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The decline of anime in North America
Ziffy88 at 8:17PM, Jan. 18, 2008
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Flinstones and Johnny Quest will always be my two favorites from their studios
last edited on July 14, 2011 5:02PM
Insanity at 8:21PM, Jan. 18, 2008
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UGH.

Decline of Amerime.

PARTS OF NARUTO.

You fans know what I'm talking about.

AwesomeUnicorn
I feel a little bit like Hitler right now, too.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:01PM
jalford at 1:35PM, Jan. 19, 2008
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Another thing is that ADV Films recently dropped their Anime Advocates program for anime fanclubs. Along with this, the cancellation of their Newtype USA magazine, and their 24-hour Anime Network, things are looking a little bad for them.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:06PM
isukun at 5:47PM, Jan. 20, 2008
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Not really. ADV still does a lot of business and don't forget they've dropped a lot of money both into Japanese projects and this guaranteed to be awful Eva movie. While ADv's 24 hour anime channel has been canned, they're still offering shows on demand and there are a couple of other all anime cable channels that have popped up in the last year (and they're not limited to just ADV shows).

The ADVocates program is a bit of a waste of money for ADV. They reach more fans with their con promotions, so I'm not surprised they cancelled it. If you really think about it, it means they would be sending free videos to clubs so that their members could watch the shows without paying for them. While it seems like good advertising, most of the club members I know don't go out and buy the stuff they've already seen in the club.

As for Newtype, it isn't really getting cancelled. ADV is replacing it with another publication, likely so they don't have to pay royalties to Kadokawa Shoten just for the name.

Hannah Barbera certainly is known for cheapening animation, but at that point the deal was “Make it cheaper or don't make it at all”.

Actually the biggest problem with American animation is that the pay scales for animators are the same regardless of whether you are working on theatrical features, commercials, or simple limited animation for TV. This has been a problem pretty much from the begining and it artificially inflates the cost of low quality productions. That's why so much is farmed out to Asia these days. At least in Japan, they can still afford to do some of their animation work in studios on their native soil. Here it just costs too much to pay the animators and you can't lower salaries since labor is mostly union. Today this is made even worse by the fact that the pay scales for the union are mostly based on advertising projects and companies are willing to pay much more to produce a 30 second ad than a studio is to make a series of 20 minute episodes.

Had we been willing in the 60's to change the pay scale for TV animation the way Japan did, our animation likely wouldn't have lagged behind theirs into the 80's and we might still have prominant animation studios in the US who specialize in TV animation. Now, what used to be animation studios, are mostly holding companies and the main labor is farmed out to Korea.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
Ziffy88 at 6:03PM, Jan. 20, 2008
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Really even if anime becomes less popular it's not like we can't get anymore. So I don't really see what's the big problem. The real problem is our lack of creating good original animation here in the states
last edited on July 14, 2011 5:02PM
jalford at 12:41AM, May 14, 2008
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That and there's just fewer anime distributors. It's pretty much just ADV, Funimation, and Bandai now.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:06PM
isukun at 5:29AM, May 14, 2008
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And Sony Pictures, Geneon, AnimeWho, Illumitoon, Media Blasters, Viz, Nozomi Entertainment, Manga Entertainment, AnimEigo, Synch-Point, and Beuna Vista, all of which still release new titles (and there are a couple more I can't think of off the top of my head). You also have a number of companies that seem to be created specifically to handle the licensing of anime (like Kadokawa and ShoPro Entertainment), something that wasn't really a factor in the past.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
ozoneocean at 6:20AM, May 14, 2008
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I don't know if this is germane or not and I couldn't find it in any of the posts here, but I'd say the “decline” of anime is entirely perceptual (not actual, but that can amount to the same thing in the end), and it began years ago with the toy tie-in cartoons.

Pokemon, Digimon, Monster Ranch, Beyblade, Yu-Gi-Oh, Zoids, Sonic the Hedgehog, that other cartoon about the little cars you pull the string on (can't remember the name), etc. LEGIONS of kids grew up with that extremely low grade pap, most anime fans (below a certain age) on this site definitely had that as their introduction to anime, as well as almost all the NON-anime fans in that age range.

