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The Business of Anime 523

buckminster writes "Planet Tokyo's Talking Anime Business Blues is a great roundup and analysis of recent articles detailing the behind the scenes aspects of the anime business. By all accounts 99% of Japanese anime never makes it to America. Some of the arguments why might surprise you. There are still many in the industry who believe that fan subs are killing the anime market in the US."
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The Business of Anime

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Some of the arguments why might surprise you

    I always thought it was the soccer moms against 8 tentacles in a vagina...
  • by LoganAvatar ( 869001 ) <> on Thursday June 30, 2005 @04:06PM (#12953085) Homepage Journal
    ... but aren't the fansubs happening mostly because the anime isn't commercially available in the US? If so, then make it available, and the fansubs go away... Unless I am missing something?
    • The other side of the arguement is that anime distributors won't bother with the US because they have to compete with the fansubs.
      • by GryMor ( 88799 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @04:11PM (#12953138)
        And the edge of the coin is there wouldn't be any market to compete over without the fansubs.
        • 20 years ago that was true. 5 years ago that was arguably true. The reality now is that a hojillion kids are watching Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon on TV, their parents are buying up the toys and dvds like mad, and if all the fansubbers had a heart attack and died, there'd still be a hojillion kids watching anime on tv. At this point, the market generates itself. When Cartoon Network wanted to show its kids more Big O, what did it do? It paid to have Big O 2 made, since otherwise it would not have materialized.
      • Oh come on, that's completely bogus. Obviously there is as much piracy of anime in Japan as there is in the states, if not a lot more so, and that doesn't seem to stop anime companies from bringing out their products over there...
    • It could easily be the case that if series A is commercially available, and series B is freely available via fansubs, that people will choose to watch series B over series A because of the cost. Thus, the fansubs could impact the sales of a different, commercially available series.
    • many kind of drugs are illegal but you don't see drugs go away now do you?

      Just because an anime gets licensed in North America doesn't mean every fansub team will stop working on it. They aren't suppose to, but they do.
    • You mean like the availability of music on CD made limewire, etc., go away? Oh, wait...

      The fact that you can buy anime on DVD isn't going to make fansubs go away if it's free/easy to get on-line. Anyone who questions that can look at p2p and the music situation. +90% of the music traded is available on CD.
    • by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @04:39PM (#12953433)
      Yeah, that's right.

      The reason fansubs are popular is simple.

      1. Companies like ADV (and for that matter "Geneon" which used to be Pioneer) wait until a show is popular in the fansub community, buy up the rights to it, and then rather than get on with the job of subtitling and dubbing it sit on it for YEARS before American audiences get the chance to see their "licensed" version.

      2. As it would turn out, the "professional" translators at ADV and other places are usually not as good at translating the anime as the army of semi-bilingual teens/twentysomethings on both sides of the pond (in Japan and America) who can email each other back and forth to make sure that not only is the translation correct, they got the idioms right.

      3. Even when a big Anime movie comes out - like Howl's Moving Castle or Spirited Away - the American companies don't promote it properly. Disney should have had Howl's Moving Castle showing as a full-scale release with advertisements all over every TV station. But Eisner wouldn't do it because (a) it would prove him wrong about the "death" of traditional animation and (b) he dicked it over because John Lasseter wouldn't resign Pixar with Disney.

      In that kind of environment, the reason Fansubs are popular is because WE ARE TIRED OF WAITING FOR THE COMPANIES TO FUCKING DO IT.

      We can accept that it takes time to translate - though the speedsubbing groups doing Naruto have it pretty much down to a 24-hour turnaround and they're no less accurate than ADV or VIZ.

      We can accept that it takes time to record dubbing voices. We CANNOT accept that it takes them FIVE FUCKING YEARS before they're ready to release a single DVD with only two episodes on it.

      Here's your challenge, ADV and the rest of the studios: Get it down to a six-month turnaround. Six months after you license the anime, we want to see it on the fucking shelf.

      Then, if fansubs are still "killing the industry", maybe we'll take you seriously.
      • You forgot a biggie:

        Fansubs are not only free, but they are easily available. Right now, I don't know of any place within a 100 miles of me that has a good quality of anime.

