July 05, 2020, 06:26:51 am

Anime dead in U.S.?

Started by MisterCat, January 09, 2008, 11:48:10 pm

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MisterCat

Big in 2008: Gothic Lolitas and Godzilla | The Japan Times Online
The Japan Times Online provides daily English-language news reports and features on Japan, covering national news, business news, sports news, plus analysis and information on entertainment, art, leisure and communities in Tokyo and other major cities.

:smoke:

=^..^=

SleepyD

QuoteU.S. anime pronounced dead

U.S. pop culture industry magazine ICv2 Guide to Anime noted last year that U.S. sales of anime DVDs declined by 20 percent in 2007, while some sources inside the home-video market place the real figure closer to a whopping 50 percent.

That's scary news for anime companies on both sides of the Pacific who are either: scrambling to adapt to a changing market; hiking up retail prices; or simply shutting up shop altogether.

You don't need a crystal ball to figure out that 2008 is likely to see this unsettling roller-coaster ride continue and the only way off it is to solve the digital-age equivalent of the riddle of the Sphinx: How to make people pay for all that content they download off the Internet for free?

it is unsettling news.

Geneon already has said they will stop distributing anime.  A few months ago, that news sparked lots of debate regarding fansubs and discussions on sub/dub.  
Seriously, people, if you don't like the dub, watch it subbed.  You can do it, you know. The DVD allows for sub and dub!!

Argh, just thinking about the people that download gigs and gigs of stuff without buying the DVDs makes me angry.  I can't even think up a good argument right now. >_<  Look, I don't even have a job/steady income and I buy DVDs! Admittedly not very many, but I buy freakin boxsets/thinpaks when I can!

rawr, discuss, discuss plz. maybe that'll get the brain juices going.

Myrdin

I buy animes when I really like them. The problem is that there aren't much that I really like. The market is totally flooded with the same generic shit. People need to stop viewing anime as an entirely isolated category of entertainment. If there were six slightly different transformers movies made simultaneously do you think they would all sell well? No! They would all do terribly. So why should the hundreds of slightly different mecha animes be any different? Or magic girl animes. Or other generic animes. It pisses me off. I want to see more originality.

SleepyD

I watch my fair share of "generic" anime, but there are still little gems of originality that I believe don't get the attention they deserve.  But that's another topic.

Well, in any case, I don't expect people to buy DVDs of series they don't like.  My words are directed at people who seem to believe that they shouldn't pay for anime.  Ever since Sam Goody, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 merely 2 years ago, the domestic anime industry has been in deep financial trouble.

Those complaining that DVDs are too expensive (and therefore rationalize their downloading) don't understand the state the industry in, nor do they understand the exorbitant costs of licensing anime for US distribution.  
QuoteAccording to unconfirmed report, average contemporary anime licensing starts at around $20,000 per episode and can go as high as $80,000 per episode! And adding an English dub can easily double the cost of releasing an anime series in America. ...Just getting an anime series onto American DVD may cost hundreds of thousands, or even millions, yet the series may sell only a few thousand copies...

taken from: http://www.animenation.net/news/askjohn.php?id=1499


Maybe some of you have read this before: ANN: Editorial: An Open Letter to the Industry
but I know this article had sparked quite a bit of discussion in the AX forums and other places.

CaptBrenden

Humm, Im too vexed to discuss this too much,  but everyone knows my views on priracy.  Id rather not have been right this time, but to all those people that said that their downloading anime and such doesnt hurt the industry that much... well you were wroung. thanks for ruining it for everyone else.

I personaly have 2 300 disc CD cased FILLED with anime, as well as a tone thats not been taken out of the dvd cases yet.  Ive been needing to buy a new case for that...  I support the industry.  Being someone who wants to become an animator some day, I understand if no one buys, no one gets paid.  No one gets paid, people go to a differnt buisness and line of work.  Its simple cause and effect.

However, the cost of licencing for dubbing does seem rather steep.  Maybe when the demand for licencing drops due to the lack of profit, japan animation companies will drop their costs as well.  That would revitalize the industry for a short while.. as long as people start buying DVDs again.  

On that note, since you must cease distro on licenced subs, wouldnt putting those subs on youtube be against those laws? I know alot of people still watching subbed anime on youtube that has been released in the US.  That seems enough like distrobution to warrent Youtube to take it down just like they do to episodes of Cops or South Park.