That has to do something to their expectations… Even if it's just subconscious, and it's going to mould what they want to see in future. Those of us bought up with a diet of higher quality fare, albeit heavily edited to North American tastes (stuff like Robotech, Speed Racer, Kimba the white Lion, Astro Boy, Battle of the Planets, Star Blazers etc.) we have a different outlook. It's not that I think it's any better, it's just that things that defined anime for the toy cartoon generation are quite different. And more importantly, the crappy toy cartoons are what made anime an impotent, stillborn force in a lot of young people's minds.

Their success also changed the thinking of US media publishers and distributes.

Maybe I'm just rambling… But I do think that there are generational differences here among audiences and that affects reception and dissemination of this form of imported pop-culture.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:31PM
Hawk at 1:09PM, May 14, 2008
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ozoneocean
Pokemon, Digimon, Monster Ranch, Beyblade, Yu-Gi-Oh, Zoids, Sonic the Hedgehog, that other cartoon about the little cars you pull the string on (can't remember the name), etc. LEGIONS of kids grew up with that extremely low grade pap, most anime fans (below a certain age) on this site definitely had that as their introduction to anime, as well as almost all the NON-anime fans in that age range.

If what you're saying is true then anime started to decline the moment it hit the mainstream. That would make sense when consider that a lot of people believe something begins its decay the moment it becomes popular.

I myself prefer anime when it was that little secret that only so many people were in on. Unfortunately most of todays anime “fans” will never know that Lupin, Urusei Yatsuura, Bubblegum Crisis, and countless other forerunners existed.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
ozoneocean at 6:10PM, May 14, 2008
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That's not really what I'm saying though… The anime I grew up with was just as mainstream, although it wasn't stuff that was solely designed to sell toys and for no other reason. There were toy tie-ins, but that's a different thing. We've seen what toy selling cartoons did to the animation industry in the West… Ravaged it. Once you indoctrinate your market into that sort of thing (such a poor quality product), its value goes right down.

So, I'm not really talking about mainstream Vs boutique interest, rather just a cheapening of overall market expectations. Like if once all the restaurants sold was wholesome, well cooked, healthy meals, then a few years later they were all replaced by McDonald type places and that was all you could readily buy: the customers are going to expect that most restaurant food will always be low quality, the sellers of it are going to think it's perfectly ok to sell that stuff because their customers will tollerate it anyway, and a hell of a lot of people are going to be turned off by it because it's so bad- never knowing the better stuff that used to be as available once upon a time.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:31PM
ccs1989 at 6:39PM, May 14, 2008
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The Anime Network sucks. Why would I want to watch Japanese shows in English?! What a stupid idea.

Also the internet will always be the number one place for anime news. Stop freaking out. There's anime Batman coming out in July. Avatar is really popular, and manga continues to sell a lot.

Plus we're in a recession.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:39AM
isukun at 7:38PM, May 14, 2008
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We've seen what toy selling cartoons did to the animation industry in the West… Ravaged it.

Really? It seemed to me like the animation industry picked up after it started to tie in massive merchandising deals with Saturday morning cartoons. G.I. Joe, Transformers, Voltron, Thundercats, He Man, the list goes on. The generic carbon copy animation of the late 60's and 70's did more harm to the industry than the 80's cash cow merchandising franchises. It was because of a lack of revenue that the industry started doing more joint projects with Japan and creating shows specifically to sell toys. Advertising revenue wasn't enough to make up the production costs.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
ozoneocean at 8:54PM, May 14, 2008
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isukun
Really? It seemed to me like the animation industry picked up after it started to tie in massive merchandising deals with Saturday morning cartoons.
Creatively the products had very low value when they were pure toysellers. You're being silly and listing some toy-tie-in cartoons there, which I already said were a different thing. ;)
GI Joe was terrible, and so were all the other cartoons purely made for toy selling- where the toy concept came first and the cartoon was created around that.