        Lets be realistic. The US market requires translation and subbing or dubbing. Both of which (I would guess) can be done for a fraction of the price of creating a new animated episode[1]. Yet the cost per DVD in the stores run $20 - $40, often for only an hour's worth of video (one or two episodes).

        In addition, series tend to

        • by RoundTop-VJAS ( 580788 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @05:48PM (#12954070)
          I have to call troll on this.

          As someone heavily involved in the fan community for years, and has had several discussions with the heads of said companies (bandai, Viz, ADV, etc), there is a tremendous amount of FUD around digisubs (they are not fansubs).

          The main thing is if you look at a digisub vs a full release a) the video and audio quality is way superior in a regular release, b) the digisubs are inconsistant (watch 10 eps and see if they spell names the same way), and c) no extras.

          Also, you are wrong about the 2 eps per disc. It used to be that way in the old VHS days, and when DVDs first came out, but it quickly went to 4-6!! episodes per disc.

          As for pricing of anime DVDs, you forget there are licencing fees, cost of dubbing, subtitlers, DVD authors, printing, distribution, etc. And you cannot compare Cowboy Bebop to Futurama. a) Futurama has a lower cost point, b) it has MAJOR TV exposure, which means you sell more copies, which makes for a lower price.

          Also, the cost of anime DVDs in North America has dropped in recent years. It used to be $35-45 per disc, now it is more like $25-$35.

          Also, if you want the entire series, wait until after the whole thing is released, a lot of them do perfect collections for a lot off the individual cost.

          As for the delay on some titles, some of it is licensing, some of it is simply how much they do. ADV had 1 dubbing studio and that was why they took so long on some series (they now have more). But even now they still have a backlog.

          So STFU and buy more, which will cause more to be brought over, and the price to drop.

          I have had it with bloody digisubbers. Real fansubbers got LDs from Japan, transferred onto VHS and manually subtitled. It took a while, but the translations were better, and it wasn't wholesale ripping off companies.

          Also, there was not a subculture of "look at me I subtitle anime!" and races between these groups to get subs out faster. When that happens the quality sucks.
  • by DJ_Tricks ( 664229 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @04:07PM (#12953093)
    im sorry but some shows would have even gotten popular if it wasnt for fansubs. Like for example Love hina, Azumango diaho, and Naruto owe all of there popularity in the USA due to Fan subbers who brought it to the community in america first!
    • I for one don't think you can hold fansubs responsible for "killing the industry." Even if you download fansubs for free, you don't even have the option of legally purchasing your favourite anime until it does in fact get exported. The money that production companies aren't making from fansubs doesn't constitute much loss of potential profit, because it's not a market that can buy the anime anyway - so it's not money that could be made to begin with.

      Like Scott in the article, I'd like to think that I woul
  • If it weren't for fansubs, much of the commercial direct-to-video business wouldn't exist. Broadcast is too limited, even the cable & satellite channels that get it seem to want to dumb down anime.

    That said, many people do seem to use fansubs as a crutch such that it does not support the creation of what they watch.
  • Considering the state of animation that North American audiences have been exposed to is it any wonder? Yes Anime is intricate, but how does it relate to what we want to watch. For a while animation was Disney, WB aimed at young audiences. It wasn't until things like The Simpsons which had a older target that animation != Saturday morning cartoon.
  • Fansubbing? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RickHunter ( 103108 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @04:15PM (#12953172)

    Fansubbing isn't killing anime any more than airing it on TV does. Because if you air it on TV, people don't buy the DVDs, they just record it. On the other hand, almost everyone who watches fansubs will buy DVDs of shows they like.

    So what we've really got here is the same complaint as the movie industry. They can't get people to buy crap sight unseen anymore, and it's killing their business model.

    • almost everyone who watches fansubs will buy DVDs of shows they like.
      What do you base this on. Why would they buy a dvd of a fan sub if they wouldn't buy a DVD of one aired on TV?
  • by sinner0423 ( 687266 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {3240rennis}> on Thursday June 30, 2005 @04:17PM (#12953199)
    That all geeks must love anime. I'm glad 99% of the stuff doesn't make it here - why? Probably because it's crap. The story / dub quality on the anime on adult swim really sounds like it was done by a bunch of middle school students - the "plot" lacks form and any amount of depth for an adult to take seriously.