Another factor to concider, it the quality of the product released in the US.  I personaly think there are some worthwhile dubs out there, but the quality of alot of them is rather low.   Seriosly,  it seems the same bad voice actors get hired time and again and dont know they suck.  You can watch the commentary and their like "oh i love what he did with his voice for this character.."  what are you on?  My ears are bleeding due to what he did with his voice for that character!   The industry needs new talent on the voice acting front.

Another possible idea is to improve the SUBS on the DVDs. The sub quality is rather poor compiared to the effort, attention to detail, and such of the fansubs (at least the ones NOT done by speed subbers)  so I can see why someone would rather keep their fansubs instead of buy a DVD and watch the subs on it (if your the wapanese type that cant stand to watch a show in your native lanquage)

anyhow, im in a piss poor mood thanks to this.

I fucking hate pirates.
"YOU IDIOT!!" -Kasen Ibara

Commisions Available - Send PM for details.

Myrdin

I can understand why you might be frustrated but I honestly do not think it's the pirates fault. It's just a convenient excuse. The vast majority of anime being imported is total crap by any standards but the anime communities. The stuff that isn't is being poorly marketed (if at all). That's why it doesn't sell in the US.

A very similar problem is being faced by the recording industry. They blamed it on downloading, launched a huge campaign to stop it, met with moderate success, and didn't see the tiniest increase in sales. Why? Because downloading is not the problem. Musicians (and Engineers) are making crappy recordings of crappy songs by crappy bands.
Nine Inch Nails' new album sold incredibly well and they released half the album for free months beforehand. If downloading was really the problem here then that should have cut their sales, not increased them. There are many more cases of recordings selling much better after being released for free.
The legendary sounds of the "vintage" preamps is mostly myth. Modern recordings are simply over compressed, over edited crap. I am trained as a sound engineer so these matters interest me even more than anime. The parallels are obvious.

From a personal perspective, I will ONLY buy music, movies, etc. I have previewed beforehand. Fansubs provide that preview. Most of my animation collection was purchased after downloading the content for free (aka, piracy).

CaptBrenden

Well yeah, Ive never bought anything Ive never seen before. Well maybe something ive read as a manga prior but I belive in viewing it first.  BUT, i find that for the most part, thats rare.  You and I are people with interests in the industrys we speak of. As a result we seem to support the industries by purchasing the material that we like...

However anime is a little less like music.  I know many people who would only watch ANYTHING once.  Let alone watch it and then buy if for sake of supporting that which they like.   I shall perform a quick test.. I m going to message a buddy of mine and just ask him if he would buy a show he liked after having seen it free, or downloaded if for free online and see what he says.

Quote
Saber says:
question:  If you could watch shows, or download shows for free online, would you after watching said show, go out and buy the DVD?
Mr. B says:
depends on the show
Mr. B says:
if it's a show I can watch over and over again (simpson, futurama,) then yeah, if it's an epic show, like Lost or Sopranos, probably not
Mr. B says:
a season easily costs $75
Mr. B says:
if I've already seen it, I'd be hard justified to pay that price to see it aian
Mr. B says:
again


I think that pretty much supports my statement.  The epic, high quality shows like Gunslinger Girl or Black Lagoon, or Fate Stay Night for example, likely wouldnt be purchased.  I hear it all the time from people. Why buy when I can get it for free?  I belive sampling is good, but being able to watch the entire series... that drasticly reduces the sellability to the average consumer.  

But personaly, I think your view is rather pessimistic.  Not everything come out of japan is crap.  Hell I wouldnt even say the vast majority as you state.  But Ill bet you that if you were to look at the sales of the quote unquote "good shows" they are probobly just as effected by this latest trend.  For example: other then myself and a few odd people I asked, most everyone Ive asked about it said they wont buy the DVDs to Haruhi.  Why?  Cus they have seen it already, got the subs, and dispite not even ever seeing it in english, have already pronounced the english dubs crap simply because they're english. The only way I was able to make Nejin concider getting it was to parade the piles of swag that came with the DVDs infront of him first.  Because swag cant be pirated.  If your pirating swag, your actually boarding the import ships with a saber and blunderbus and yelling AVAST!

To be honest, its a probobly somewhere in the middle ground of the two arguments.  Piracy is partialy to blame, quality and other factors the rest of it.  You cant say its all because its crap, but you cant say its compleatly because of pirating.
"YOU IDIOT!!" -Kasen Ibara

Commisions Available - Send PM for details.

