Anime Decade: From Japan Cool to Cooling Off

Posted by MattAlt 
MattAlt (Admin)
I suspect moé fans in general would have a wee better reputation if they had the self-esteem to just enjoy their shows in peace, rather than turning every discussion about the industry, no matter how tangential, into an impassioned plea for acceptance.
MattAlt (Admin)
And no, we haven't felt this in our workload -- my company's main focus is the game industry. I appreciate the thought, though.
MSW
The video game industry has been lureing animators and artists away from the animation industry for more than a decade now. The pay and standard of living is better.

And keep in mind that while K-On! and Bakemonogatari might be a couple of the biggest anime DVD sellers EVAR!(both are licensed from manga properties) Combined they don't even come close to something like the sales of Final Fantasy XIII.
mcfitch (Admin)
MattAlt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I suspect moé fans in general would have a wee
> better reputation if they had the self-esteem to
> just enjoy their shows in peace, rather than
> turning every discussion about the industry, no
> matter how tangential, into an impassioned plea
> for acceptance.



Matt, could you provide some examples?
-Mason

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Matthewalt "I actually kinda LIKE that approach! You know: let's make a TOY. Remember those? Products designed to be played with without breaking? DO YOU REMEMBER, LOVE?!"
MattAlt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> >>Because I'm just not seeing the all the problems
> that Matt Alt stated in his original article
>
> Perhaps this is because you live in the United
> States, not in the country where all of this is
> taking place.
>
> But you don't have to take my word for it. Take
> the Harvard Business School's. Or anonymous
> comments from industry insiders. Or JETRO, the
> Japan Fair Trade Commission, or METI's.
>
> The original topic of my article, as has been
> explained to you several times by multiple people
> already, isn't moé. It isn't about you, or your
> private hobbies. If people derive harmless
> pleasure from watching shows featuring little
> girls frolicking around, more power to them. The
> issues we're discussing here run a lot deeper than
> any specific content. They are structural. And
> they aren't showing any signs of getting better.

Wow, that is sad. I just wish there was a way us Westerners can help but I guess I'm being naive in that notion. Other than buying the toys, anime and manga I do enjoy, there's not much people on this side can do. It'll have to come from the industry themselves. Maybe these articles coming out will possible be the wake up call they need to help this situation.
MattAlt (Admin)
> Wow, that is sad. I just wish there was a way us
> Westerners can help but I guess I'm being naive in
> that notion. Other than buying the toys, anime and
> manga I do enjoy, there's not much people on this
> side can do. It'll have to come from the industry
> themselves. Maybe these articles coming out will
> possible be the wake up call they need to help
> this situation.

Finally, a breakthrough.

And just think, it only took two months to get us here.

The most direct way to help studios is by purchasing their DVDs from Japanese retailers at the usual insane prices. But that isn't really realistic. And it isn't going to fix the fundamental money-flow problems in the industry, the lack of access to capital, the horrendous wages paid to its workers, the myriad of issues that force studios to sell DVDs to make payroll. If my reports seem like gloom and doom, it isn't because I enjoy rubbernecking. It's because a crash and burn might well be the only way to "reboot" the system over there. It sure isn't working particularly well now.

Japan has an incredible storytelling tradition and some truly first-rate artists. There is no reason they shouldn't be playing a bigger role in world entertainment than they are now. In a very tiny way, this is exactly what Hiroko and I have been trying to do with books like Yokai Attack, re-packaging Japanese tales and art in ways that might appeal to a mainstream audience in the West. (And on that note, we have another book in the works -- stay tuned for details in a few month, closer to the release date!)
There is a problem with that, of course. the whole 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' thing caused by the ossified thinking of studio execs (both here and Japan).

So you buy the insane expensive Japanese DVDs. "Hooray! they're perfectly happy with the way things are! We must keep doing this!"

Don't buy the DVDs. "The customers don't understand us or our needs! Let's keep doing what we're doing, eventually they'll come around"

Of course the American market is even more f'ed up as NOBODY (from Warner Bros to Dark Sky Films) seems able to understand that one of the main reasons DVD sales are dropping across the board is the LACK OF STORES TO SELL THEM.

rarg.
I'd say that another problem with western studios currently seems to be that a lot of their productions are rehashes/reboots of 2-3 decades-old TV series. Especially animation suffers from this, but there's also the incessant production of movies based on old TV series and comics.