    I'm 25 and in the prime of my geek life - Where is the appeal in Anime? I can't even take the art form seriously after it's been bastadized and role played to death by 'hardcore' geeks. Sorry, I just dont see the connection between anime & my technology based lifestyle. If anything I can relate to american cartoons (family guy, futurama, etc.) than anything else.

    I can't connect with some guy named Onimaro that discovers he can shoot laser beams out of his nipples, because the ghost of his great aunt told him he could while he defeated the skateboarding ghost pirates from another planet. That's about how far out and abstract some of this stuff is.
    • by itistoday ( 602304 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @04:59PM (#12953639) Homepage
      It seems like you simply haven't been exposed to some of the great Anime out there and are using the poorly dubbed filth on Cartoon Network as the basis for your argument. Sorry, but if you think Anime is "Dragon Ball Z" or "Sailor Moon", clearly you need more exposure to it.

      However, this isn't entirely your fault. A lot of this ignorance has to do with American culture in general. One of the major reasons that 99% of the anime out there isn't shown on Cartoon Network is because it doesn't conform to what's "socially acceptable" in the United States. Great shows like Outlaw Star were first stripped of their original voice acting, and then butchered of entire episodes because they revolved around "adult" material that the fat cats at Cartoon Network did not consider to be appropriate for children.

      A lot of the anime out there would most likely shock 80% (figure pulled out of ass) of American mothers to tears. There would be so many lawsuits and complaining that Cartoon Network would run into a corner and try to disappear to protect itself from the hordes of broom-weilding angry mothers.

      Over the years American children have been steadily conditioned into stupidity and happy fairy tail lands where battles are not fought by people but by little creatures called "Pokemon", and I'll be damned if I ever see a single speck of blood on ol' Pikachu even though he was just smacked by 200 tons of solid rock.

      Americans would best understand the nature of Anime if they thought of it as "cartoons for mature people" (even though a lot of it is watched by children in Japan). My suggestion to you would be to search Netflix or something similar (or *cough*bittorrent*cough*) and grab yourself a few DVDs of shows and movies like "Princess Mononoke", "Full Metal Alchemist", "Hellsing", "Cowboy Bebop" and "Spirited Away".
      • Btw, I realize that Pokemon is imported from Japan and is considered Anime, but the point is that the only anime networks will allow on American TV is stupid filth. American TV provides plenty of its own filth too (Mucha Lucha, Static Shock, Ed ed and Eddy, Powerpuff Girls, etc).

        (Not to say it was always this bad, but as time progressed American networks seemed to have a hatred for anything remotely intelligent; shows like Pinky and the Brain, Hysteria, Bill Nye, Magic School Bus, Reboot, etc. all were
    • Indeed! I never got 'got' anime or D&D, despite some of my friends going on and on about how wonderful it was. I guess it goes to show that we're not all one big homogeneous demographic.

      (Then again, every one of my geek friends loved "Firefly".)

      --grendel drago
  • by lazuli42 ( 219080 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @04:18PM (#12953203) Homepage Journal
    Today is the last day that my anime store, Otakurama, will be open. I've felt pressure from many directions over the years, but the two biggest factors working against my business are 1: competition from mass market retailers like Best Buy and Borders, and 2: piracy.

    Number 2 is a big one--I would guess that at least half of my customers download anime from bittorrent. I've had hundreds of people tell me, "oh that series is great!" before it's even come out. Of course, once they download it they don't want to buy it.

    The only anime that sells in my shop are the most popular titles. Anything cool but unusual just sits and rots on my shelf.

    A smaller (but important) factor is that anime publishers change the prices of their products so quickly that discs 'expire' while sitting on my shelf waiting for a buyer. Six months after the last disc of a series comes out they release the entire box set for 50%-66% off. That causes orphans to clutter up my inventory.


    Bye-bye, Otakurama
    • ...the two biggest factors working against my business are 1: competition from mass market retailers like Best Buy and Borders, and 2: piracy.

      Number 2 is a big one--I would guess that at least half of my customers download anime from bittorrent. I've had hundreds of people tell me, "oh that series is great!" before it's even come out. Of course, once they download it they don't want to buy it.

