Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of Definitive Anime Review. Sorry for disappearing for a few months, I was busy at work on a story exposing Sir Issac Newton as the leader of an evil organisation. You know how these stories are right?
Well a few days ago, Fufuro-chan handed over another assignment to me. Her connections ended up getting me an interview with this guy in the anime industry! I’ve never actually conducted an interview before so I was dreadfully underprepared but I felt like this might uncover the truth about anime production to the loyal readers of Definitive Anime Review. So I accepted.
Why do I get the feeling that Fufuro-chan is winding me up getting me to do this?
Enter one Jared Musk, the CEO of a relatively new animation studio known as Tombi Animation. Jared was a CEO that believed he had the answers to save the anime industry from itself using the power of technology! Tombi Animation has credits across many different shows with a worldwide workforce, a workforce mostly living on Mars but the workforce still encompassed the world.
Below is the full interview, I hope you all learn a thing or two because Jared seemed like a pretty knowledgeable guy.
build: Hi there Jared, thank you for taking part in this interview today.
Jared: Hey, do you want to buy my monkey?
build: Excuse me?
Jared: It’s my non-fungible tokens! I bought him for 100 grand and I really think you’d like him.
build: Why do you have so many of them? Are you sure you’re responsible with your money?
Jared: Yeah, I get that a lot from people. Trust me though, I am a respected anime CEO.
build: Ahem, well my first question is about how anime is made. Can you tell our loyal readers how anime is made in case they’re not aware?
Jared: Anime is made through hard graft and lots of blood, sweat and tears from the moment you wake up to the moment you get to bed. Sometimes, I’ll have 100 people work on a show and then people on Twitter moan that it’s a sign of industry collapse.
build: Wait, that doesn’t seem to be how it works? You need 100 people?
Jared: Well not every episode that’d be silly. I’d have 48 people work on a single episode.
“Wait, did you just say 48 people working on this episode!?”
build: Apparently Tombi Animation employs a lot of Martian people. Why do you do that?
Jared: Anime is an incredibly brutal industry. One that grinds people to dust. It also pays pretty badly. Did you know that some anime pay animators less than a fiver an hour? I did my research and I found out that Mars doesn’t have the labour laws that Earth companies have so if they’re paid that much, they’re essentially millionaires in their community. I feel that, here at Tombi Animation, we’re improving animator pay not by lobbying studios to improve their pay to their staff but to just make it look like the pay is absolutely enormous to people that don’t realise it’s that bad.
build: Wow! I didn’t realise that was legal!
Jared: Me neither! My brother, Ultimate Supreme Executive Kaiser Neo Elon Musk X, sure does a great job running that Martian colony!
build: I heard you did a GoFundMe recently to get resources to join the anime industry in a book and now the book is now a wiki. What happened to that?
Jared: We got some folks in the industry to write some stuff for the book over the course of a year. Eventually, I realised that I lost money somewhere. I swear I checked behind the sofa at home.
build: How do you lose ten grand behind the sofa?
Jared: Very carefully.
I never got to visit Jared Musk’s house but it probably was about as fancy as this.
build: Alright then, here’s another one. Some fans are disappointed in your views on NFTs, do you feel guilty for this?
Jared: My monkey pictures are my family! I care for them incredibly deeply! I keep them in a folder on my laptop! The folder is called “Best Buddies”! Those fans just don’t understand me!
Jared: Do you like monkeys?
build: Err…I like playing Ape Escape on the PS1. Pretty cool game.
When I’m not interviewing people in the industry, I’m playing the best video games.
build: So how about that new Artificial Intelligence trend?
Jared: I love AI. One day all anime will be created using AI and we wouldn’t have to pay the AI any money so we can essentially make anime forever! Unfortunately, AI has to rely on the drawings of squishy artists who aren’t robots or AI at the moment so we can’t have perpetual anime. I hope one day the animator AI will be smart enough to make its own anime.
Jared: Or better yet, we can teach the AI to train itself on anime that already exist and then make it use the anime to make more anime. I can’t see anything going wrong with this.
build: So how many layers deep are we going here?
