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​What killed the American anime industry?


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#1 Jura

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 11:43 PM

Science and geek entertainment site io9 just covered why the American anime industry blew up. The boom was so big that Western companies licensed all of the greatest in a far shorter time then it took Japan to create them. Despite this Japanese companies continued to demand high licensing fees when the well dried up of big hits. Parent companies even forced their own Western companies to pay them big money for poor licensing choices.

They don't go into however is how Kickstarter and Crunchyroll have been successful. Perhaps Anime Sols, too, but they're much smaller than Kickstarter. There is also a lack of mentioning how the economy around the world went sour and retailers cutting back on shelf space.

But what should I know. I haven't donated to a crowd source project, don't care for streaming much, and anime I buy tends to be those that were out already for a while.

#2 EhNani

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 04:21 PM

My biggest problem with reading that article is that I was also there at ground zero, but what I saw was a similar but very different account of the end... My personal experience comes in the form of being a consumer; but it starts off with my acquaintanceship with an employee of premiere anime voiceover studio Bang Zoom!

With the success of anime in the states, and only indicators of continued popularity, it seemed to be a nonstop influx of contracts for Bang Zoom, who had under their roof not only legendary(?) Johnny Yong Bosch, but also the adorable little Stephanie Sheh. A couple of other big names escape me because I don't give a fuck about dubs, but anyways...

Then one day. That's right. Just one day. The company filed for bankruptcy.

There was no money. They were being paid in steam and dream feces.

Manga sales weren't in a decline. So where was that money going? In fact, since there is no American equivalent to shoujo manga (specifically, comics targeted toward girls), it's an almost inexhaustible resource that could be constantly mined for money. This leads to more anime, this leads to more money... But where was it?

The fault lies primarily with the fans. People started needing to get their anime fix faster. Waiting two or three years to see a domestic release by an official publisher was just too long for them. Internet was getting faster, filesizes were getting bigger, quality was seeing a dramatic improvement in matters of months, not years. By this point (2004), it was debatable whether buying anime DVD's was actually worth it. I promise you if we were still sharing anime under shitty real media formats, we would still have an anime industry.

In any case, Anime's popularity continued to grow and with the influx of fans introduced with it thieves, pirates, egotists, and penny pinchers. Fansub groups were popping up left and right; transforming into a giant penis fencing match between high school kids. All vying to release the shittiest translation in the shortest amount of time. At one point, one show had over seven different groups working on it, separately.

It stopped being about increasing anime exposure to the western world, which would have brought with it a functional business model (now known as crunchyroll),

So yeah, companies continuing to license anime in droves probably contributed, but ultimately it's the fans.

People who complain about prices... sigh.

I have bought every anime I have ever wanted at ridiculous prices without having to live out of my car. It's not an impossible dream that only "true otaku" can afford. In fact, I have seen these very same people spend hundreds of dollars on magic the gathering, warhammer, yu-gi-oh, sport tickets... the list goes on.

I can buy horribly mastered television shows on twelve DVDs for 23 dollars. Whoopie-doo. Fuck you.