NejinOniwa

Well, other side of the hallway, coming through.

I understand the frustration, as well - but with the exception of DVD-rip groups (which I personally have very little respect for and almost never watch anyway), ALL (that i've seen to this date) fansubbing groups follow the unwritten law of stopping distribution after licensing. There are different levels, but one example would be a.f.k. (Always Fansubs KyoAni) - the licensed files on their tracker, ie Haruhi, Lucky Star etc, are present only with text, and the torrents removed. (Licensed by X, torrent removed) Recent trouble of this kind can also be seen in Dattebayo, which is probably THE largest and most-watched fansub group out there, where they for years have appealed to the fans to stop distributing their videos on streaming sites (youtube), and constantly been ignored - whereas they now have gone into strike and halted all productions. Having looked into this matter a bit there are striking amounts of people who ignore their request and/or taking it for another of their YHBT's (you have been trolled); and all efforts they make seem to be futile to an extent.

As such, it's apparent that it's mainly, as said before, the fault of parts of the community, and not much blame on the fansubbers.

I've never bought a single anime DVD ever in my life though, (due to this option simply not being available to me without going outside the country, since almost NOTHING gets imported), and I can imagine, with the amount of people everywhere in the world, that this is a problem for everyone living outside the major countries like US, France, Germany, Britain or whatever else country they might sell anime in (I have no idea), since they CAN'T buy anime unless they order it online - which is a hassle and includes extra shipping costs - or importing it themselves - even more hassle and more money spent/wasted.

It's a valuable view, but it's little I can do about it. But as I see it, a change is the only option for the world as a whole right now, in almost all departments. I shall wait and see what will be brought to the anime industry of this - which i HOPE will happen with all my heart.

It's not going to change my views on other aspects, though - Hollywood fatasses and the like are still worth very, very little in my eyes, and they deserve the oppression simply for not learning and still being successful while making trouble for the customers.

Oh and Cappy, my mind and my money are different things. Consideration is one thing, but I don't buy videos for "swag". And to quote,
QuoteThere is nothing like black and white in this world. Just gray.
YOU COULD HAVE PREVENTED THIS

SleepyD

Quote from: "NejinOniwa"
I've never bought a single anime DVD ever in my life though, (due to this option simply not being available to me without going outside the country, since almost NOTHING gets imported), and I can imagine, with the amount of people everywhere in the world, that this is a problem for everyone living outside the major countries like US, France, Germany, Britain or whatever else country they might sell anime in (I have no idea), since they CAN'T buy anime unless they order it online - which is a hassle and includes extra shipping costs - or importing it themselves - even more hassle and more money spent/wasted.

Ok, I understand your situation. I don't exactly support it, but I do understand.  And I'm sure the anime licensors/distributors don't see much of a market in your area, anyway.
....by the way, that's a really long sentence. XD; but I digress.

Whatever your views on the current quality of anime today, people are watching them, and people are enjoying them.  
I see a problem in that the majority of people who love anime here in the US are young teenagers (I'm 19 myself).  Go to a large convention and you can confirm that by just one look at the con-goers.  
The majority of these fans have grown up with the internet (and everything being free), and the majority lack a steady income.  On the other side of things, most Japanese anime fans tend to be on the older side, and hence, the companies can get them spending without the above difficulties.

Another problem that seems to always crop up in discussions such as this are the quality of dubs.  Honestly, I think they're getting much better, despite the financial troubles that are haunting the anime industry today.  With voice actors, I heard from voice actors in Anime Los Angeles that ADV and Funimation are willing to let their voice actors to get work with the other company.  So, while the pool of voice actors available is small, it is increasing, which is a good thing.  

And if I may add something about voice actors (I learned a lot about them in Anime Los Angeles)... they have a very difficult job, having to ACT (act being the key word here) purely on their voice alone.  They lack the other tools available to any other actor, in bodily gestures and facial expressions.  That said, since they are DUBBING, they have the added difficulty of matching the lip flaps.  It can be argued that this is one of the toughest things for any actor here to do well.  Add on to that a meager salary, and this job isn't all that attractive.  Again, random, passionate anime otaku can't cut it here, they need ACTING experience.  And I don't think many actors here are looking at voice acting as a job.