It almost seems like you're mischaracterising my statement as some kind of rant against commercialism in animation. That's absolutely silly!

It's almost universally acknowledged that the cartoons developed around selling a range of toys (not the OTHER way around) were what started to drive people away from these crappy cartoons and towards their Japanese counterparts to start with. Yes indeed that harmed western animation because they created a purely product driven movement within it which meant that for a while that sort of thing was all that was able to be produced. It wasn't until things like Ren and Stimpy etc. came along that they were able to start breaking away from that morass of failure.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:31PM
mlai at 5:56AM, May 15, 2008
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@ Ozone:

That all sounds great in theory, but your examples give me pause. As a child I loved tie-in cartoons like GI Joe, Transformers, etc etc. I hated Ren & Stimpy. It's all about the traditional warm art style and storytelling, vs the new-fangled avant-garde ADD-infused art/story.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
ozoneocean at 6:11AM, May 15, 2008
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I wasn't talking about style, but purpose. Ren and Stimpy was simply an example of the beginning of the return of cartoons that were not made to sell an existing range of toys. There were others before Ren and Stimpy during that time of course, but after it, the cartoon toy adverts started to decline.

I hated Ren and Stimpy. Now I just tollerate it. :)

And yet again Mlai. I was NOT talking about toy tie-in cartoons!!!!! NOTNOTNOTNOT!!!! Grrrrr! I said that every time.

NOT cartoons where they developed and successfully sold a range of toys out of them.

N O T !

I'm talking about the ones that started out as toys. Cartoons were made about them in order to sell them. Basically great big advertisements for an existing range of toys… Like all the anime examples I listed up there.
Even those weren't all bad. But you can count the good ones on your fingers and toes, because they do tend to be memorable (like transformers, it was decent), while the bad ones exceed the capacity of your digits -which is ok since they tend to fade from memory anyway.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:31PM
isukun at 9:33AM, May 15, 2008
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It's almost universally acknowledged that the cartoons developed around selling a range of toys (not the OTHER way around) were what started to drive people away from these crappy cartoons and towards their Japanese counterparts to start with.

Not in the animation history classes I've taken. Companies like Hanna Barbera and Filmation started to turn off cartoon watchers with their scores of generic carbon copy shows copying past successes like the Flinstones, Scooby Doo, or their superhero shows. Like I said before, rising production costs and a lack of advertising revenue drove the companies to start more aggressively linking merchandising to animation. For the most part, this worked out pretty well for them. Even when the shows weren't all that good, the toy lines kept kids interested in the show, which likewise introduced and advertised new toys. Even after shows like Ren and Stimpy, that remained the standard of the industry. You may not recognize it because you're older and have more refined tastes, but kids still buy into the shows that are designed specifically to sell toys. In fact, more often than not, those tend to be some of the most popular shows on TV.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
ozoneocean at 8:37PM, May 15, 2008
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That's the thing Isukun, kids will watch whatever. That's why they didn't give up on Pokemon and the rest of the Japanese toy based cartoons. But kids are only a part of the market, and that's the point: the rest of of don't go in for that stuff. And it doesn't help when that's the sort of thing that the market is strongly set up to cater too.

My argument for the so called “decline” of anime in the west :)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:31PM
isukun at 10:42PM, May 15, 2008
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But kids are only a part of the market

Yes, the largest part. That's why the industry caters to them. “The rest of us” are in the minority here and pretty much always have been since cartoons hit the air waves. I don't see that as a decline of anything, though. The industry continues on as it has the last twenty five years.

