The world of Japanese animation is a harsh one.
Whether it be the critically-acclaimed work from Studio Ghibli or the phenomenal Your Name, anime has a place in our hearts. But that’s not to say producing them is a stroll in the park. For the staff that pours such an incredible amount of time and effort into their work, not all is rosy.
The following story unfolded as a series of tweets from @noryogin, an animator who worked for a Japanese animation company.
Through Noryogin’s tweets (which he has since protected to maintain privacy), it was apparent he harbored a bit of resentment toward his manager who prioritized anime quantity over quality. Motivation was at an all-time low, and our animator felt more like a tool than anything else. Noryogin said this:
“When I said I’ll quit the company, my six animation team members said they’ll come with me. If it comes down to that, just leave it to me!”
Noryogin was a dependable senior, patiently training four new employees when they entered the company. As a trusty senpai, he also brought the animation staff out to a well-earned yakiniku buffet, as they’d worked hard throughout Golden Week.
“I finished up my work for today and told my big boss that I’ll be quitting. We went for a meal and he told me to confide in him should I have any problems. Our big boss is actually the famous Tetsuya Nishio (who oversaw the character designs of the Naruto anime). He’s a legend.”
Shortly after, Noryogin handed in his resignation letter, stating that he would be taking his works with him.
“I told the company I’ll be taking my works with me, and they asked me to pay a ‘training’ fee. I coughed up 900,000 yen (US$8,087) just now. I’ll treat it as a compensation fee, but I don’t want to have anything to do with this company anymore. I’ll just earn back that money!”
When a firm sees it fit to charge its employees enormous sums under the pretext of education or training, it speaks volumes on the company’s stance on employee welfare. Instead of filing a lawsuit against the company like many would though, sadly, Noryogin saw no other choice but to cough up money in exchange for his freedom. He seemed to regret it later though.
“I felt it was strange for me to pay money to the company, but I thought it would be an eye-opener for my juniors. The intimidating pressure from the higher-ups made me unable to speak up. More than that, it was a shame that no one left the company with me. That got to me more than the money did.”
Furious netizens voiced their opinions:
“I don’t understand why he had to pay up.”
“He paid 900,000 yen? That literally amounts to extortion.”
“I think it’s the same wherever you go.”
“None of his juniors wanted to leave with him! That’s really a shame.”
While it’s unclear exactly what the money was paid for and if it was legitimate or not, it certainly smells fishy. If a company ever demanded that I pay a huge sum of money for “training” when I wanted to quit, you can bet that there’d be a revenge bento box in the mail with their name on it the very next day.