Anime Decade: From Japan Cool to Cooling Off

Posted by MattAlt 
MattAlt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> The answer, of course, is panty vending machines.

Yep.


> But AFTER that, they think about giant monsters,
> giant robots, dudes in kaiju suits, transforming
> robots, spaceships,

The problem is though, so much of this stuff was co-opted by American companies. Haim Saban shielded us from ever seeing those weird looking orientals and Transformers repackaged Japanese toys and obscured their origins behind the scenes while being wrapped up in Hasbro tried and true American Hero marketing machine which culminated in three blockbuster movies directed by the most American American to ever live in America. And spaceships are a Star Trek or Star Wars thing. Yeah Wing Commander Prophecy had an Itano Circus style weapin but at the time I just associated it with that one of Sony's early Western games called Warhawk. Even then, Wing Commander is all about Luke Skywalker being in it.

Dudes in kaijus suits is honestly such a widely mocked genre in America that it's kind of hard to judge. There is genuine love amongst the open minded, but for the most part it is the playground of snickering hecklers who wish they were like the MSt3k guys.

video-game characters like
> Link, Mario, Pikachu, the ever-changing Final
> Fantasy cast, etc. Japanese "tropes" have made a
> huge impression abroad even if people can't recall
> the name of your favorite anime show.

I would separate Japanese video games (especially those from Nintendo) because that's from an era when the true origins of that stuff was hidden from consumers for fear of alienating them. C'mon this is the country that thought



this would drive people away



more than this

Now that we're just a wee bit less xenophobic we all smile and nod as Shigeru Miyamoto stands up at a trade show and does his thing, but other than letting Nintendo be Nintendo, the market is dominated by Gizza War and Halo's bastard children. We take the odd Zelda and Mario game now and again while Metroid gets thrown to whoever wants it. These are just traditions that stay around and don't reflect much about the culture they came from. Granted, Pikachu is more Japanese than either a blonde haired blue eyed elf or an Italian plumber, but I'm not sure the genera public gets the importance of Pokemon's yokai fightan, beetle battle stylings.

> And you'd be
> surprised at how many "civilians" know Ultraman,
> Astro Boy, Robotech, Voltron, Sailor Moon,
> Evangelion, etc. And Pocket Monsters. While that
> show/series doesn't exactly fly in the ToyboxDX
> demographic, it is a legitimate worldwide
> phenomenon that hits on so many Japanese cultural
> sweet-spots it isn't even funny: monsters, yokai,
> kawaii, etc., etc. Japan has built up a HUGE
> amount of "mindshare" and "intellectual currency"
> even among non-Japanophiles.
>

I really hope none of these civilians want to buy any of that shit because all of it has been done in the most confusing and expensive release formats ever conceived by man. And in the end, the effect of such mindshare was when those nerd directors (who are like us) tried to repackage old properties like Speed Racer and Astro Boy for American audiences, people simply did not care. They tried selling people on their chidhood experiences with these properties. The odd mention of Robotech by the director of District 9 didn't appear to resonate with anyone but the disciples of Zor. Granted some of that worked both ways as the American Godzilla in Name Only garnered a fair amount of financial success but offended the treasured memories of nerds watching creature features. In the end it's always, why buy things from those stingy Japanese when we can just make our own ripoffs. It's a nice idea that Japan has these backdoors programmed into our pop culture, but in the end there's usually some bigger home grown property doing all those things and making much more bank.

> As the commenter Mbone put it in the comments to
> the third part of Marx's series, otaku "have
> created something truly special... but squandered
> pretty much the whole thing on images of little
> girls being brutally gang raped." True or not,
> that is the image most "civilians" will come to
> associate with anime if things keep up.


Well this is just a byproduct of the information age. Suddenly millions of perverts can all congregate on Deviantart and post their Pokemon vore fetish fanart and it doesn't matter if it came from Japan, it's all them darn japanese pedos trying to corrupt our youth. And of course there's so much that comes directly from Japan as hey porn needs no translation. Very little can remove the stigma that dates back to Legend of the Overfiend and the tremors it cause in that unimportant UK area as the breadth of Japan's media has allowed for so much bad stuff to be mixed in with the good that no matter what you do you cannot escape it.

I mean did you ever stop to think about major plot points in Orguss :x

Miyazaki can distance himself from this all he wants and let westerners praise him but nothing can make his films compete with the Disney and Pixar elite.
MattAlt (Admin)
Y'know, I used to rail against the re-packaging of things like the Transformers, but the fact is that it didn't even have much of a coherent storyline before Hasbro came along.

As a kid it rubbed me the wrong way they made them sentient beings instead of vehicles but you can't deny that it resonated with fans in a way far deeper than the Diaclone storyline did with Japanese people. You have to be a super hardcore Diaclone fan to even remember the line here, and that isn't Hasbro's fault, it's Takara's. (I am talking pure story IP here, not the toys themselves, which are engineering genius of a level Americans still have yet to duplicate.) Compare this to Mazinger Z or Gundam, of which few Japanese can recall the details of the toys but everyone knows the basics of the story. A successful franchise is about more than just product; you need characters and a story, and Takara didn't really have that. (The whole "King Walder invading the universe" stuff tacked on the sides of the Henshin Cyborg/Microman/Diaclone/Micro Change boxes doesn't really count.)