As for the quality of subs, the companies have responded, and I don't think the overall quality of the translations I've seen are lacking.  Other complaints I've heard are over things that the companies can't possibly do (e.g. using different colored subtitles).  I heard that some companies are employing the "multiple angle" feature available in some HD/Digital sets.  I think it was Funi that used it, one "angle" keeping the visual Japanese intact, the other "angle" containing the images edited to show english words.  I can see this feature expanded to include translation notes that many fansubs have.  (So far, I've only seen translation notes in the FLCL DVDs... although those were written on paper)

seth

All I can say is I sure hope anime wont die in North America because although I do download anime, especially ones I can't find in stores. I would much rather just buy the dvd.

NekOSaka

Hurray for those who buy DVD's!

Kiso

You know, after reading all of this... I visualize DRM getting tougher... and eve more, taking it to everyone... and very very hard.

I am in the misfortune of not being able to attain anime DVD's by the conventional means (a.k.a. buy it from the store) because the local stores in my country, the ones that sell anime are closing... heck, even Sam Goody shut operations in my country, at least in malls I frequent. Then, there are the one or two small shops that are available with imported material... but often what I look for is not exactly available (usually sold out or reserved for other people). Then I have the ability to buy online, but my usually tight buged prevents me from supporting the industry I admire the most.

But this doesn't mean I go to Ytube to watch it there, or even try to go for torrent downloading... I'd rather watch anime that's "crappily" translated/subbed on TV than download take another dollar/yen/whatev from the people that work to give us something to entertain ourselves with. I will admit though, i have myself have come to have a fair share of pirated stuff... but nothing usually last long in my computer or even makes its way out of it... I delete it within a month of possession.

Heck... I rarely even watch/hear pirated material, while I watched my bought DVD of Final Fantasy Advent Children more than once every day for months. And when I felt like watching it again afterwards... I just watched it again and played with it for "instant replay" action.

If this goes on, not even the U.S. animation industry will exist... heck... nothing entertainment will exist if we (the consumers) don't shape-up. It's just a matter of time before both the legal and illegal markets break appart and everyone falls into massive boredom.

If there is a need to watch previews of stuff... they should implement sampling devices in the store, like Borders does.

Another thing that must be done is that of people appealing to their sense of moral behavior... because people like the free stuff, but would hate their stuff to be pirated or loose their jobs simply because money is not something that is returning to the company they work for. we all should learn to do the morally right thing of putting a complete stop to illegal reproduction and redistribution of material.
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SleepyD

Quote from: "Kiso"You know, after reading all of this... I visualize DRM getting tougher... and eve more, taking it to everyone... and very very hard.

I am in the misfortune of not being able to attain anime DVD's by the conventional means (a.k.a. buy it from the store) because the local stores in my country, the ones that sell anime are closing... heck, even Sam Goody shut operations in my country, at least in malls I frequent. Then, there are the one or two small shops that are available with imported material... but often what I look for is not exactly available (usually sold out or reserved for other people). Then I have the ability to buy online, but my usually tight buged prevents me from supporting the industry I admire the most.

I can explain that.
In January 2006, Sam Goody filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  Sam goody also owned Musicland and Suncoast.  After that, they closed a lot of stores.

What some people don't recognize is how much money US anime companies had with Sam Goody.  
If you don't mind a little reading, here are fruits of my research in similar posts on other forums:


[ANN] 12 January 2006: Sam Goody, (Musicland and Suncoast) files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

[ANN] 23 January 2006: Musicland Owes Anime Companies $8.7 million

Quote"[When Musicland closed stores,] we saw our gross shipments go down by 35%. We didn't want to put as much product in that channel with the risk they'd file for bankruptcy."
--Ward Thomas, Funimation
Source 18 May 2006


Quote(Regarding massive layoffs)
"As our business has been significantly impacted by Musicland's bankruptcy filing, we are facing tightening sales conditions and are currently focusing on a cost cutting program which will structure the company for future growth without our largest customer. A number of very talented and dedicated employees have unfortunately lost their jobs through no fault of their own. CPM will be happy to assist these fine staff members find employment opportunities, so any company seeking experienced and professional employees are requested to email CPM at HR519@teamcpm.com for further details."
--John O'Donnell, Central Park Media
Source 05 June 2006


Quote from: "Kiso"
But this doesn't mean I go to Ytube to watch it there, or even try to go for torrent downloading... I'd rather watch anime that's "crappily" translated/subbed on TV than download take another dollar/yen/whatev from the people that work to give us something to entertain ourselves with. I will admit though, i have myself have come to have a fair share of pirated stuff... but nothing usually last long in my computer or even makes its way out of it... I delete it within a month of possession.