Jared: Toei Animation would be so neat to train an AI on. You’ve got to think they’ve made more anime than anyone else in the world so they’d make the most inventive new anime with all of that under their belt.
build: I can’t wait for Stretchy Pirate! Pretty Cute by the way. Did the AI create that one?
Jared: How did you know? I thought AI anime would be indistinguishable.
build: So do you think there’s too many anime being created? Many industry observers seem to think so and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
Jared: As you know, squishy artists can’t keep up with the demand of the anime industry and training animators takes a long time and effort. So having the AI do the hard work on its own saves a lot of time and hassle. Like I said before, we can make infinite anime, why would we possibly want any less of it?
build: Probably because the industry can’t really sustain this for much longer. Sending waves of people to save an episode of Black Flower isn’t really something that can be done forever.
Jared: But what if the anime production companies had infinite money too? As we all know, we can make NFTs of anything because anything fungible can become non-fungible and that means cold hard cash!
build: People don’t really make that much money off of NFTs surely?
Jared: Well the monkey man I bought my monkeys from was absolutely loaded and drove a car that was made of 24ct gold. Anime companies must be looking at that guy and thinking, “wow I wish I had a golden car, how many people do I have to exploit to get one of those!”.
build: I mean, I don’t really dispute that. The corporate greed part of that statement.
Jared: Can you imagine if anime companies had even bigger budgets because of NFTs? Just think of the animators that they won’t be paying good wages to with that sort of money.
Every anime CEO aims to own one of these.
build: I’m curious, what other exciting ways have you got to save the anime industry?
Jared: Well, I’m glad you asked! One thing that’s absolutely not a good look for the anime industry is the lack of Japanese animators. They are leaving in droves and not even looking for work in anime. I proposed to my good friends at Kadokawa a new invention to reinvigorate and revitalise the workforce. The Animator Baby Machine.
Jared: It does exactly what you think it does.
build: It’s a robotic baby?
Jared: It creates new animator babies that can quickly be raised to work on Attack on Giant: The Final Season: The Final Part: The Final Passage: Chapter Final: Final Part: The Final. It also looks like a giant robotic baby.
build: Are we sure that you aren’t a robot?
Jared: No. I am a robot!
Jared: Welcome to the anime revolution! My robot animator army will take over the industry! Every anime will be non-fungible!
The Animator Baby Machine looked like this, except entirely gunmetal grey and roughly 50 feet tall.
It was at that point that I left the maniac CEO behind in his office and walked out of the building. As I did, a large 50ft robotic baby was launched from behind the building. I swear I could have heard some crazed laughter from the room Jared Musk was in, I could have been imagining things.
After that, I told Fufuro-chan that she better properly vet these interviews in future. I’m not dealing with nutters again.
This is a work of fiction, any resemblance with any real person or event is purely coincidental. No anime CEO actually has a giant mecha baby or access to Martian outsourcing. The part about Sir Isaac Newton is 100% true though.
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Hi, thank you for the article.
I had a run in with the Tonbi Animation group last year and I think I see where you’re coming from.
That said, I disagree with your approach on criticizing them. They have a discord and are very open about things, and I would’ve preferred if instead of a fake interview you had chatted with some of the animators there, maybe Jared Musk himself–and used that as the foundation for an article. Kind community with a lot of passion for anime–and I think a lot of story material if you’re discrete. You do a bit of that with the book crowdfunding bit, I think, but I think you can dig wider and deeper.
Like, personally I knew animators saying they are paid well and then also mention they’re working from Africa. There was one very outgoing animator who was doing genga on the nft project and was a staunch advocate of the studio–and when it disappeared I wonder what his impressions where. Jared also claimed once they actually pay so well that it has caused them problems in the past. Interesting stuff. JP producer also pops in occasionally, and during live viewing you have free wheel to ask questions to animators who worked on it. I think that’s a great concept for an international internet-based studio, personally, and one of the (few) things I like about them.