"The odd mention of Robotech by the director of District 9 didn't appear to resonate with anyone but the disciples of Zor."

Who cares? The point I'm making is that these guys -- the director of District 9, people like Guillermo Del Toro (whose next film is a giant robot versus kaiju flick), people at Pixar, writers like Ernest Cline -- the suits, the tropes, all of it, resonates with people who are actually making things. That is all that really matters. The world's top creatives LOVE robots and monsters and the whole shebang.

I cannot see a wave of anything but pity at best and revulsion at worst for moe-themed anime. Partially because that's what I get from JAPANESE people. I can only imagine how much more amplified that is abroad.

"not sure general public gets the importance of Pokemon's yokai fightan, beetle battle stylings."

That's the point. How much of samurai history or WWII culture or '70s delinquent culture did you get from watching Gundam or Godzilla or Macross or Akira? You just enjoyed them because you found them cool!

The golden agers were reaching for the stars: their industry couldn't afford to produce a grand spectacle of a film like 2001 or Star Wars, so they did the next best thing by working deeper, sometimes traditional, themes into their anime. What bothers me about so much modern stuff is that it isn't ABOUT anything except trying to ape old anime.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/03/2011 03:15AM by MattAlt.
Just to delurk and vent some ancient, long since mellowed-out Micronut outrage, you forget that Microman had a decent manga run in the late 70's before the 1980 "New Microman" reboot (and even this still had a manga still drawn by Moritou-sensei, albeit much inferior to the 70's serial run and episodic) and in the mid-80's was starting to look like it was moving towards a potential anime and move toward "real-type" robots (and featured some of Shinji Aramaki's early work, not just on the eventual TF-bot Microchange stuff, but on the nifty powered suits too...). Microman didn't have anything to do with King Walder other than it being a point of inspiration for Microman's own, much more developed enemies, the Acroyears. Transformers killed all of that (though it absorbed many of Microman's motifs) when Takara dropped Diaclone and Microman flat for it.

As for amplification, I can't disagree more. I go to the local con (Sakura-Con) here in Seattle each year, and it is up to approaching 20,000 fans attending, nearly half of which cosplay (on a proportionate scale I've never seen at a Japanese event), and most of which are early college age, and about half are female. The con is a big enough event to get letters each year from the mayor, governor, and Japan consulate published, and an official day honored in Seattle. While most cosplay more mainstream stuff, there's a pretty large contingency of fans of both genders there that follow the latest shows, including the niche stuff. Generally the outsider view that I've witnessed is about the same reaction trekkies and other overly zealous fans. Most outsiders are not too familiar with the whole "moe'" thing, so the stigma isn't there outside of sensationalist media stories on Fox and the like now and then, largely ignored or faced with fan backlash. A local station interviewed a group of cosplayers of disparate ages and gender on a morning magazine-type show with a positively benevolent take on the whole thing (the two young sisters cosplaying K-on characters were particularly well received by the show's hostess).

I'm not saying that the more extreme stuff doesn't get ridiculed in some cases, but so far not particularly what I would call "amplified", not yet at least.

Now I don't live in Japan so I can't say what it is like there other than from second hand reports, but it really seems to me that both there and abroad, the more noxious types who create these scenes like the body-pillow carriers, panting lolicons, open fetishists and so forth are the extremist fans who give the rest of us a bad name, and not necessarily representative of the main bulk of fans, just the most obnoxious, outspoken, and attention grabbing man-children. I think most fans would rather just keep their hobby to themselves (and their friends...if they have them) rather than try to create a scene.

I like a certain share of moe, though I believe my definition and interpretation of moe is IMHO a bit nuanced compared to the stereotypical "lolicon-harem-pervert-pandering" interpretation. I enjoy it in moderation and I don't wear it on my sleeve either like some do. I consider moe largely a cross-pollination from the 90's shoujo anime boom (Sailor Moon, Rayearth, Card Captor Sakura, for example) that is also an extension of the fandom that originally grew up around shows like Urusei Yatsura and such back in the 80's. A continuity of moe as such extends back through the history of anime. Shoujo influences on shounen and seinen series resulting in an emphasis on the cute and feminine. Pandering? In many late night cases, sure. But keep in mind that a show with moe elements is not the same as a "moe show", as moe is very much an eye of the beholder thing. Madoka Magica won accolades for good reason. The character designs are moe to be sure, but the story is anything but, a nearly lovecraftian Sci-fi deconstruction of the mahou shoujo genre with unorthodox collage animation and a haunting soundtrack. K-on is a total "moe-blob" show to be sure, but enjoys a 30% female fandom in Japan and I expect that percentage is possibly higher here from what I've seen. And I could go on, but I'm already toeing the forum rules line so I'll leave off for now.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/03/2011 04:50AM by microbry.
MattAlt Wrote:
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<snip>
> The golden agers were reaching for the stars:
> their industry couldn't afford to produce a grand
> spectacle of a film like 2001 or Star Wars, so
> they did the next best thing by working deeper,
> sometimes traditional, themes into their anime.
> What bothers me about so much modern stuff is that
> it isn't ABOUT anything except trying to ape old
> anime.

