I got a position as a programer 10 years ago. Then I completed one PC title, and joined some console titles that were canceled later. Next, I got a position as an animator. Why did I become an animator? Because I felt the need to obtain visual skills to do something in the creative world. But, I chose 2D animator, not 3D animator. After I spent some years as an animator with taking a part in Japanese popular animation TV programs/movies, I came back to program, and then I am developing games on PS3 now.
(If you're interested in my profile, click here.)
The hardest days of those experiences is the animator days. Japanese animations receives a high evaluation in the world wide, but Japanese animator life is really wretchedness. That's the most poor job in Japan. Illegal foreign workers get paid than them. Now I serve under some major game developer. I get paid as much as labors of other industries. But my present yearly income is about ten times of the animator days. In other words, animator's yearly income is too miserably paid. Most animators can not live in Tokyo's price, but there are most animation studios in Tokyo. Therefore, most animators have to live like refugee.
They rent a room of wooden apartment building by 25,000~30,000 JPY/Month. It seems that the building is kept for only animators. In most cases, their room doesn't equip the lavatory and the bathroom. There is one shared lavatory in the building. And, they use Japanese traditional public bath "Sento(銭湯)".
They works by cutting their quality of life and their sleeping time. Many animation movies make a profit, but animators get about 50,000 JPY as a starting salary. Average expert animators get paid 3 times than the starting salary, but it is unenough to live in Tokyo.
Sadly, they are not protected by the law, because animation studios don't sign them. So they are one-man business and not protected by the labor law. If animation studios sign them, the studios will go bankrupt. In a word, the studios don't get paid enough, even if their works make a profit much.
Of course, super creators are exception. But, Japanese animations are handwritten and need man-power. It's impossible to create animations by only super creators.
The problem is urgent and already in a time of crisis. Now, Japanese animation industry is kept by only creators' passion. But Japanese people and Japan's government are not good at drastic measure. Maybe anything is not changed, until Japanese animation industry will be gone.
Do you want to know the details of fated industry?