Can't they be original?

--
SilhouetteFormula.Net
mcfitch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Matt, could you provide some examples?
> -Mason

every post vinnie mackes on cdx or the anime world order blog
*link removed*

Let me explain why this this relevant to Matt's original original article. Basically
SHAFT (who's output I find hit or miss, mostly good for screencap fodder), has to postpone not only the extra episode of Bakemongatari, but their other series, Dance in the Vampire Bund. Even the one I've been following, the third season of Hidamari Sketch, has had production problems in the beginning where they had to do a cheap fake opening and ending credits because the true ones weren't finished until few episodes later.

TL;DR

They're taking a bite more than what they can chew. Even the series I care about can't escape the fact that a studio like this is having a lack of animators even though the demand for more shows increases. I don't even think SHAFT outsources their animation work.

It's a bit messed up how this studio is having trouble completing their shows in time, while other studios can turn out week after week of the same mind numbing filler for more popular shows like Bleach and Naruto.

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

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



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/16/2010 10:51PM by mcfitch.
You could give a warning for half-nekkid loli images on that link (IMHO, it's amusing that said studio is called "SHAFT", coincerning their animes' subjects).

I frankly fail to see how it is messed up that more popular, more mainstream shows do not suffer from delays in filler episode productions...seems logical.

--
SilhouetteFormula.Net
SteveH Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Of course the American market is even more f'ed up
> as NOBODY (from Warner Bros to Dark Sky Films)
> seems able to understand that one of the main
> reasons DVD sales are dropping across the board is
> the LACK OF STORES TO SELL THEM.
>
> rarg.

I do not understand this comment. Target, Best Buy, hell, NETFLIX are all substantial distribution sources of all types of movies. Not to mention all the online retailers. I don't buy as many dvd's as I used to, but I never have a problem finding the one I want.

Are you talking about suncoast video and blockbuster going out of business?
Every news post on the site Vince linked is about rape...

Introducing Prometheus Rising Studio.
[prometheusrising.net]
I make 3D printed mecha action figures.
"Qualifications?"
"Rape, murder, arson, and rape."
"You said rape twice."
"I like rape."
MattAlt (Admin)
You couldn't pay me to click that link, but episode-delivery problems are a big issue in the industry already. And with the advent of digital delivery, you can expect it to get even worse.

[altjapan.typepad.com]
>You couldn't pay me to click that link,

Why? What stopped you before? Beside, I think you guys should know what to expect from Sankaku Complex by now.

Guess not.

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

I asked if I have "Time For L-Gaim" but I got "No Reply From The Wind".
MattAlt (Admin)
>>Why?

Because others said the content deals with topics of questionable taste, and I trust their judgement more than yours. I suspect I'm not the only one who does this with links you post, so in the future, you might want to cut and paste the text if you want anyone to actually read it.
>you might want to cut and paste the text if you want anyone to actually read it.

DOH! Why didn't I think of doing that first? Sorry about that.

Anyway, copy paste here we go.

"Loli vampire fans and TV station executives alike are exasperated to learn that Dance in the Vampire Bund has been Shafted in much the same way as Bakemonogatari, with the 8th episode being postponed one week, along with all subsequent broadcasts, due to production issues.
Speculation as to the immediate reason (the long-term reason appears to be producing 3 series with enough staff for 1) centres on the likely prioritisation of the Bakemonogatari episode 14 special over lesser anime such as Hidamari Sketch or Dance in the Loli Bund.
Considering the sales of a single Bakemonogatari disc (60,000+) could possibly exceed those of an entire second-tier series (5-10,000 per disc), the decision to shaft the lesser anime may be commercially wise, but with the resounding success of Bakemonogatari, just what excuse Shaft has for failing to actually hire more production staff in advance this time is quite the mystery.
Opinions seem divided between those who praise Shaft for not merely broadcasting an incomplete episode (though in fact Shaft did this quite brazenly all the time during the broadcast of Bakemonogatari), and those who roundly condemn them as a bunch of tight-fisted jokers whose refusal to hire enough animators to fulfill their obligations to stations or fans is a shameful embarrassment."

