Seeking Advice for Making My Own Anime


Swell Supporter
Dear Fellow Forummers

I have decided to take the plunge. I want to create my own illustrated light novel/ animated light novel.

My last post about learning drawing drew serious, involved and respectful responses. I’m very happy about this forum. So now I’m going further on a limb. I’m going to talk about my proposed projects, and hope to get some good feedback and advice!

I’m basically a writer, so I will do the written text part of this production.

I am not an artist, so I will have to hire people or a studio to draw for me.

My goal is to write a series of James-Bondesque light novels. Think James Bond turned sexy female, throw in a bunch of conspiracy theories, dial up the humor a lot and turn down anything that sounds too grim or dark. The villains will be James Bondesque crazy villains and there will be tons of fanservice. There will be some politics and satire as well. James Bond basically represented UK imperialism and white male patriarchy; my Agent-Aika inspired female lead is probably going to do the opposite.

(The closest comparisons to what I’m planning are Ikkitousen, Najica Blitz Tactics and Agent Aika. Plot and story might have some parallels with Satanophany, Arachnid or Caterpillar, but with no fatalities, mutilations or bloodshed in general.)

My work will be unsuitable for kids; borderline soft porn. But there will be no explicit sex or visible genitals. And as mentioned above, it will be light hearted enough. Any deaths will be Disney Villains’ Endings – basically taking place offscreen.

We’re going to have lots of fun with the fanservice.

Now onto the mechanics:

My budget comes from my personal pocket.

I’m not rich enough to fund a full length anime or OVA. I am also not experienced enough to confidently handle this type of project, even if I should win the lottery tomorrow.

Based on what I’ve read, an anime typically consists of tens of thousands of frames at 24x60 frames per minute.

Realistically, most studios reuse their frames to save on making too many unique frames, so an animation episode could have just 5000 frames at a cost of about $3 per frame.

I can’t fund an entire animation episode. But neither do I have to do it, since I’m basically a writer.

I’m thinking of writing a light novel of 200 pages.

Each page will have one illustration on average.

Each illustration would basically be for the action. And since we’re on this site, anyone who follows me should know what that means. Basically ryona fanservice action like what you see in Ikkitousen, Naijca or Agent Aika.

I’m thinking that each illustration should be a GIF consisting of 5 frames on average. Something like this:

Agent Aika Ep4 30396.jpeg Agent Aika Ep4 30405.jpeg Agent Aika Ep4 30409.jpeg Agent Aika Ep4 30416.jpeg Agent Aika Ep4 30427.jpeg

So I’m hoping to be able to find people who can hand-draw pictures to illustrate a 200 page light novel.

The level of quality should be either that of the 5-frame sequence above, or a four frame sequence like this which has more detail and will take longer to draw:

Agent Aika Ep1 19939.jpeg Agent Aika Ep1 19948.jpeg Agent Aika Ep1 19951.jpeg Agent Aika Ep1 19970.jpeg

or just two pictures, but with a lot going on so it takes even longer to draw:

66f0b9914a270cb4d65580c6df91515a.jpg 51a1c366153664d1d01cdabaa2433570.jpg

I think it is very important for me to emphasize sustainability.

As a writer, I want to be able to keep producing light novels. Hopefully 2 volumes per year.

I’m probably going to try multiple channels. I’ll look into a Patreon membership, maybe I’ll set up my content with paying Pixiv membership, maybe I’ll list the novel on Amazon for sale (don’t know if I can incorporate the illustrations which are an essential part of the novel).

No matter what, I’ll need to have someone who is interested enough to be drawing Ikkitousen or Agent Aika-like illustrations. It can’t just be someone who’s in for the money, because there isn’t that much money involved.

Realistically most anime is produced with lowly paid animators. Can’t be helped. Most people watch anime for free after all. I don’t have a rich uncle, so I also have to look for someone who is a low cost producer. Maybe someone in Thailand or Philippines, where there are enough people who are familiar with drawing in an anime style yet costs of living are low.

If I offer $3/frame which seems to be the market rate for Japanese anime, it is definitely too low for most people in developed countries who do commissioned works as a hobby. But if you’re an artist in the Philippines churning out 1000 frames a month whenever the Japanese studios have a project and seek to outsource, $3k is perfectly good pay in exchange for 1000 pictures.

No matter what, I’m looking for artists who can stay with me for years. I can’t hire someone who only wants to do a few pictures for fun. You’ve got to like doing this kind of drawings, and you’ve got to do stuff like this for a career, otherwise if you drop the project, I’ll be stuck halfway through my novel and have to desperately look for an illustrator who can draw in roughly the same style.

I know it will take me a long time to build up a paying readership that breaks even. So I can’t afford to spend too much up front. But I do think that the initial parts of this project may be worth spending serious time on, just for an artist to produce something like this:

Black_Delmo.jpg 80051424_p0_master1200.jpg dd12cld-574acdc0-15f7-4ac7-9f9a-ef7e8208678b.jpg

Basically I think the artist should prepare drafts and character studies of around 50 characters. (I’m also prepared to pay for this work, so that we establish basic character models for 50 that can recur in future novels). Those who have followed my writings should know that in the longer run, I wish to have 200 distinctive zakos. In the shorter term, I’m thinking that my version of Agent Aika should get to fight 50 zakos in the course of one book. Too few zakos, and you’re taking away the very zako-ness of a zako.

I'm thinking that my character studies will have to include not just 50 different faces and bodies, but also at least a few changes of uniform and underwear. That way we even have character models for the panties (very important part of my fanservice!) and different changes of uniform! By setting these things up for the long run, I can keep producing my novels and get these illustrations done by artists. As long as I am making a small profit, that is enough for me to keep producing more novels and therefore more GIF/ moving illustrations. So even if I don't ever win the lottery and get to make my dream 1000-episode hentai, I could still have something fun which pays the bills?

So dear fellow site members, what do you think?