Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Anime Restructuring, Schmanime Schmestructuring: The Problem

Nearly every anime blog or news source I go to nowadays I seem to find that the anime industry is "restructuring" that it has faced some kind of slowdown that it hasn't seen yet since the "genre" took off after the millennium. This blog from RIUVA is what pushed me to finally do this little soapbox.
I call BS!

After an initial swarm of folks looking to begin collections to impress friends in the West in the start of the anime boom (and by the way, it's not like the boom has ended the following is still exceptional, just not bonkers exceptional like the media producers want), I know that there will need to be a balance in these upcoming years, but I blame the source for fueling the fire.
More series began to be turned out at that point to a growing popularity of anime, well before the torrents, YouTubes, and Ani-Pocks of the world began uploading this stuff to their websites. If I could point to a specific place in time where the anime industry initiated this downward spiral, I would say its Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou, AKA: His and Her Circumstances. That was the last sincere anime to be produced before both East and West got barraged by vampires, ninjas, and moe, themes that would translate no matter what across borders.

Probably surprised by the fact that collecting and fighting with imaginary animals would be so popular with foreign audiences (Pokemon of course) the industry took a gamble and began exporting like crazy.
Since then I can think of only a few really smart and well done anime that have been produced and shipped with the intention not of becoming the next big craze and merchandising to the extreme. Death Note is one such series, and, unfortunately, it fell victim to overmarketing and productization, and, for now at least, it is still riding that bubble in both markets. I continually praise Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, because it took a boring genre and completely turned it on its head. Though I've never cared to watch Azumanga Daioh, I could equate it to what that series has done to the high school comedy honorably, which, however, lead to more knockoffs and worse spoofs. Hopefully SZS will call in an era of smarter and less obviously funny comedies and the like, however much of a knockoff they are.

Getting back to my point, early on, these kinds of duplicate series flooded the market, most obviously what Digimon and Yugioh was to Pokemon, and were obviously intended to garner the interest of Westerners.
Here's where the restructuring will have to take place, if even, there is one necessary. While I'm fine with series like Gundam and Macross making spinoffs of their name, they managed to make "smart" new anime with unforgettable characters. Those names will be recognized outside of Japan, while new kids like Haruhi and Konata will stick up like fresh flowers in the grass, even if the grass is really nice and has an even cut. But fear series made to be like Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu and L*S. These will be the duplicates that will only find an interest in the diehards that liked these series so much they want to envelop themselves in these kinds of stories. Heck, I'm a SHnY fan and not a L*S (which is a duplicate series almost in it's own rite) fan even!

But that's not not say that there is no place for duplicates. Which leads to my next point... the solution.

Watch for part two of my editorial on the analysis of the imminent "Anime Restructuring" for my solution to this problem in the industry. While people point to beloved institutions like Geneon and NEWTYPE disappearing, find out why, once again, I say BS!.

Update: That top picture is supposed to be representative of fansubs, but I suppose I haven't mentioned them yet since I decided to make this a two-part post... XD

In the meantime, we have big news in the next post! Stay tuned to the J-Blog for a big Ani-Pock milestone!

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At May 6, 2008, 12:41:00 PM, Blogger Kami... said...

Sorry... I hope my last comment didn't lead to this post here...

At May 6, 2008, 1:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha, I had wanted to write this, but no, it was a blog post (or rather several) from another site.

I did want to say, per the last post, I could understand why the manga read so stereotypical, because the potential audience probably isn't keen to Japanese culture, let alone anime, aside from what they see in ninja flicks.

Or that's just plainly the kind of action they expect from such a source as Japan, something not quite Speed Racer and a not quite Heart of Dragon or Master With Cracked Fingers...

At May 6, 2008, 3:26:00 PM, Blogger Kami... said...

I quite agree about "カレカノ" being one of the last anime produced that holds the old highschool sentiment.

Pokemon started out as a video game and from the popularity was turned into an anime... Since the game was on the Global Market... the Anime was made with a Global Audience in mind... If an anime is made with none of the traditional characteristics of anime, save the appearance... is it really... Anime?

I'm reminded of a discussion I had with a friend after seeing "Kill Bill "... I don't know how many people have seen it... but even though it was quite impactful with it's action sequences... I personally felt it would've made MORE of an IMPACT if it was made before... well... The "Japanese Boom"...

I felt a growing trend was seen and capatizled on... I'm not saying it was wrong... I'm just saying it would've meant... MORE.

My friend disagreed and said there was no "Japanese" or "Anime Boom"... Seeing how I used to make a nice amount of spare change drawing Manga Characters of people and the fact you could go to the gas station, fill up your car, buy a pack of smokes and buy a pack of Pokemon Cards... The trend wasn't hard to see.

Not long ago even a Japanese Toy Maufacturer that produced Toys from many of the "Miyazki" films was charged for Tax Evasion on their rush to what the judge says was to capatalize on the "Japanese Boom".

I understand some audiences may not be interested in Japanese culture and just want to see "Ninjas"... I'm just not a fan when people confuse Japanese Culture with things that are shown on "Ninja Flicks" and "Made for Export" Anime.

At May 6, 2008, 3:28:00 PM, Blogger Kami... said...

Excuse the structure order of my above comment... Faulty internet caused me to re-write this several times from what I was able to salvage from the previous failed attempts.

At May 6, 2008, 4:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh no! Faulty internets strike again.
Another fine argument, Kami.

I don't suppose you are following the anime "bust" then, but you can let me know what you think about the "solution". My plan will transcend simply anime to all media formats too, which is nice.

At May 6, 2008, 4:52:00 PM, Blogger Kami... said...

I look forward to your "solution"... I STILL want to know why even though Anime has flurished in North America... Music... has not.

AS I mentioned several times before... There hasn't been a #1 Japanese Artist on the American charts since 1963 and there hasn't been an artist on the American charts since 1979...

Hopefully your "solution" could remedy this as well :)


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