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

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



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/16/2010 11:27PM by Vincent Z..
bring back toy sponsorship

bring back suncoast

grrr
>bring back toy sponsorship

They are still making shows for the purpose of selling toys, it's just the toys are for grown men otaku instead of kids.

I know that casual people are what drive anime sales in the U.S. but I think it's up to fans here to take action and support the damn shows they enjoy instead of being all like "pay for anime?"
Back when the delays and unfinished episodes of Bakemonogatari first started, the fanboys were all upset because they didn't get to see the fight against the invisible serpent.
Is that ironic? ... or, like so many things which seem ironic at first blush, is it just stupid?

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
>Beside, I think you guys should know what to expect from Sankaku Complex by now.

We do, hence the hesitance to click the link.

---------------------------------
[pgaijin.blogspot.com]
Oh, and before you go into your "Prudes of TBDX" diatribe, bear in mind that some of us aren't always checking this from a home computer.

---------------------------------
[pgaijin.blogspot.com]
hillsy Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Oh, and before you go into your "Prudes of TBDX"
> diatribe, bear in mind that some of us aren't
> always checking this from a home computer.


I know that now, which is why I'll just quote from sites I post for now on.
Even without clicking the link, I stopped reading after "Loli vampire fans..".

"There's no Bigfoot in The Awakening." -James Bickert
Sanjeev (Admin)
I'm...honestly impressed you even attempted reading it. Or...ashamed? Not sure yet. I'll sleep on it.
machinesoldier Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> SteveH Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
>
> > Of course the American market is even more f'ed
> up
> > as NOBODY (from Warner Bros to Dark Sky Films)
> > seems able to understand that one of the main
> > reasons DVD sales are dropping across the board
> is
> > the LACK OF STORES TO SELL THEM.
> >
> > rarg.
>
> I do not understand this comment. Target, Best
> Buy, hell, NETFLIX are all substantial
> distribution sources of all types of movies. Not
> to mention all the online retailers. I don't buy
> as many dvd's as I used to, but I never have a
> problem finding the one I want.
>
> Are you talking about suncoast video and
> blockbuster going out of business?


I'll try to keep it short, if anything seems confusing just say so and I'll clarify.

First up, contrary to whatever your experience may be, the vast majority of people who buy DVDs still buy them in stores. The proof of this should be obvious simply from the fact that all the complains within the home video industry about declining sales started around 2005, when Musicland Group (parent of Suncoast) started shutting down stores, until the complete liquidation in 2006. Online shopping (Amazon et al) clearly hasn't picked up the slack.

The exception is FYE, which bought up the remains of Suncoast and, sadly, has been emulating most of the bad decisions the company made in its last year. Still, if you want 'deep catalog' FYE is a useful option.

(they recently gutted their anime section and reduced it by about 25%. the bloom is really off that rose.)

The main B&M stores for buying DVDs now are Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Kmart. Best Buy has reduced the floor space for DVD by 60% since 2004 and 'word on the street' is they plan to discontinue physical media by 2012. The remaining stores I listed all follow Watmart's patter: New Blockbuster releases, key evergreen catalog, a rotating section of catalog dependent on what the studios wish to promote, and seasonal promotions such as Father's Day, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, etc.

doesn't give much room for 'The War in Space' or 'Atragon' or 'Calamari Wrestler', does it?

Yes, you can find things online, but that depends on several conditions: 1. You know the title exists. 2. The site has competent people who can correctly spell a title, and give it the proper search terms flagging. 3. the studio bothers to give the seller's site the needed material to do that. 4. you, as the customer, are knowledgeable enough to know the difference between a licensed studio release and the constant flood of bootlegs that sneak into searches. I know (4) doesn't matter to some people because they want it so they deserve to have it no matter what the license holder says, but I throw that in the mix for those who DO care.

The internet is perfect for finding exactly what you want. It's really pretty sucky when it comes to stumbling across something you had forgotten you had an interest in. You just can't duplicate 'flipping through the stacks' online, not if the site codes movies by unintuitive categories. If you want a Godzilla movie you would generally think 'sci-fi', but I've been in stores that tag them as Action, and in some cases as Childrens films.