      Y'know, I think you're being a little disingenuous here. From the front page on your own site, we find:

      • by lazuli42 ( 219080 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @04:39PM (#12953438) Homepage Journal
        Truly I'm not being disingenuous--My convention business will only be part time and I'm eliminating all DVDs from my inventory. Likewise, I will no longer stock anime music CDs. At one point 40% of my inventory was in DVDs. I can't wait until it becomes 0%.

        Taking my show on the road will be part-time work for me. I'll probably make between 6-8k a year as a convention exhibitor which makes it a profitabble side venture but not anything I can rely on to pay all my bills. Yes, that means I'll be taking a part time job (I'll be taking university classes too).

        Of course my home page puts the best spin on it as possible. I'm currently working on an 'autopsy report' to figure out what went right, what went wrong, and how to best approach the business in the future.

        P.S. it's not sir
    • Wow, that's very sad. I'm sorry to hear it.

      So, what do you think the anime producers could have done to change the effects of piracy (besides your request to not continually deflate your inventory value?) Would your waiting to carry and distribute only box sets of the more esoteric items have worked?

      Maybe I should ask a different way: what worked? What did you sell, and specifically what did you sell that turned the highest profits? Figurines? Books? Magazines? Single DVDs? Boxed sets? Or did

      • by lazuli42 ( 219080 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @05:11PM (#12953768) Homepage Journal
        So, what do you think the anime producers could have done to change the effects of piracy

        In my opinion anime publishers needed (and still need) to do four things:

        1. Release anime at a much better price point. I hated having to sell anime at $29.99 a disc, but considering some of the margins I had to work with I didn't have much wiggle room. Multiply that by 6 or 8 and you end up paying up to (or over) $200 for a series. In my opinion they need to charge about $3-$5 dollar an episode and pack 4-5 episodes on each disc. Currently, publishers like Geneon frequently charge up to $10 an episode (3 on a $30 disc). It's just too expensive.

        2. Add value to the disc with extras like posters, stickers, lapel pins, pencil boards, and other collectibles. Those really appeal to collectors and can't be digitally duplicated.

        3. Add value to the translations. ADV has done a nice job with some of their releases such as Excel Saga. The Japanese and English audio are there, but what's really excellent are the multiple subtitle modes which illustrate sign names, pop up information about puns or Japanese idioms, and generally inform the viewer on why the producers have added those elements to the show.

        4. *CRACK DOWN ON PIRACY* A search on Ebay on any popular anime series will bring back dozens of hits for illegal pirate copies. I have had dozens of "customers" who want to buy Cowboy Bebop, DBZ, or other popular box sets and only expect to pay $25 like they would on Ebay. As a small store owner I have no power to crack down on the pirates myself. I've tried to call ADV, Geneon and Central Park to find out what their anti-pirate strategies are but I've never received a return phone call.

        Maybe I should ask a different way: what worked?

        1: Manga, especially in 2004. That was a huge year for me. However Barnes & Noble and Borders began to really stock their manga sections and that put a knife in the belly of my business.

        2: Character goods like toys and t-shirts

        3: Used anime. I didn't do a lot of business in it, but the margins are fat, fat, fat.

    • Anime is extremely overpriced. I can buy the complete season of futurama for $40, if I try to buy the complete season of Cowboy Bebop (a very popular anime) it will cost over $100, probably closer to $150.

      Its simply economics. Every anime I have watched in fansub all the way through, I have bought the series. Fansubs are the only thing that gets me to buy anime at all.
    • Yeah, I'm going to call bullshit on the violins playing behind you. Reading the web site you are linked to, you're not "closing" anything but a storefront. You make it sound like you're going out of business entirely which is not the case.

      As another responder observes, you're simply adjusting the business model to exclude the parts that aren't working... it's good that you do it, I agree, but you don't have to blame your customers for a portion of your business failing.
      • You should walk a mile in my shoes before slamming me.

        I floated on the dot-com balloon and invest all my savings into my shop. I also put my own sweat and labor into it. The first year that I was open I took about 10 days off (including Thanksgiving and Christmas)--that's 10 days off over 12 months. If you hear violins behind me maybe it's because I feel entitled to a little self pity on the day that the curtains fall on all I've worked on. I won't get to see my best and favorite people each week; I won't
  • Flawed argument (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spazmania ( 174582 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @04:19PM (#12953221) Homepage
    think about just how many anime DVDs have you purchased recently compared to the number of shows you've downloaded for free.