But this isn't exclusively Japanese, considering the many Western remakes of 1970s and 1980s franchises we're seeing lately: superhero and campy 1980s series reimagined as blockbuster movies, rehashed TV series, etc.

--
SilhouetteFormula.Net
MattAlt Wrote:
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> A
> successful franchise is about more than just
> product; you need characters and a story, and
> Takara didn't really have that.

yeah i know mang

i talk about that a lot on my podcast for collectiondx

because it's something i'm passionate about

also so i can proved Daryl Surat wrong


> Who cares? The point I'm making is that these guys
> -- the director of District 9, people like
> Guillermo Del Toro (whose next film is a giant
> robot versus kaiju flick), people at Pixar,
> writers like Ernest Cline -- the suits, the
> tropes, all of it, resonates with people who are
> actually making things. That is all that really
> matters. The world's top creatives LOVE robots and
> monsters and the whole shebang.

And how many of those movies are major blockbusters? All I see them doing is using their fetishes to appeal to greater audiences by wrapping them underneath mainstream sensibilities. I don't know if this really creates any appreciation.


>
> I cannot see a wave of anything but pity at best
> and revulsion at worst for moe-themed anime.
> Partially because that's what I get from JAPANESE
> people. I can only imagine how much more amplified
> that is abroad.
>

like microbry said, there's not that much revulsion among American fans except in the writers of various blogs :3

like them Colony Drop guys

American fans focus on the positive as some of the seedier elements do not affect them.



> That's the point. How much of samurai history or
> WWII culture or '70s delinquent culture did you
> get from watching Gundam or Godzilla or Macross or
> Akira? You just enjoyed them because you found
> them cool!

Well it's really hard to miss the WWII culture from watching Gundam. Then again I was definitely not a little mil-otaku, carting huge books about tanks and airplanes from the library every other week. I only saw Akira once and walked out towards the end. I appreciate the efforts of the expensive day camp counselor who called himself Dev (Daniel Edwards Very cool), but maybe you shouldn't be showing Akira with the bleedin Streamline dub to a bunch of 13 year olds just out of the blue.


> The golden agers were reaching for the stars:
> their industry couldn't afford to produce a grand
> spectacle of a film like 2001 or Star Wars, so
> they did the next best thing by working deeper,
> sometimes traditional, themes into their anime.
> What bothers me about so much modern stuff is that
> it isn't ABOUT anything except trying to ape old
> anime.


Matt, I say this with sincerity that I feel you are dismissing a lot of what many modern anime creators are trying to do. I know sometimes what you see can make you feel disconnected from something you used to enjoy so much. I feel the same way about Transformers. However, behind some of the superficial elements to modern anime there are many shows that are still trying to tell a good story. Granted a lot of stuff now is more openly based on existing material like light novels and manga, but the creative spark is still there. I can't say if they are reaching for the stars as you so romantically put it, but they're trying. For myself, I think Macross Frontier managed to build upon its forbears in way that encapsulated both old and new ideas into something that is resonating with people all over. The series had some rough patches towards the beginning and a few instances of very low Moe-ton rated moments. The culmination of what the show managed to achieve was the two Frontier movies. The first is good but the second is a genuinely well crafted and very enjoyable film. Now the enigmatic Kawamori always smiles upon us in ways that make us uncomfortable sometimes, but I feel that he and his crew still know what makes anime special.


then again i have a Blazer Valkyrie next to me as I type so maybe I'm heavily biased :3
Without reading the articles, I will say it's a mixed bag to be sure but there is a noticeable, if slight, shift back towards diversity. Based on what I've seen in the last couple of months, there seem to be a few more shows that cater to those that don't care about teenage angst or shows about nothing starring cute girls. I think this is what older fans like me are mostly reacting to. For a good amount of time, there seemed to be nothing produced but really typical high school based anything in every imaginable setting or just some blatantly male gazey fanservice shows like Queen's Blade.

Going from personal experience, I grew up with anime. Not by traveling in fan circles or the internet but simply by watching UHF tv in the early morning hours and afternoon. I had Kimba, Speedracer, Battle of the Planets, Starblazers and various Kaiju on the weekends and holidays during marathons of Godzilla and Ultraman movies. There is a definite anime/japanese influence on the subconscious of this country. It may not be as mainstream as sports or nascar but it's there and people can casually identify it. I mean, Community of all shows, had THIS to mark the high point of tension between two characters...