Back in 1999, before Suncoast switched to in-house intranet for catalog searches, we used to have titles listed on Microfiche. It would take searching in at least 6 different places if one was looking for Star Trek videos, as there was some amazing stupid crap in terms of shortening the tape titles. Star Trek, ST, STTNG, ST:TNG, Star Trek The Nex, oy, I am not sorry that system went away! :)

Of course, Hollywood has a bi-polar love/hate relationship with home video, and they still think that any day now you're going to give up on owning stuff and become totally happy downloading movies on your cell phone.

Does that help?
You forgot Barnes and Noble and Boarders. Not sure about Boarders but B&N has a pretty robust order online and pickup service that hits all the points you mentioned above. Same goes for Best Buy*. Never had issues with bad info, bootlegs or uniformed staff.

But that's because of my next point.

Most people that order online are not browsers or casual shoppers. Especially for niche products like anime dvd's. It's fairly easy to keep track of releases though news sites that routinely post release information along with whole forums that are dedicated to keeping track of specific titles/genres and raise the red flag when a desired title is about to hit retailers.

Or even retailers who routinely emailing release info like Right Stuff, Amazon and others, that are geared towards customers buying habits.

*Check that, I have heard stories where things were kinda screwed up by uniformed staff at Best Buy specifically.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2010 11:37AM by Kwesi K..
The Comic crash in the 90's was attributed not just to Image the other big name companies as well.
The death of Superman brought many buyers who were also buying many other titles inflating the overall market at the time. A lot of these people weren't comic readers but investors who thought they can make quick money by buying 100 copies of 1 title and then flipping them over for double the price the next week. Companies like Image were cranking out as many copies as people wanted to buy creating much more supply than demand. I remember on Comics Wednesday there being a line of people at the cash registers for a few months after Superman's death. When those people realized they could not make money on their investment, they left.

Also, companies like Marvel had a strategy of trying to sell a ton of different titles by forcing you to buy everything by running a story arc through 10 titles. Anyone remember those foil covers? The stories were overall awful. I can't remember one truly memorable story in the 90's as I could from the 80's like Watchmen, the Dark Knight Returns, etc. Comic companies were creating style more than substance. Art was becoming more important than stories. Loyal readers were turned off by that and eventually also left.

These two factors killed the comics industry in the 90's. Nowadays, comic companies are creating franchises for the purpose of trying to make films and turning those movies into huge cash cows. Don't think this strategy will work but only time will tell.
Of course, Hollywood has a bi-polar love/hate relationship with home video, and they still think that any day now you're going to give up on owning stuff and become totally happy downloading movies on your cell phone. >>>>


This may or may not have anything to do with the Anime market but what do you all think about the Hollywood Studios making deals with Netflix and Red Box, those places not renting out DVDs to customers until after they have been for sale for 1 month forcing people who want to see a new release to buy rather than just rent.
I actually listened to a story on NPR about how Hollywood is banking on agreements like that and HD3D home systems to get them in the money again. Currently between streaming media online, Netflix and Red Box, major studios are hating it.
To what Steve said. The thing about anime in brick & mortar stores vs. online is some people are too embarrassed to buy anime in public (unless it's Glibli movie or a super mainstream title). I'm just saying.

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

I asked if I have "Time For L-Gaim" but I got "No Reply From The Wind".
Sanjeev (Admin)
Wow.

All time low.
What. It's true. I hear various comments about how they're afraid of what their parents or family will think about their anime hobby so they keep it a secret.

But then I have to remember that you like keep your head buried in the sand regarding what's going on with anime today.

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

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



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2010 12:33PM by Vincent Z..
Gaiking and Kwesi have the nub of it, and pardon me for lecturing. I've had any number of people tell me I should be a teacher. :)

It's interesting how Hollywood has flip-flopped on release windows and the rental market. Back in the days of VHS promotion was mainly TO the rental market, with major releases coming to Blockbuster et al months, sometimes a YEAR before it was priced down for sell-thru.

This is what ultimately has killed Blockbuster, BTW. They became so laser-focused on having hundreds of copies of the NEW BIG MOVIE that they totally and utterly ignored deep catalog. But people like to watch movies more often than when the MUST SEE BIG MOVIE hits home video, and that's where Netflix zoomed in to capture the rental market.

