How much does it cost to produce anime? Are you able to cite some examples ranging from the cheaper productions to the top notch, expensive ones? How does the production cost for anime compare to American cartoon series of similar quality? What are the major cost components for both types of shows? I read somewhere that Makoto Shinkai made "The Place Promised in our Early Days," a 90 minute feature, for US $1.5 million. How is that possible, considering the amazing quality of the movie?
Compared to American animation, anime is very cheap to produce. In 2003, the Nikkei Business News reported that an average anime TV episode had a budget of 10 to 13 million yen ($85,000 - $111,000). For example, the Gunslinger Girl TV series cost 13 million yen per episode to produce. On the high end, Gonzo's Samurai 7, one of the most expensive anime TV series ever made, had a 700 million yen budget for 26, and the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex television series had an 800 million yen production budget. In 2003, 500 to 700 million yen ($4.3 - 6 million) was the typical production cost on a 52 episode "four kuru" show (series that air new episodes all year around) like One Piece or Detective Conan. Although I can't confirm it, I've heard that average anime TV series now cost roughly $150,000 per episode to produce. By comparison, according to TV.com
, the high quality American animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender costs 1 million per episode to produce, and even production cost on SpongeBob SquarePants episodes is in the neighborhood of $500,000 per episode. It's stunning to realize that a single episode of SpongeBob SquarePants costs as much to make as three average anime TV episodes." [...]