[www.youtube.com]

Now, once again Community is not necessarily a tent post institution of American awareness BUT it resonates within the same fandom circles that follow and revere anything "cool" from Japan. The fact alone that they are graphically referencing anime on a prime time network comedy and a good amount of people will recognize it as such is proof alone that there's something there to build on.

Going back to diversity, if productions can find a way to balance out some of the money making tropes with genuinely good stories, I don't think we'd have a lot of the hemming and hawing over moe that frequently happens. Not just in Japan but in American fan circles as well. It's not impossible and has been achieved in shows like Noein and Dennou Coil.

Various cons are great ways to see how the influence hasn't worn off but make no mistake. While there are sections of current American fandom that embrace more of the blatant shows regardless of the level of fan pandering, there is also an even divide of fans who seek out more challenging or mature work. They may not dress up in cosplay or even attend cons but if my colleagues in animation or students at school are any indication, the internet, Netflix and the Hulu are introducing and sustaining a good range of fans.

Kon's or Miyazaki's films don't do blockbuster numbers in the US, but you will still see an outpouring of praise for how they deftly craft their visions on the internet and even in mainstream publications. Even more importantly, Darren Aronofsky's open admission of Kon's influence on his work or the existence of TV shows like Avatar the Last Airbender are pretty high profile indications of that influence as well.



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 12/03/2011 01:08PM by Kwesi K..
Again, I'm trying my hardest to refrain from commenting on this thread. What bothers me is that the mere notion of liking moe or even "gasp" lolicon, that there is some horrible flaw with me (or people like me that defend it) that needs to be fixed.

Given that my first taste of anime as knowing it as anime (Guyver, Sailor Moon, M.D. Geist, Dominion Tank Police, Teknoman, Samurai Pizza Cats, Voltage Fighter Gowkaiser), I never really cared about anime being a deep or intellectual medium on par of high art cinema. If there is a message that's fine but I rarely go looking for it. That's not to say that EVERY show that comes out now I enjoy but this has been a great time for anime for me as opposed to the late 90's early 00's where I wasn't paying much attention (mostly due to my focus on super sentai and most of what was popular on Adult Swim did nothing for me like Cowboy Bebop, Trigun or Gundam Wing). Some shows are meant to be relaxing fluff like K-On and Hidamari Sketch and that's OK.

--------------------------------------------------------------

I asked if I have "Time For L-Gaim" but I got "No Reply From The Wind".
*cough*




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/03/2011 03:04PM by Kwesi K..
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Vincent Z. Wrote:
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> Again, I'm trying my hardest to refrain from
> commenting on this thread. What bothers me is that
> the mere notion of liking moe or even "gasp"
> lolicon, that there is some horrible flaw with me
> (or people like me that defend it) that needs to
> be fixed.

Dude, no one is even talking about that! They're talking about where the anime industry makes its money, whether that business model is sustainable, and how the industry can reach out to new markets or take advantage of the familiarity or affection that people outside the core market already have for anime!

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
MattAlt (Admin)
Guys, if you like moé and bishonen tokusatsu and emo-mecha stuff I am your biggest supporter. It's not my thing but I appreciate that everyone has their interests and that styles change. I'm not really interested in debating the merits of specific shows because that devolves into subjective opinion. I'm sure there's lots of great stuff out there that I am missing, in your humble opinion. I just don't have the inclination to watch most of what I see advertised here, and I see a lot, on TV, movie previews, and on ads/signs around town.

I'd simply accept that I've outgrown this shit but I really don't think this is the case, because when the rare something comes along that I like, I am really energized by it. And I honestly love interacting with the people who actually make stuff -- the manga-ka, the sculptors, the in-betweeners, everyone. Hell, even the marketing dudes.

Bringing things back around, even before the Tohoku disaster Japan was in a bad place economically. It's in a worse one now. And what I am doing is agreeing with David that I do not think the current trends in Japanese pop culture will sustain Japan's "mindshare" in the same way that it did from the Seventies through the early 2000s. This is a problem because Japan is increasingly counting on "soft power" (content) to sustain it as rival nations like China and Korea surpass it on the manufacturing ("hardware") front.

This doesn't have to do with whether robots are "better" than teenage girls (or whatever) but rather what is exportable and what is not. I'm sorry, but I am just not seeing the spectacle like I once did. What I see are anime in-jokes, asexual boys, and underage girls ahoy. Which are fine as appetizers or side dishes, but they've become the bulk of the meal.

You are welcome to disagree, and here's the kicker: as someone who actually makes a living in the Japanese content industry, I actually hope that I am wrong!
MattAlt Wrote:
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> Guys, if you like moé and bishonen tokusatsu and
> emo-mecha stuff I am your biggest supporter.

don't lie to me

only Sunrise can lie to me and they do a terrible job at it
Fair enough Matt.

--------------------------------------------------------------

I asked if I have "Time For L-Gaim" but I got "No Reply From The Wind".
I would tend to agree with you Matt. That was part of what I was getting at by saying there is somewhat of a shift back to diversity. I just seems that what usually would be the ways of making money off something that's a bit more than a side dish seems to have been eroded by technology and fan entitlement.

