Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Anime Awareness

In reply to this article http://news.com.com/Anxious+times+in+the+cartoon+underground/2100-1026_3-5557177.html?tag=st.num on the pirating of Anime, and the slew of fansubs, I brought some of my own insite into the foray. As well versed in Japanese culture, I thought I would share my own view-point on this debate.


From Article Above: But even with this new interest, sales of DVDs--which amount to about 5.7 million copies a year, according to internal industry estimates--are holding steady or dropping. Companies worry that the easy prerelease availability of fansub versions means that the otaku class has already seen their products, and no longer need to buy anything but the must-haves.

This quote made me laugh. For several reasons; One, DVD sales wouldn't increase because not every store distributes an even number of Anime titles as such other films.

Also, the companies wouldn't worry so much if they new there product would sell. Look at any title that has sold well recently, and it probably was pre-released as a fan-sub. They sell now because they are of good quality. The lesser known titles may never sell well, and there's not enough advertising to sponsor Anime titles which hardly anybody has heard of.

As far as I'm concerned, until every magazine, news paper, and loose paper add has such mundane and lesser known titles plastered alongside a slew of other titles which may or may not be popular, the American distribution companies like ADV studios will continuously worry.

Other companies like MANGA Entertainment only pick a handful of titles which they know will make a return, and so far I don't think the slew of fan-subs of any of those series has hurt the American sales. Which isn't to say that the folks in New Zealand aren't enjoying the fan subs either.

I too know that most Japanese studios are lenient on the fansubs issue, because how else can people in Russia, Bangkok, Australia, Canada, Germany, Poland, etc. view the same Anime? Anime which is so interlocked with Japan's own popular culture that fan subs are the only way to export that portion of Japanese culture to other places. Because an American studio picks up the license and shuts down fan-subbers only leads to less world-wide promotion. It's this capitalistic greed for money and power that limits the companies. If they would use intuition, a bit of ingenuity, and think of a new way to incorporate the business strategy on a global scale, they may have greater success. But like I said, they can barely push there product as is, and no offense, but that's not breaking any records. Figure out how to advertise, even with (what may be the equivilant to Dojinshi in animated form) having to compete against your own property. By importing a Japanese artform/product, you're going to inadvertantly import the problems that inherently come along with it. For the Anime studios in America, researching how Japan approaches Dojinshi may lend insite on how they can continue to sell their properties. Start thinking outside of the "limited" cultural box a little; after all, you're dealing with an alien culture and the ideologies that come packaged with it, and those who absorb it. Much like the fans that watch it. If you alienate the fan base, nobody will continue to buy the product.

Legality will ensure that they make the desired return, but perhaps at a cost which hinders the promotion of a product they themselves are trying to promote. Conundrum I say.

In other news, there is no slowing down in the MANGA craze. Which oddly enough is the direct counterpart to ANIME. Without Manga there would be no Anime, and nowadays a lot of Anime spawns new Manga titles. So as interelated as these texts are, I think I doubly prove my point that American Anime distributors don't get the picture. If you know what I mean.

Find out what I mean here: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20050131/lf_afp/afplifestyleusjapan_050131160526

And now you know, the rest of the story.

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