As for anime, itself, if you don't want the commercialized stuff aimed at the kids, there are more than enough outlets on cable. Cartoon Network, Scifi, Encore Action, Encore WAM, STARZ Edge, IFC, Imaginasian TV, Funimation Channel, and a few others air anime aimed at either the teen or adult audiences. There are still a few different on demand services in the US, as well. Usually, when I think of something declining, I envision stations dropping programming or less people watching it, not the other way around.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
ozoneocean at 11:55PM, May 15, 2008
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And you're still missing that point… like a cross-eyed fencer lol!
Ya missed the bit where I said it was a “perception” of a decline, as well as being a “so called” decline. ;)

And who are the ones perceiving it? Why people commenting here, and people in our age bracket! And there I was outlining what a possible reason for that was.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:31PM
jalford at 12:33AM, May 16, 2008
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Anime that's intended for younger viewers is in little shortage of getting snuffed out. The only downside to that whole end of fandom is that it rarely gets released on DVD in America, and if it does its dubbed only and edited for TV(on the DVD release that is!). As long as there's trading cards or crappy Nintendo games, those kind of shows will always have a healthy market in the States. The ones that are in REAL trouble are the older crowd ones like what you'd normally see on Adult Swim or Ani-Monday.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:06PM
isukun at 7:28AM, May 16, 2008
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The ones that are in REAL trouble are the older crowd ones like what you'd normally see on Adult Swim or Ani-Monday.

How so? There are more channels broadcasting anime now than there were three years ago, anime conventions tend to get more participants every year, for every minor anime distribution company that changes its focus or goes bankrupt, two more take its place, and anime studios in Japan are starting to crack down on fan sub groups, make more cooperative projects with American studios, and sell licenses earlier (meaning distribution companies are willing to take more risks than before, as well).

Ya missed the bit where I said it was a “perception” of a decline

I got it, I just see the reasoning being more related to the market evening out than merchandising shows from the 80's and 90's. The perception of a decline is more the paranoia you get when any market's growth begins to slow. People made the same claims about video games last generation claiming a big crash was on the way, but here we are a few years later and video games are earning as much revenue as movies, now.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
jalford at 4:15PM, May 24, 2008
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That's why more anime distributors have gone out of business in the last 12 months than in any year previously.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:06PM
isukun at 5:13PM, May 24, 2008
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Name them. Apart from Geneon (who only halted DVD sales and production, but are still in business licensing series and working on translations) most of your defunct distributors were small time companies that came and went more than a year ago. You also have some companies who didn't go out of business, but changed their focus (like CPM) after getting constantly beat out by the heavy hitters like Viz, Funimation, ADV and Bandai.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
Druchii at 11:58PM, May 24, 2008
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lastcall
Give me Bugs Bunny over Spike Spiegel anyday.

When you say that, I die a little inside… LOL!

I LOVE Bugs, truly, but Spike is honestly one of the few really cool Anime characters that I've liked since Rick Hunter back in the day.

Of course, Spike wouldn't look as good in a dress as Bugs does on occasion… :D
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:17PM
jalford at 2:11AM, May 27, 2008
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Software Sculptors, Softcel Pics, Synch-Point, Super Techno Arts, Anime 18, Toei Animation, Diskotek Media, Bandai Visual, AN Entertainment, etc., etc….
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:06PM
isukun at 6:48AM, May 27, 2008
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Software Sculptors and Anime 18 are both divisions of CPM which focuses more on manga and manwa now than anime. This has really been the case for a while now with some of their subsidary companies like Software Sculptors and Anime 18 only existing for legal reasons to maintain the rights over older releases.

Synch-Point hasn't had a release since 2006, Softcell since 2003, Super Techno Arts and Toei since 2005. In terms of DVD releases, all of these companies have been defunct for more than 12 months. Some still handle licensing (like Sync-Point), however.

Diskotek just had a release last month. Anime was never a major product of theirs, they have always had an emphasis on live-action cinema. Plus their anime releases (what little there were) were more dated movies that didn't have much of a fan following. That strategy works better with the quirky live-action movies they release since so few are available in the US.

Bandai Visual is more a marketing gimmick gone wrong than a company going under. For the time being, anime is still being released under the label, but the popularity of anime in general has nothing to do with them getting absorbed back into their parent company. That is more a factor of them charging outrageous prices for their releases.

AN Entertainment was never a distributor. They were a store that picked up a few licenses. Distribution on their releases was handled through ADV at first and then Funimation for Hare Guu. The company is still around, but has no current plans to license any further series.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM

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