Apologies for contributing to the noise, otherwise...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/03/2011 09:36PM by Kwesi K..
An interesting analysis, Matt. Now I've read recently that TV Tokyo announced that CrunchyRoll was bringing in something like 75,000 subscribers currently for their content. While not an enormous number, that's still pretty significant compared to the numbers that the niche market releases are catering to. Now most of these subscribers are likely on board for stuff like Naruto and Bleach (or whatever the biggest shounen seller is on CrunchyRoll, I honestly don't recall which show is with which streaming service--there's also Hulu, the Funimation/NicoNicoDouga fusion, Bandai, YouTube, etc.), true, but there's a lot of other material getting those eyeballs too, and it's easy for them to track which plays best with the foreign market. And some popular shows with the fans do happen to be rather unorthodox and/or offbeat, in a good way.

On one hand, we want diversity and less recycling of the same basic material, yet on the other hand, it is the repeatable successes that draw the biggest income. We want to see Japan's anime/manga/toy goods find purchase on foreign soil (as Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Bakugan and so on have done in the children's anime/manga/game/toy market quite handily and become essentially evergreen brands), but that is usually appealing to another lower common denominator or to younger fans. Games-toys-anime of the Pokemon mold have been the big sellers here, on a scale far beyond most other Japanese properties. These juggernauts don't encourage much in the way of diversity, creativity, or mature material. And a soft spot for mecha anime of the 70's or 80's doesn't change the fact that it largely fits into the same mold. Great series like, say, Armored Trooper Votoms were exceptions to the general rule even back in the day and took advantage of a bubble in the market which quickly passed. Cool robot toys/kits or not, most of the old shows aside from said exceptions would not hold up today beyond nostalgic wishful thinking, and each was marketed for a very specific period of time (both in terms of sponsorship and the contemporary viewers). Those that have survived longer as franchises such as Gundam can only do so by constant yet limited reinvention.

It is kind of ironic that one of the series that has the stronger potential for marketing abroad recently has had its legs cut out from under it due to a prior attempt to do the same getting caught in a trademark/copyright hell (thank you Big West/Tatsunoko/Harmony Gold...).

On a related note, Kodansha has (after a long absence from the US market of the series) begun re-releasing, freshly translated, the Sailor Moon manga (currently with no other major marketing tie-ins in the US), which has since been dominating the #1 position for best-selling manga in the New York Times best-sellers list (and has been doing similar things in other large foreign markets). Can an anime and toy license revival for that series be far behind now?

The market here in the US is more open to anime than it ever has, with whole generations that have grown up on these shows and remember them. The culture has become more savvy to some Japanese influences (cuisine, Harajuku fashion among the ladies, Ghibli films, otaku-influenced buzzwords, etc.) and much of the current adult population remembers shows like Transformers and Voltron, sometimes even Robotech, Akira, Dragonball, or even Tenchi Muyou and the like with fond nostalgia, and Cowboy Bebop and Evangelion posters adorn office walls everywhere it seems. As Marty McFly once said even in the 80's, Japan is where all the cool stuff comes from...that's still a fairly prevalent view, I think, although the toehold has slipped in the gaming market of late. But otherwise the market is primed here really. It's waiting for Japan to find that sweet spot again. But what can catch on here is anyone's guess, and will depend on if Japanese creators can find the next big thing that goes beyond shounen formula and various established fetishes (in both the sexual and non-sexual sense).

Which brings me back to Matt's point, which is this doesn't really seem to be happening (at least not yet, not now), even if I--admittedly being a lifelong ani-ota--personally enjoy and watch several anime series each season myself and believe that overall there has been a significant improvement in storytelling (in the more worthwhile series) and production quality (across the board).

(also apologies if I've rehashed some points from this thread...)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/04/2011 01:05AM by microbry.
microbry Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Cool robot toys/kits
> or not, most of the old shows aside from said
> exceptions would not hold up today beyond
> nostalgic wishful thinking, and each was marketed
> for a very specific period of time (both in terms
> of sponsorship and the contemporary viewers).
> Those that have survived longer as franchises such
> as Gundam can only do so by constant yet limited
> reinvention.

I would like to also emphasize this point. You see, because of websites like this I can honestly say with the conviction of a child who was caught with the marijuana that I LEARNED ALL THIS FROM WATCHING YOUUUUUUUUU :< Because thanks to the efforts of fansubbers, a huge chunk of shows from the so called "Golden Age" of robots a lot them were... decent. Having recently re-watched Orguss and things like Panzer World Galient, these days we'd accuse shows of this nature for being shamelessly pandering to popular trends. Orguss more on the character side and Galient more on the mechanical side.

Also thanks to fansubbers I got the see the precise moment Votoms destroyed itself in the mid 90's. Thanks for that.

> It is kind of ironic that one of the series that
> has the stronger potential for marketing abroad
> recently has had its legs cut out from under it
> due to a prior attempt to do the same getting
> caught in a trademark/copyright hell (thank you
> Big West/Tatsunoko/Harmony Gold...).

