Here’s a challenge: watch a random episode of a random TV anime series. Notice how they animate mouths. Then look at how may times the characters blink in a given scene. Chances are you are not going to be impressed.
For some unfathomable reason, most anime do not even try to sync the voice of the character to the movement of his/her lips. Usually, the mouths of the characters just open and close with no real adaption to whatever they are saying. No studio is safe from this – from Xebec to DEEN to Shaft to KyoAni to ufotable to Madhouse. Anime just doesn’t like to animate mouths, and it has been bothering me for a long time.
I want to believe that the studios are trying to save money, but no. They manage to make a lot of fantastic visual effects and other flashy stuff that makes anime what it is, so I would figure that they would at least put some effort on animating oral cavities. I mean, I think they already cut enough costs when they present us with unrelenting torrents of static images, so why not at least make talking heads more interesting? Seriously, are the animators just lazy, underpaid or just don’t care?
Then we have the issue of blinking. Blinking in anime is a rare occurrence. The studios I know that actually put effort in animating blinking outside turning of heads are KyoAni and PA Works (if I forgot to mention others, please say so). Again, I’m at a loss at why this is happening. I don’t really know much about costs, but I think animating closed eyes is cheaper than animating open ones. Today’s anime eyes are very artsy and somehow disconnected to the overall graphics of a show, maybe they are part-CG even. I guess this is why anime characters tend to blink when they have to turn their heads. But if they are willing to animate blinking, why not do it regularly?
Aside from blatant attempts at hiding a low budget, like stills, pans and the like, anime tries to save(?) money by trying to cut corners on aspects of anime that most people consider as unimportant. It really puts me off for some reason.