    This is the same flawed logic that the RIAA, MPAA and BSA use. The correct question is:

    How many anime DVDs have you bought only _after_ seeing a large part of it for free?

    For me the answer is: several dozen discs. I've bought a couple other anime discs based on other criteria, but with only one exception the ones I bought before watching turned out horrible or mediocre.

    Many times I saw them for "free" on television or by borrowing from friends. But if the owners of minor anime titles think they're going to somehow get those titles in front of me via TV, they can dream on. Far and away their best bet of getting new titles in front of me where I might make a buy decision is to make sure the first couple episodes are readily available on the Internet in an unencumbered format I'm willing to use.

    Works for books too. I've made more than a few purchases after reading the first couple chapters online.
  • What's someone to do then? There were tons of great stuff released back in the late 70's and 80's that are either licensed by some US companies that simply don't care or will never see the light of day.

    Reji Matsumoto released some really good SF stories around that time (Harlock, GE999, Queen Millenia) that have great stories. Because they now look "dated" no one will touch them. Compare that to Yamato (AKA Star Blazers), another immensely popular series whose US license holder releases crap quality VHS
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "how many anime DVD's have you bought after seeing fansubbed versions?"

    None, since the common legal perception among the translators is that it is illegal to redistribute the fan-subbed version if the DVD [or any other form of retail] is available in the language. Unlike the standard pirate, most translators adhere to the law. Finding english fansubs of popular work [the article's 1% released in the US] is near impossible.
  • Jiggle (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ShoobieRat ( 829304 )
    Having been to Japan and having seen a good example of the 99% that doesn't make it to the US, I would rather think that it is not the US but the Japanese who are killing the US market for Anime. Honestly, the folks who make some of those flicks must need serious psychological help on a routine basis...*twitches*
  • As a semi-professional anime promoter, I can tell you that the market for anime in North America is as large as if not larger than the one in Japan. Anime is a HUGE moneymaker, and the article is fairly off-base.

    Next month, in Baltimore MD, 22 000 anime fans will descend upon Otakon [], paying as much as $50 a head, to celebrate anime. There are similar conventions on a regular basis all around the country and in Canada. Media Play [] makes a large portion of its profits from the sale of anime DVDs and manga.
  • Fansubs++ (Score:5, Interesting)

    by solios ( 53048 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @04:25PM (#12953280) Homepage
    All the responses in the thread so far seem to be along the lines of "Fansubs == GOOD" and this is the case to a point... why wait two years to see shitty dub of a series (with commercials) when you can see it now, fansubbed, without?

    If anything, fansubs underscore just how fucking awful most dubs are... though a bad fansub can be just as bad, if not worse. (my experience with GITS : SAC hit both extremes - great voice acting, but a few of the episodes I watched had to have been subbed by a fourth grader who failed english)

    If anything is "killing anime" in the US, it's one or more of three things:

    A. The price of DVDs. Why the fucking hell would I pay 25-30$ for four 22-27 minute episodes, 3-5 minutes of which are credits and intro sequence? This is even more ridiculous with shows like Naruto, which often have many minutes of flashback and shitloads of standing-around-staring-at-each-other.

    B. Dragonball. It's a great example of everything that sucks about americanized Anime - overlong credits, overlong intro, overlong "NEXT EPISODE!" overlong "IN THE LAST EPISODE!" and shitloads of nothing happening in between. If you're lucky.

    C. The complete gutting / hackjob done on several titles in the process of translating them to "fit" the US market. Who the fuck is going to watch a "cleaned up" series after you've already seen the original, undiluted, unedited version? Editing the series to fit a focus group audience is asinine.

    Personally, I dropped my fanboy boner for japanese media a few years ago. I still buy Battle Angel trades, I'll watch the occasional series if it's actually decent (Bebop, Witch Hunter), and I've been waiting patiently for Appleseed V since the 90s.

    Haven't seen much of interest actually make it into the US in awhile.

    But then, it's been awhile since American comics have had anything interesting to say, either - with Cerebus and Transmetropolitan done, the comic shop is nothing but X-men and merch for whatever anime Fox happens to be running this season. It sucks ass, and I'll be damned if I'm going to spend money on crap. :P
  • MegaTokyo [] Rocks!
  • I download fansubs because the actual episodes are ridiculously expensive.