I KNO RITE

There was almost (but not over) 9,000 people torrenting just the raw for the second Frontier movie. I don't wholly begrudge Big West for staying out of America (because I'm a huge apologist you see) because Harmony Gold is still actively trying to promote their product based on ignorance.

> Which brings me back to Matt's point, which is
> this doesn't really seem to be happening (at least
> not yet, not now), even if I--admittedly being a
> lifelong ani-ota--personally enjoy and watch
> several anime series each season myself and
> believe that overall there has been a significant
> improvement in storytelling (in the more
> worthwhile series) and production quality (across
> the board).

Some people are saying Tiger and Bunny has this potential as it seems to hit all the right spots of quality entertainment with cool Japanese stuff.

And that Redline movie?

Ha ha.

Still, are we still stuck at the problem that the creators influenced by that soft power are just repacking their own experiences with anime and doing far better than the source material in western markets (not because they're white or some more acceptable minority, clearly)?
[yfrog.com]
perhaps Otaku P.I. can solve the mystery of who murdered the anime industry

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Is that a Garma pillow

Garma-sama~
[www.animenewsnetwork.com]

That's what you get for not releasing Doan's Island!
[www.animenewsnetwork.com]

Some interesting comments here from Tiger & Bunny producer Masayuki Ozaki about demographics of anime viewership and the ways that studios can recoup production costs.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
[iggysbuttiscute.tumblr.com]

cuz female fans would never want this
[www.bleedingcool.com]

A Floridian comic shop is running an ad (supported by DC Comics' program that reimburses retailers for running ads featuring DC publications) urging customers to trade in their manga for DC books.

There's a War on Manga, folks. It's time to pick a side. But how can we be expected to choose between these two slightly different types of puerile power fantasy accompanied with objectification of women??

The ad also recasts DC's Cyborg as a robotic President Obama, because Cyborg is black and the person who wrote this ad is racist.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
At least manga teaches us how to select a proper wine

all Tony Stark did was drink Jack Daniels all the time
VF5SS Wrote:
> At least manga teaches us how to select a proper
> wine

The part in Drops of God where Miyabi's sommelier mentor who looks like John Waters demonstrates to Shizuku that sometimes a $20 bottle can be better than a $100 bottle is great. The series needs more of that stuff :3


By the way, the man behind the DC ad has posted an insincere nonapology, which others reporting on this nonsense (such as AnimeNewsNetwork) are taking at face value. Apparently the fact that the guy considers it a joke makes everything okay.

[www.bleedingcool.com]

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
look you japanosupermicists need to chillax

just because my industry is losing to your doesn't mean we're seeking money while ignoring the real issues in our business
[www.youtube.com]

pour one out

respek
I'm killing the industry.

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I asked if I have "Time For L-Gaim" but I got "No Reply From The Wind".
Attachments:
open | download - HS-DVD-collection-small.jpg (325.2 KB)
open | download - K-ON!-DVD-collection-small.jpg (310.1 KB)
More whining from people that think moe is killing the anime industry.


[www.animenation.net]

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I asked if I have "Time For L-Gaim" but I got "No Reply From The Wind".
Wen Spencer's novel "A Brother's Price" is a serious piece of sociological speculative fiction, depicting an alternate Earth where eight to ten women are born for every man.
(there's a plot summary here, for anyone who's interested: [www.wenspencer.com] )

In Japan, however, her novel is titled "Welcome to the Kingdom of Women", and this is the cover art:
[www.amazon.co.jp]

Otaku marketing at its finest!

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
>and this is the cover art:

How do you feel when they take Japanese videogames with cutesy covers and make then gritty for HARDCORE EXTREME GAMERZ?

[tvtropes.org]

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I asked if I have "Time For L-Gaim" but I got "No Reply From The Wind".
Almost all of the examples on that TV Tropes page are total crap. Like everything on TV Tropes. Are there any examples I should actually care about? Like, the first thing I saw there was the Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks example. Oh my god, the Japanese box art has Link and Zelda's spirit driving their train, while the American box art has Link fighting back to back with a Zelda-possessed suit of armor! THOSE THINGS BOTH HAPPEN IN THE GAME!!!

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Er, it's more about art styles. For games,Japanese prefer cuteness/roundness and cartoony, AMERICA prefers hardcore seriousness and realism.

Megaman is one of the most hilarious examples.

Also:





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I asked if I have "Time For L-Gaim" but I got "No Reply From The Wind".
I'm not sure if I'm helping Paul or Vincent more on this one, but:

(NSFW site)
[www.sankakucomplex.com]

In any case, the history of completely awful westernizations of Japanese games and/or their covers is well-documented, TV Tropes (ugh) notwithstanding.

Looking back a little earlier...it's interesting though that the western cover for A Brother's Price looks just as generic a western SF cover as the Japanese one does for one there. The Catherine Asaro quote did more to get my attention, really (and for that matter Asaro's work was once billed in Japan as the western equivalent of the Crest of the Stars series).