Redbox is a flawed concept, they want to pretend to be Netflix (the entire packaging from the color of the machine to the shape of the disc envelope was intentionally meant to make a person think Redbox is connected to Netflix) with the convenience of a B&M location, but unlike Netflix the selection is painfully limited and there's that pesky rental fee that keeps ticking along each day you have the disc. Plus, it's credit card only, and that's a huge issue,it really is. contrary to popular image, not everyone HAS a credit card, or if they do they don't WANT to use it in such a casual manner. Some might be uncomfortable over the idea that what they buy (rent) might be tagged to their card-not that Redbox rents out porn (yet) but, you know, some folk are just worried about such things.

So these new 'rental ban' windows are meaningless, as Redbox has their people go to Walmart, buy DVDs and put them in the machines.

Hollywood has discovered an uncomfortable truth, something that I caught on to 8 years ago watching how sales trends go. The functional lifespan of a new release is generally 2 weeks. That goes for theater release as well as home video. Two weeks and that's the majority of your sales. (Yes, Avatar is an amazing exception to this, I really wonder how it'll do on home video).

But here's the reality. One of the reasons why VHS and DVD had such huge sales was BECAUSE of Blockbuster, who was ordering hundreds of thousands of copies of the BIG NEW (and those counted to the millions sold announcements, regardless of the back end deal where 90% of them were returned and destroyed after 6 months), but again, the snake eats its own tail. Blockbuster forces out 'mom and pop' stores, that reduces sales. then Blockbuster cuts their orders and that reduces sales, then Blockbuster closes stores and THAT cuts sales...then there's nobody renting local at all.

And the death of local rental (be it Blockbuster, Hollywood Video or anyone) will have just as huge an impact as the closing of the 2500 stores of Suncoast.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Vincent Z. Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What. It's true. I hear various comments about how
> they're afraid of what their parents or family
> will think about their anime hobby so they keep it
> a secret.
>
> But then I have to remember that you like keep
> your head buried in the sand regarding what's
> going on with anime today.


I don't watch anime. Thus, I have no reason to bury my head in any sand.

I think YOU have to remember that it's more likely than you probably want to admit that loli and moe under-aged skit-chasers are the reason anime fans are afraid to expose their hobby.
I noticed a couple of FYEs closing here in Seattle. Actually, I did pick up quite a bit from the deeply discounted anime section...Dunbine, Kikaida, Astro Boy, Gigantor, etc. Unfortunately, the only reason I'd noticed the store was BECAUSE it was closing up and discounted everything.

---------------------------------
[pgaijin.blogspot.com]
Stop paying attention to what Vincent says.

He's an idiot.

Anyways, even with mounds of shelf space dedicated to anime you still have the problem of too much variety and not enough strong titles. When you're taking dozens of series that were meant for TV broadcast and making people buy them, you're not guaranteed any success. It's like as if Friends never aired on TV, would anyone really want to buy it?

There's very little anime that is actually exceptional, personal tastes not withstanding. The only really popular stuff that made it mainstream are a few legacy titles, Shonen Jump series that get on Cartoon Network, and stuff made specially for the US market like Halo Legends.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2010 04:17PM by VF5SS.
"I think YOU have to remember that it's more likely than you probably want to admit that loli and moe under-aged skit-chasers are the reason anime fans are afraid to expose their hobby."

I know that, I'm just saying they shouldn't be afraid to admit liking loli and moe.

"personal tastes not withstanding."

Which for people like me it's quite specific. I don't even watch regular LA drama shows or most movies.

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

I asked if I have "Time For L-Gaim" but I got "No Reply From The Wind".
Jesus fuck christ shit vincent

I know I just told people to ignore you but fucking hell. I made a shitty type what I said and what you should be capable of reading is "There's very little anime that is actually exceptional, personal tastes not withstanding."As in there are few very shows that are actually worth pursuing and buying. I know you don't like Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bebop, or all that stuff you label as "cerebral crap" and that you also don't know what the term "cerebral" even means. However, you should be able to recognize that those are the kinds of shows Americans will watch be they anime fans or not. People wanted to buy them, they were better than average. They could all survive without a franchise or other tie in. Now I may like shows about teenagers in giant robots all speaking in blunt, expository dialog but I realize that doesn't have much appeal in America. Neither does dating sim harem anime or related shit.

And that's what the Japanese companies didn't catch. We liked all the shit they didn't care about. Like Big O or Black Lagoon.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

footer