    Pokemon is a bitch to find AND they charge an assload for it. I can't afford buying a whole season of it, yet a whole Simpsons season of 24 episodes is $40.

    They're charging way too much. If they actually bring down the price to not take advantage of rich nerds, then they might see sales go up.

    I don't want to see anymore of this 3 episodes for $10 crap.
  • cartoons? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Karma Sucks ( 127136 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @04:28PM (#12953320)
    Why so much fuss about Japanese cartoons? It's not like we get any of their movies or television either, so I fail to see why a dearth of their cartoons in the US market is surprising.
  • Two problems... (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Iscariot_ ( 166362 )
    Most anime sucks. Just like most movies suck, and most games suck. So that takes care of 80% lets say.

    What about the rest? Well, there's no marketing... Pricess Mononoke, Akira, GITS2... all of them had marketing behind them (as in tv commercials that aired in the states), anow now all three are very popular. If the Japaneese really want to sell the shit over here, it's time to advertise.
    • I don't really consider the Studio Ghibli material in quite the same genre as "anime." It's definitely Japanese animation, but particularly Miyazaki's goals have as much to do with pure cinema as anything. It definitely doesn't rely on the genre cliches that most of the rest (even the better made material, like Ghost in the Shell or Metropolis) do.
  • Most anime fails to connect with Americans because the two cultures have dramatically different requirements from their media.

    Americans like their dotted lines in place. Japanese are much more forgiving of the unexplained.

    At the same time, in Anime so much of the implied spiritualism is unexplained (if it really exists at all) that American's are just lost when trying to interpret it.
  • First, much of Japanese animation is aimed naturally at Japanese modern society because they are watching it first. Do Americans aim their animation at any audience but themselves first?

    Second, fan subs are killing nothing and only increasing the fan base which would gladly buy the anime if only it would be exported in the first place. Some of them are insatiable gluttons.

    Third, between Suncoast/et al carrying manga and anime, there is a "this is new and faddish" crowd above and beyond the hardcore an
  • by dublinclontarf ( 777338 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @04:38PM (#12953425) Homepage
    Anime is simply a medium, a way to put that sea of idea's in our heads into another persons head. The animation is usually good but the problem tends to be the story more than anything else. anime is especially good at expressing imagination, Akira, Ghost in the Shell, and a few others were visually stunning, had great imagination but often lacked depth. Others such as Spirited Away & GTO had good animation but that was just sugar on the cake, the y had great story's with real imagination.
  • I suddenly realized how lame the American voices were - and inappropriate for their characters.

    Except for two of them, they were totally off in the English dub, and spot on in the Japanese voice choices.
  • With the exception of the Wired references, the other references seem to have come from a recent Business Week article. /b3939013.htm []
  • Fan subs don't kill, they open it far more.

    Here is what kills that market for Anime in America.

    1) Horrible voice, voice do not match the character, and the voice acting _always_ sucks. Sometimes it sounds worse than a bunch of high school students being force to do the voicing.

    2) Cost. lets say you have 50-100 total eps with only a couple on a DVD, they are selling them way to costly. They should be able to pack 10 to a DVD and sell them cheaper.

    2.5)Space, Who wants to store that many DVD's? It is worl
  • by Jtheletter ( 686279 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @04:51PM (#12953555)
    I see at least four posts modded up to +4 and +5 right now that say the reason why anime isn't big in america is because of the odd japanese character stereotypes (ala blue hair, teen oversexed girls, way-out plots, etc). And in the next sentence these people also more or less state that they don't like most anime except for the stuff they see on Cartoon network. Can anyone spot the logical fallicy here? If we're admitting that 99% of anime doesn't make it here then how can you say that the reason is it's all too stereotyped - you haven't seen the other 99% to know!

    Having watched numerous imports thanks to my college's midnight anime club (tho I'm still a newb by msot of their standards, some of those guys learned to speak japanese from watching so much anime!!) I can say that, yes, a ton of it is full of those stereotypes, but honestly, have you watched american cartoons lately? Fully half of it is spinoffs of PPGs and Pokemon. Look, you have to sort through a bunch of crap to find the gems like GITS, Akira, Evangelion, Lain, etc. but that's true of any genre. You can't just say 'well the 1% to 5% I've seen has all these stereotypes so the rest must too!' Part of the issue is that alot of the hardcore anime american audience do enjoy those types of anime (otaku anyone?), so that's what they tend to demand and therefore is what gets imported. As far as fansubbing goes I think as others have said the problem will mostly go away when the studios just realize that the fansubs exist because of demand - provide that product and the fansubs will go away, or move on to the next thing the audience is demanding.