It was pretty funny reading through some of the sample though with the image from the Japanese cover held in mind. I can just hear all the squeaky "Onii-sama"s and "Onee-chan"s in the back of my mind. Talk about completely corrupting the entire image! I bet it has illustrations inside in the same style, too, as is typical of Japanese novels.

Lastly, anyone who thinks supporting K-on or Hidamari Sketch is somehow HURTING the anime industry has a screw or two loose. @_@

I do have to admit that while I know things are getting pretty bleak for anime production, at the same time, I've been hearing the "anime industry will be dead in five years" since the early 90's when I asked Miyazaki this (through a group interview) and got more or less that response, and again when I asked Anno in the late 90's and at every other point I've asked or seen someone ask an industry insider. It's always been "dead within the next 5-10 years" each time.

That imminent death has been claimed for at least two decades. But the demand is still there, if more insular, and the supply keeps coming. I think it will continue, but it is absolutely necessary for anime to catch up with the digital distribution era and to find new shows with new hooks for broader audiences while maintaining the niche sales. Moe isn't killing the industry, it's the life preserver that is keeping what is left of it afloat, or rather, treading water while it seeks new purchase.

Of course, I've always been overly optimistic...
..so what do kids in Japan watch on TV nowadays?

--
SilhouetteFormula.Net
>Lastly, anyone who thinks supporting K-on or Hidamari Sketch is somehow HURTING the anime industry has a screw or two loose. @_@

Well, there were some people who think Redline is going to SAVE anime....

despite it bombing hard in Japan.

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I asked if I have "Time For L-Gaim" but I got "No Reply From The Wind".
thomas Wrote:
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> ..so what do kids in Japan watch on TV nowadays?


Pokemon
thomas Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ..so what do kids in Japan watch on TV nowadays?

One Piece.

The Bleach is ending BTW.

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I asked if I have "Time For L-Gaim" but I got "No Reply From The Wind".
Vincent Z. Wrote:
> Er, it's more about art styles. For games,Japanese
> prefer cuteness/roundness and cartoony, AMERICA
> prefers hardcore seriousness and realism.

And your best examples are Megaman and Bomberman games that came out TWENTY YEARS AGO?

I'm not saying there aren't American releases of Japanese games with awful cover art meant to appeal to a certain American fan mindset, but if you're going to bring this up, at least do more than one minute of research to come up with a suitable, relevant example.


microbry Wrote:
>
> Looking back a little earlier...it's interesting
> though that the western cover for A Brother's
> Price looks just as generic a western SF cover as
> the Japanese one does for one there.

Haha, that's true, but it has the typical "angst and alienation" feel of a lot of dystopian SF. The romance novel models aside, the figure in front of an orange-lit landscape with a huge moon in the distance reminds me of a couple of the various covers for Le Guin's "The Dispossessed". I think this cover has got to be a lot closer to the actual content of the book than the harem-anime implications of the Japanese cover.

And actually, I think this cover is particularly, egregiously pandering for a Japanese release of an American novel. Most anime-styled cover illustrations are a more equitable depiction - they seem to be the equivalent of an American SF cover, just rendered in an anime style. This one is just using the novel's subject as an excuse to say, "Here, have every female character type we can think of, all at once!"

> It was pretty funny reading through some of the
> sample though with the image from the Japanese
> cover held in mind. I can just hear all the
> squeaky "Onii-sama"s and "Onee-chan"s in the back
> of my mind. Talk about completely corrupting the
> entire image!

I KNOW, RIGHT??

> I bet it has illustrations inside in the same
> style, too, as is typical of Japanese novels.

I saw a copy at Book-Off here in NYC. I'll check it out next time I'm there. Some translated SF novels released by Hayakawa do have interior illustrations, but others don't.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Wise words from my otaku friend.

[sheslostcontrol.net]

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I asked if I have "Time For L-Gaim" but I got "No Reply From The Wind".
Vincent Z. Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wise words from my otaku friend.
>
> [sheslostcontrol.net]

This domain name is deliciously ironic, considering the subject and the article's issues.

Selected quotes:

Quote

The Anti-Moé Brigade, for all their touted intellectualism, has, for the most part, been very resistant to any actual discussion about moé. They'll certainly talk about how much it moé sucks and how horrible it is that we aren't getting more REDLINEs and Cowboy Bebops, but when it comes to actually discussing moé, intellectualism seems to take a back seat to plain old anti-otakuism.

Yes, because when the other party doesn't say exactly what you want them to say, the proper reaction is to switch the discussion to their person. Instead of, you know, addressing the points they make (that you dislike and perhaps don't wish to hear).

So in this case, you paint them as creepy intellectuals who, gosh, dare to criticise your shut-in stance with regards to moe.

Quote

Under the guise of intellectualism, they've managed to shut out any earnest discussion about moé, painting it and its fans as anti-intellectual. They're free to spout whatever anti-moé sentiment they want, because they've successfully convinced people that they are the intellectuals against the anti-intellectuals. They've ingrained a sense of "nerd hierarchy" into the fandom.