Heck... I rarely even watch/hear pirated material, while I watched my bought DVD of Final Fantasy Advent Children more than once every day for months. And when I felt like watching it again afterwards... I just watched it again and played with it for "instant replay" action.

I don't really have anything against you; more the people who have a choice in the matter and choose piracy without supporting the US anime industry.

I would hate to watch something crappily subbed.  Think about it this way, if people watch crappy subs, and get the wrong idea about the anime, would there be any incentive at all to buy the DVDs? Even though fansubs get the anime out there, those fansubs that do poor jobs are doing us all a disservice.

Quote from: "Kiso"
If this goes on, not even the U.S. animation industry will exist... heck... nothing entertainment will exist if we (the consumers) don't shape-up. It's just a matter of time before both the legal and illegal markets break appart and everyone falls into massive boredom.

If there is a need to watch previews of stuff... they should implement sampling devices in the store, like Borders does.

Hm... don't think "sampling" anime really works.... I think you'd have to watch one episode at a minimum to properly "sample" an anime.  My opinion, though, based on most of the anime I really enjoy.

The US anime industry was really hurt by the Sam Goody bankruptcy, through no fault of their own.  They're still in trouble; just look at Geneon--they stopped distribution. People don't realize that piracy hurts them more than any major hollywood company with all their finances.  
If more people buy DVDs, they may be able to just scrape by these next few years.  
Quote from: "Kiso"
Another thing that must be done is that of people appealing to their sense of moral behavior... because people like the free stuff, but would hate their stuff to be pirated or loose their jobs simply because money is not something that is returning to the company they work for. we all should learn to do the morally right thing of putting a complete stop to illegal reproduction and redistribution of material.

Good idea, but it's hard to do that when downloading stuff online is so impersonal.  Just a few clicks, a little time, and boom, it's there.  No real time to think about your actions.  
With anime, I still think fansubs have their place.  I wouldn't have ever heard of Gunslinger Girl and many other anime without them. The good fansubbers, at least, pull their stuff the instant a US license is announced.  The problem arises when some random person then puts the episodes they downloaded onto other torrent databases.

meiskool5

Sucks that Geneon stopped distributing anime and closed down. They did the best dubs in anime imo. I fully support the buying of DVDs over downloading them. I download anime only to preview it (and that's if I can't find a sufficent preview on a online video site) and then if I like it enough I will buy it. If not then I won't continue to download it.

Vash342

I'm into the free fansubs when they come out, then I stop distributing when they become licensed.  I follow the honest rules when it comes to downloading anime.  I got Fruits basket about 3-4 years before it came out over here in the US.  I do not support piracy, but rules here in the US have changed a lot in the past 4 years because of these discussions.

I remember Mystery Science Theatre 3000, a show that first started on Comedy central and ended on Sci-Fi.  Wonderful show but its torn over the fact that Hasbro Entertainment owns a few of the seasons, but on the later ones a little text displays at the end of the credits saying keep the tapes in circulation.  I feel this is backwards from what I do right now, but still helps serve my point.  I get it when someone distributes it for no profit, and when someone can make a profit I stop and let it sit in my drawer.  I own all of the hasbro seasons in box sets, and have VHS copies that I taped off of sci-fi at home for a close to complete collection.  Because of the license agreements they made, i'm allowed to have them.

I used to run an anime club, and I had this problem where people would buy my DVD's of free distribute fansub anime from me(just to cover costs of the DVD), and people after them would too, but I would not distribute anymore.  I don't see how people can't keep up either because of RSS feeds and other instant news or notifications.

I dont' agree with piracy,and because people don't know or want to follow the rules they get crunched.  I know too many people who get there hands on a bittorrent program and just go to town even after my warnings, and try to say I told them they could.  Kind of hard after I show them a written agreement, he he he.

Also though, a counterpoint, I can't afford a 30$ DVD of 3 episodes of anime from ADV, which also has terrible dubbing anyways.  I also find it hard to justify buying a box set for 120$ from anywhere.  To me it's ridiculous, but I also am a student, father, and husband trying to make his way in the world today.