects artists as well who are expected to apply those effects. Animation’s future as a whole is concerning, leaving many to wonder if there will be any sort of changes to the industry’s laborious model.

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