Ask any anime or manga fan which one feature marks the art style out from the crowd, and they’d be almost certain to mention those big eyes which go back to Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy. But at the moment, even on the production side, they’re getting so much attention that the effort involved is becoming unrealistic for artists who want to make a living.
Kazuyoshi Yaginuma, a veteran key animator who has led the way on the art of Akira and several Naruto movies, made the plight of the exponentially extravagant eyes known recently on his Twitter. “The talk is that just drawing the eyes for a modern anime girl takes as much effort as it used to take to draw the entire bridge of the Space Battleship Yamato”, he said, referring to the classic 70s sci-fi series of the same name.
He went on to explain that drawing just three frames with modern anime eyes takes two hours, while the average pay per single frame is 200 yen (just over £1 in GBP). “At this rate, animators can’t eat”, Yaginuma wrote to close, with a justified frazzled “(；´Д｀)” emoticon.