Sunrise recently announced that they have five major Mobile Suit Gundam projects currently in the pipeline, and will release them on a steady schedule. But what does that mean for those working on those projects?
Director and storyboard artist for Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Mitsuo Fukuda, recently took to Twitter and revealed that one of the production assistants has been working extremely long and arduous hours. He's not happy about it one bit.
進行の女史。今週月曜日10時半に家を出て火曜6時帰り。火曜12時前に家を出て水曜10時帰り。水曜14時時家を出て木曜11時帰り。1時間後の12時起こしてくれ、と書き置き。起こしたけど起きないわな、そりゃあ。ここ1ヶ月はずっとこんな感じ。今のご時世にどういう働かせ方してるの？ サンライズ。— 福田 己津央 (@fukuda320) November 29, 2018
According to a report from Anime News Network, Fukuda took to Twitter to vent about the fact that one of the production assistants at Sunrise has "worked 59 hours in four days" and by the sounds of it, this isn't out of the norm. This schedule has apparently been continuing for a month.
The wild schedule has the assistant starting on Monday "around 10:30 a.m," and not being finished with work until Tuesday morning. Detailing the schedule, Fukuda stated that "[she] slept until about noon before returning to work again until 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday. She was then able to sleep approximately four hours before she had to return to work again at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday and did not return home again until 11:00 a.m. on Thursday."
The assistant then apparently had to leave a note for herself to wake up after an hour of sleep. According to Anime News Network, Fukuda stated that he used to work this kind of schedule as well, but he thinks it should change before the production assitant's health is negatively effected, even if it's "dangerous" to bring such a thing up
The conditions of those who work in the anime industry have been more in the public eye in recent years as more in that industry begin to speak out about it, but this is a major public outcry. In 2015, the Japan Animation Creators Association reported that animators averaged around 11 hours of work in a single day. Days off were even more scarce, with only four days on average a month of free time. With Sunrise producing not only Mobile Suit Gundam, but many huge anime projects, the workload will only get more intense.
Fukuda's statement sheds a light on just how much anime production asks of those who are involved, and it's a much less glamorous existence than one might expect. This is only a detailed account of a single assistant, so it might not be reflective of the entire company. But it certainly paints a bad image. Hopefully Fukuda's statement will help resolve this before it becomes a health issue as Fukuda fears.