Anime Director Shinji Takamatsu Reveals How China's Economic Importance Is Changing The Anime Industry

Anime Director Shinji Takamatsu Reveals How China's Economic Importance Is Changing The Anime Industry

Many North American blockbusters are now catering their films to China and it seems the anime industry is doing something fairly similar according to RobiHachi director Shinji Takamatsu.

China's continued emergence as a dominant economical power in the global economy is having far reaching effects on how we in North American consume media. Blockbuster films often have several roles designated for Asian film stars in an effort to ensure that the movie will actually be released in China (the country only allows a select number of foreign films each year).

However, it's not just North America that's feeling the affects of China's growing influence. According to anime director Shinji Takamatsu, the country's government-controlled media industry is starting to shape how anime is produced.

In a Twitter post, Takamatsu revealed that anime that will be broadcast in China needs to be completed 3 months in advance so that the Chinse government can review the material and make edits to anything it deems unsuitable (typically anything with homosexuality, religious undertones, anything that makes China look bad, etc.).

Having to finish an entire TV anime 3 months in advance is vastly different from the usual production standard where anime studios are working on completing episodes while the show is airing, sometimes finishes just a few hours before the episode is set to air. 

Anime these days has a long production period. It's difficult to anticipate when it peaks. It used to be busiest during the broadcast. Nowadays there are more cases where all the episodes have to be delivered at once, and the main reason for this is because they have to go through a content check for China. It's necessary for this check to take place three months before the broadcast. In cases where it's difficult to be profitable domestically, it's essential to sell it overseas.

Yesterday, I had a meeting for a work that we're aiming to broadcast in fall next year and another one for spring the year after, but isn't this a strain on the schedule? (sheepish smile)

If we at the studio are told, "Deliver all the episodes three months before the broadcast," then we have no choice but to make it according to that deadline. We don't have the authority to decide how to do business with it.

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