  • ...for mediocre quality shows. At least, that's how I've heard it described.

    Let's face it, whether it be anime, tv, movies, or games, probably 10% are great, 30% are mediocre, and the rest are not worth the time of day.

    With the top 10%, they could be the most pirated shows of all time, but will still do amazing numbers at retail. Think Star Wars ep III, The Incredibles, Halo, or Evangelion. These are franchises that fans will spend oodles of money on, and even the most rampant piracy could not render them
  • Ethical fansubbers -those who take steps to halt distribution of their work after the series are licensed- do no harm to the anime industry, or if they do any harm at all then it far outweighs the good. Time and time again they have provided the industry with valuable predictors of what will sell in the US and what will not. They generate buzz as little else can.

    Unethical fansubbers -those who continue to distribute their work after the series has been licensed, or worse still deliberately sub series which
  • Personally I watch anime on a daily basis, the vast majority of which I have bought through the standard licenced outlets. I do have a good number of "bootleg" disks but when the dubbed copies come out, I buy the legal disks as well (unless the show really sucked). I don't do fansub, but I'm seriously tempted so as to see the latest shows. I would happly subscribe to a legal fansub service in a heartbeat so as to get new/obscure shows faster.

    Why do I watch anime? The diversity of the shows as well as the h
  • I run an anime club in Florida. Florida has 4 good sized anime conventions a year (3000+ attendees.) Our club has about 1500 members. If it weren't for fansubs there would be a very small fraction of anime fans and releases.

    Fansubs are the primary avenue we find out about series, become attached to them, and subsequently buy them as they are released. We're ravenous. We buy the dvds even if we have the fansubs. We buy action figures, posters, art books, etc. Most of the members are college kids witho
  • by Nyall ( 646782 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @05:14PM (#12953793) Homepage
    I think the industry is shooting itself in the foot.
    I would buy much more anime if most disks had 5 or more episodes per DVD.

    I do download a naruto and bleach, and I could see myself paying $0.50 an episode (and gladly uploading till I got to a 1.00 share rating)

    But to pay $25 for a disk with 3 episodes. Give me a break, after I skip the intro and endings thats 60 minutes of content. I expect a 'movies worth'
  • by DarkZero ( 516460 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @05:20PM (#12953854)
    Despite the fact that anime is wildly overpriced in America, with some 26 episode series costing as much as $200 or $300 after you've collected all of the eight to ten DVDs in the series (what casual fan would pay for this?), the quality is still very low.

    Take the $200 Zeta Gundam box set, for instance. You can see in every single episode that the subs are off. In one scene, a character looks at a giant robot with surprise and clearly says, in a heavy Japanese accent, "Gundam... Mark II?!", but in the subs, he says, "It's a Gundam?" And sure enough, if you change the language from Japanese to English, the dubbed voice says, "It's a Gundam?", because that's what fits the character's mouth movements. This means that in a $200 box set, no one even bothered to spend the money on proper subtitles, and in longer conversations, you can see that the meaning is completely lost in the translation. In another scene, a character making a longer speech says the word "Newtype" three times, but the subs never even mention it. Kind of important when the entire series revolves around newtypes and many characters' personalities are defined by the fact that they're a newtype.

    The number of times that's happened in a fansub? Zero. In all of the fansubs I've watched, I've never seen as many blatant mistranslations as I have in a DVD box set from Bandai that I paid $200 for. And the same goes for other companies, as well. Obviously no one even spellchecked ADV's Bubblegum Crisis 2040 DVDs, because there are at least five or six typos in every DVD's subtitles. That's the sort of thing that would never get past 90% of fansub groups, because they'd be afraid of looking like idiots, but ADV and Bandai don't seem to be very afraid of making you feel like an idiot for buying their product.

    So between lower quality, a higher price, and a generally narrower selection of titles, it's not really worth watching US anime DVDs. Not just versus watching fansubs, but versus most other things you could do with your time.

BLISS is ignorance.