'The Simpsons' Debate Stirs Big Controversy With Anime Fans

There is more that goes into animation than fans realize, and a big part of those efforts come down to acting. Fans of anime have become invested in the field’s voice actors, but many U.S. cartoons often keep their talent on the down-low, but that doesn’t mean they are not getting paid.

In fact, it seems actors on shows like The Simpsons are making far more than anime’s top stars, and Japanese fans are dumbstruck by the reveal.

As reported by Sora News 24, the recent revelation took over social media in Japan. The ordeal began when an interview detailing the payroll of The Simpson’s cast was translated into Japanese, giving fans a breakdown of how big the wage gap is between the U.S. and Japan.

According to the article, the stars of The Simpson are bringing in some serious cash. Dan Castellaneta (Homer), Nancy Cartwright (Bart), Julie Kavner (Marge), Yeardly Smith (Lisa), Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns), and Hank Azaria (Moe) earn a whopping $300,000 per episode. If you do the math, that means each actor brings in over $6 million for a full season’s work, and what Japan’s top earners make pales in comparison.

Famously, Megumi Hayashibara stands as Japan’s highest-paid voice actor. The star, who has been in shows like Evangelion, earns about $630,000 per gig. Other famous stars like Masako Nozawa (Goku) brings in about half that for comparison, and Japanese fans quickly reacted to the revelation. Many said they wished the anime industry could pay its stars similarly to Hollywood and give voice actors the compensation they deserve.

“I wish the Japanese anime industry could pay creators, the foundation the industry is built on, like the Simpsons cast gets paid,” one fan admitted.


Of course, the stars of The Simpson took some time to get where they are. When the show began in 1989, each actor was contracted to earn $30,000 an episode, and that rate has risen exponentially after 640 episodes. Still, even vetted voice actors working on long-running anime like One Piece cannot compare to The Simpson cast’s astronomical pay, and anime fans are hoping that won’t always be the case.

Do you agree with Japanese fans on this voice acting debacle? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!