Watching a film adaptation multiple times might not be the best way to financially support your favourite manga artist.
If you love anime and manga, you’re probably be aware that a large percentage of anime are adapted from existing manga series. Depending on the popularity of the series, the adaptations don’t just stop at anime series, but go on to animated films, live-action movies, and sometimes even musicals.
With the recent boom for live-action movie adaptations of manga, many people think that manga artists are raking in money with all the various adaptations of their work, but is that really the case?
Japanese Twitter user @beasty__baby recently posted an image of a bonus Q&A section published in the 51st collected volume of manga Gintama, where author Hideaki Sorachi reveals the saddening truth behind the glamour of big screen adaptations.
I have a question. A while ago, my mother heard that the Gintama animation film was a big hit, and commented that “(Hideaki Sorachi) must be living at [luxury highrise] Roppongi Hills since it’s so popular”. Is that true?
To tell the naked truth, regardless of how many people watch the film or how much the gross earnings are, not a single yen goes to the author. We are only paid an upfront license fee. The amount we’re paid is peanuts in comparison to the overall box office gross. The majority of the profits go to filthy unscrupulous companies such as Shueisha and Sunrise. Releasing individual manga volumes is way more profitable.
But the reason why I slog to fulfill these film adaptations, to the extent that I’m peeing blood, is because there is a place in this world that is more wonderful than a mansion at Roppongi Hills. And that place, ma’am, is in your heart.
If Gintama can reach the hearts of the masses, I wouldn’t mind living in a hill made of cardboard. The authors are the only ones who harbour such honest intentions with their creations.
So ma’am, if you’re feeling sorry for us, don’t just watch the movies, but also buy our books so that we can live at Roppongi Hills with the publishing royalties.
The question and answer were published in 2013, after the release of Gintama The Movie: Kanketsu-hen – Yorozuya yo Eien Nare.
As you might already know, the Gintama live-action movie is scheduled for release next year. We’re not sure if the licensing conditions for animated films and live-action adaptations are similar, but we’re guessing they’re not too vastly different.
Film adaptation is a way to reach out to a greater audience since not everyone is an avid manga reader, but apparently not the most efficient way for manga artists to increase their earnings despite the eye-catching numbers shown in their box office figures.
In a nutshell, if you like a certain manga-originated anime series, go ahead and watch its films or purchase its merchandise, but above all that, buy the manga to keep the creators of the series alive!
Follow Joan on Twitter, where she mumbles randomly about anime and manga that may or may not include Gintama.