Hero Academia Season 2: It’s not the budget
Anime culture is fast forwarding towards becoming a worldwide phenomenon. With the recent surge of fans in the west, this industry has found itself in high demand and bolstering fandom throughout the world. This is also the reason there are a high toll of anime being broadcasted every season, to cater to the demands of fans. But it also becomes a bane as artists, writers, directors, and basically entire studios are caught up in a whirlwind of hectic production schedules, conflicts, time restraints, and, unfortunately, low pay to chug out one show after another.
The vast majority of long running animes suffer because of such a schedule as new episodes must be made on a weekly basis, and this conundrum offers no respite for the artists as they have to constantly be working to meet the end goals of the week. The worst case scenarios are where an anime doesn’t air a new episode that week, and at best the quality suffers. The small respite a studio gains from this hectic scenario is when its production starts way ahead of time and hence the creative team finds the time to polish its product as much as possible before it starts airing, the case being made here is of ‘My Hero Academia Season 2”. In no way was the first season bad, the animation quality for most if not all fight scenes was exceptional and quite fluid, and showed passion in the work, but what was apparent however, was the amount of static animation for the rest of the show’s smaller scenes, (still shots of characters, showing little or no movements except lips and such etc.). And these small scenes were quite more expressive and showy in the second season. That comes down to the time available to the studio staff and head animator to do the touch ups before the episode has aired.
Making anime is a lengthy process and that is why it takes a lot of time for a quality anime to air, one season after another. The fact that the season 2 of Hero Academia is so well polished is because the studio had revealed that they were ahead of schedule during production. Production for the season’s 7th episode was in production back in January, 3 whole months before the season was due to start airing.
Studios are divided into production units and that’s how anime productions are managed. Which brings us to the studio in question, Bones. The studio responsible for shows like Kekkai Sensen, FullMetal Alchemist, and, as apparent, My Hero Academia. The reason, for mentioning this is to understand how the studio managed to gain such an advantage in production quality and time. And disregarding the average viewer’s perception of budget increase, which it isn’t as there has been no significant change in budget for this new season. The actual value to an anime can be attributed to proper time management, because it’s arguably one of the most, if not the most, important asset for a studio to have. It doesn’t matter if you have great talented animators in the studio if they don’t have the time to make the anime good.
Coming back to the studio, the way the studio bones is structured is in a way of subdivisions. There are 4 divisions within the studio (A, B, C, and D) which produce different animes in its pipeline within a season, with separate producers, directors, head animators, and a separate team of freelance animators. Season 1 of Hero Academia was in the pipeline of studio A, which was already producing the second season of another show at the time (Noragami). And hence there was little time for the division to properly give time to the show. The result was still great at the most important moments, but not quite stellar in comparison to others.
Now, after its airing, the studio was scheduled to put forward another sequel to another anime, during which time it would have been impossible to produce both that, and Hero Academia, the anime was shifter to another studio, which had no anime at the time of this in its pipeline. Hence, the amount of time available for the studio to make it was increased dramatically, and therefore we have gotten such a stellar anime so far.
The industry is vast, the artists overburdened, but they are still trudging along making anime we know and love.