And since they hire basically anyone you could probably find someone to get hired too and look it things from the inside out directly. Get concrete numbers. But people are pretty open–if you hung around you could probably get detailed info within a week tbh.
Setting that aside…
I would like to question the purpose of this article.
In my opinion, for people familiar with Tonbi Animation, many already know what you’re saying and agree…but if they don’t agree or are unfamiliar, I don’t see how this article would convince them or introduce them to situation. I thinl it’s fair to say this is single-sidedly anti-Tonbi and exaggerated, and neither of those make for good rhetoric traditionally. In college I took an essay class and one quote that stuck with me was, to paraphrase, was ‘your argument is only as strong as your representation of the opposing view.’
I understand this is not an essay, but I think the same principle applies. There are people with an opposing way of doing things, and you’re confronting that view publically. To me, that says argumentation, but as it fails to represent the opposing view I can’t call it a good argument.
One thing I have liked recently about the sakuga community is an effort to, instead of making fun of people or attacking positions, offer coherenty explanations level-headedly when factually incorrect/uninformed posts come up. I think that this article fails to live up to that standard and makes fun of the studio, and in doing so divides and isolates– because what would a Tonbi employee or Jared think if they read this? But since I don’t see the point of this article beyond poking fun, I could be missing it’s intent or maybe a serious philosophy on discourse is present here that isn’t connecting with me. If so, my apologies. I’m a fan of this site and have no ill will, only want to see a better anime community.
On the other hand, it was a fun read (if kind of depressing) and kind of a cathartic take on AI–it’s nice to see a whole-hearted love of the hand-drawn on display. I know one of the things that attracts me to animation is the concept itself–thousands upon thousands of drawings done by people just to make a video. It seems so ridiculous, so difficult, and it makes me a little proud to be part of the human race, because we’re a race that can make something like animation.
First of all, thank you for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that you don’t see the purpose of this article, so I will try my best to explain our point of view as the website’s chief editor. Definitive Anime Review is a column that comments on events happening in the anime and sakuga communities with a humoristic, lighthearted approach. They are satirical articles meant to shine a light on trends and behaviors that are going on and have done so for a long time, even before being published here on fullfrontal.moe.
As you have noticed, this article might be a comment on the management of an entity that resembles the here-described Tombi Animation. Obviously, this article is not to be taken at face value; it is, first and foremost, a satirical piece. It intends to make you laugh and make you think. I’m sorry if you think the article seemed to make fun of anyone in real life; it is not its intention in the slightest. It is not trying to belittle anyone but rather criticizing certain behaviors that, according to the author, are questionable. By exaggerating them, it wants you to reflect upon them and come to your own conclusions.
Regarding the purpose of the article, I feel you might have missed one other important point in it. In fact, I’d argue the biggest takeaway of this piece isn’t the commentary it makes on the management of the fictional Tombi Animation but its critique of a certain form of so-called “anime journalism”. In fact, this article was written as an answer to an interview published on a big anime news site. When our team read that interview, we all took issue not only with its content but also with how it was curated and the way it chose to present its content. This mock interview is, above everything else, a commentary on the deontology of the Animation Information Conglomerate website. I hope that this additional context will help you rethink the purpose and value of this article.
I might also add that when the abovementioned interview was published, a member of our team was in talks with Jared Musk to have an actual interview with them. Although we might have issues with their public image, decisions, and the way they manage Tombi Animation, we were open to hearing their side of the story. But, as the Animation Information Conglomerate interview was released, we understood it was unnecessary to go any further. In fact, even if they claim they were misquoted in the interview, I decided we do not wish to give a platform to ideas such as those expressed in it. We also felt like there wouldn’t be a point in going through with it, as we didn’t see what else could have been said on the topic. I think Jared Musk is oblivious to the disturbing parts of their interview, and I don’t know how they could have redeemed themselves. Eventually, if they want to prove me wrong, I’d be happy to talk it over with them, but I have a hard time believing they would be able to convince me.