The hypocrisy in this quote is just so flagrant.

The whole article is essentially a demonstration of exactly that "nerd hierarchy", by attempting to elevate certain people in the anime fandom above others because 'obviously' moe is superior to other genres. And that pro-moe opinion cannot be wrong, no siree, no, never, it is the only truth out there, and anyone who dislikes it is a evil intellectual who needs to shut the fuck up.

Quote

It's become the norm among Western anime fans (especially the Anti-Moé Brigade) to vilify moé otaku.

Pot, meet kettle.

The rest of this paragraph ain't better:

Quote

It's easy to look at an otaku with his dakimakura and say "what a weirdo,"

Frankly, the dakimakuras with clothed characters on them are fairly okay, it's when they have hentai pictures on them that it gets disturbing, as those are effectively the cushion equivalent of a blow-up doll. I.e. "Virgin who won't ever get laid as long as that thing is in plain view". The interesting thing is that on the Dutch anime forum I read now and then the people who buy these things aknowledge that and keep them locked away in a separate room or cupboard - implicit suggestion they know it is not seen as socially acceptable?

Quote

but it's important to consider that moé otaku are the current majority market for anime.

Statistics? Sources?

Quote

Like it or not, their input is important, especially in the current moé-dominated anime climate. In addition, being the dominant force in the anime market today, moé deserves earnest discussion, and the Anti-Moé Brigade has been instrumental in not only preventing this discourse from occurring, but also in driving the Western fanbase toward an anti-moé mindset.

"Earnest discussion" doesn't equal "no discussion about the negative aspects whatsoever".

The next paragraph is worse:

Quote

It's easy to see in the way the Anti-Moé Brigade approaches moé. Various negative connotations have been associated with moé by the Anti-Moé Brigade. Moé is "sexist." It's "manipulative,"; and based around the concept of "weak, dependent women." It's "fetishistic," "pedophilic,"

...because it accuses those eviiiiiiiil anti-moe "intellectuals" of things the moe-lovers readily admit themselves in the various comment sections of various image boards.

Quote

and it "enables bad storytelling." It's "niche,"; a "suicidal" business model.

Nice escalation of terms. Note the 'subtle' switch from complaints about the contents of the moe animes to complaints about the business model. The reason it is a suicidal business model is that there are too many companies competing for the same small market, a market that will shrink further as the number of ties between that market and other anime markets are cut further as the companies focus more and more on those key aspects of this particular genre while ignoring that appeal to other markets is important to make it easy to switch to another line of business when things go wonky!

Quote

It's somehow the cause of Japan's declining birthrate (#1: Aren't birthrates in developed countries supposed to be low? #2: How are moé otaku such a "niche" consumer base, but at the same time a large enough group to actually matter to Japan's birthrate in a major way?). They spread biased misinformation about moé without bothering to get the real story from those who know best: The fans themselves.

Yay, switch of cause and effect! Incomplete simplification of a real-life social problem that has serious implications! And obviously the fans themselves know best, that's why so many of them are successfully running businesses that produce tons and tons of highly successful series that bring in tons of money! Oh wait...

Quote

However, when the moé fandom steps up to defend moé, the Anti-Moé Brigade accuses them of personalizing the issue.

As this article effectively self-demonstrates. Genious.

Quote

Somehow, the Anti-Moé Brigade is free from criticism because they're insulting the shows, not the fans, oblivious to the fact that when they call a show sexist or pedophilic, it carries the implication that the show's fans are sexists or pedophiles.

This is a total misrepresentation of this discussion. But then it is known that biased people will only read/hear what they want to hear and happily skip whatever doesn't fit into their picture.

Quote

Any attempt to argue moé's merits is met with dismissal or hostility.

If those arguments would actually tell us what you appreciate in moe, instead of repeating all those vile points of criticism and putting them in a positive light without much further thought...*sigh*

Give us an in-depth reasoning of what appeals to you in moe. If you appreciate the fact that the girls are all cute and bubbly that is fine, but don't feel attacked when we point out the real-life implications of such. When we discuss mecha or an anime with complicated political context, no one starts to accuse us of being anti-mecha or anti-politics when we point out that certain things wouldn't work like that in real-life situations.

Quote

Moé otaku are ostracized from the anime discussion at large.

Direct contradiction of "but it's important to consider that moé otaku are the current majority market for anime."

Quote

If the so-called "intellectuals" refuse to level with the moé fandom to genuinely discuss moé, then it falls upon the moé fandom to push back and reclaim their rightful spot as equals in the anime fandom. Only then, when all parts of anime fandom can get together as equals, can we have a genuine, earnest dialogue about moé.

We don't need to level up with you, as long as you don't attempt to level up with us. A good discussion requires effort from both parties, so we (us and you) need to level up to each other.

--
SilhouetteFormula.Net



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/26/2012 04:40AM by thomas.
Don't tell me, tell him.

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I asked if I have "Time For L-Gaim" but I got "No Reply From The Wind".
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