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Missed It: The Future Of Anime As We Know It

Toei execs talk mobile phone anime and more.

Toei Animation 
Toei Animation 
Missed it! Spotted it: Icarus Publishing's blog (often NSFW).

Apparently there were a couple of interesting guests at the Mobile World Conference this week: Kenji Ebato, the executive VP of Toei Animation, and Sae Song, the new business development manager for the same company.

Why is it always One Piece? 
Why is it always One Piece? 
Why were they at an event for mobile phones? Well, Recombu chatted with them and was told by Song that "The way people consume anime is changing and our fans are ahead of the curve...we're learning the hard way and getting burned by piracy."  (No kidding-- Toei was the company hit the hardest when folks swiped FUNimation's release of a One Piece episode early.)
As with most media companies, Toei is trying to figure out how to monetize its products properly, and Song suggests that "if the industry doesn't start experimeting with new formats and new business models then many production companies will get hit hard."

Song suggests that anime studios group together to create a "Spotify-style" (or perhaps more accessibly to you guys, a Hulu-style) anime hub for watching anime online.

But since that's not likely to happen between competitors anytime very soon, Toei is hoping to get their stuff on mobile phones and tablet devices. It's unclear how much they're thinking specifically about their domestic market and how much they're worrying about the rest of the world, but their presence at a "world" congress for mobile phones seems like a good sign. 

Here's hoping something cool goes down...even if mobile phone video stuff has yet to really hit the big time in North America.     
FoxxFireArt moderator on Feb. 19, 2010 at 6:47 p.m.
Well, There is a thirst in the US for proper One Piece since you can't get the series in the US without alterations. Such as Sanji's cigarettes being switched with lollipops or talking about juice when they are actually drinking sake.
If they would cease the edits the pirating might not be so rampant with the series.
HSaabedraon Feb. 19, 2010 at 6:59 p.m.
All they told me was that they wanted to get on the iPad in Japan and wanted to work with NTTDoCoMo once they figured out their plans to launch service in the US as a virtual operator on AT&T's network this year.  The rest of their comments came off like standard PR as found in the Recombu article.  Oddly enough, they did tell me they were planning an announcement at next month's CTIA Wireless Expo in Vegas, so I'll be there to see what's up.
Oneeyedjackson Feb. 19, 2010 at 9:21 p.m.
@FoxxFireArt said:
" Well, There is a thirst in the US for proper One Piece since you can't get the series in the US without alterations. Such as Sanji's cigarettes being switched with lollipops or talking about juice when they are actually drinking sake.  If they would cease the edits the pirating might not be so rampant with the series. "
Are you referring to the Manga or the Anime?  Cause if its the Manga your talking about Toei doesn't handle the One Piece Manga and if its the Anime Funimation releases the series on DVD and their video portal unedited.
FoxxFireArt moderator on Feb. 19, 2010 at 10:51 p.m.
I speak of the anime. The dubs that FUNimation does makes the alterations I'm speaking about. When shown on US TV it's heavily edited. Though not nearly as bad as what 4Kids did. What they did could almost be considered an "Anime Crime". FUNimation does produce unedited DVDs, but that always felt idiotic to alter something to suit a different audience.
My feelings are that if you can't watch something the way it was intended to be seen, then you shouldn't be watching it in the first place. It's not as if the series has full frontal or excessive nudity. There are characters that smoke and drink.
It's not your average watcher that is pirating the series off the internet. It's the fans who want to watch the series the way Japan does. I doubt your casual audience watcher is going to go through the trouble it takes to find a series online.
The streaming unedited Japanese versions wasn't until last year, and there are still disputes over that. It's still in the air if the fans will accept the gesture of showing the latest episodes the way they are, or if the bridge has already been burned.
I tried giving the FUNimation dubs a fair shot, but Cartoon Network stopped showing the series before they could even get through a  single story arc. Which might of been for the best since the "King Eneru" bit was irritating enough. It was kind of sad, because the voice work was pretty solid. Pretty rare in dubs.
Oneeyedjackson Feb. 20, 2010 at 8:10 a.m.
Here 96 episodes both dubbed and subbed completely unedited with more uploaded every week.  Those episodes that aired on Cartoon Network had to be edited in order to get it on TV with the rating Cartoon Network wanted.
giaon Feb. 20, 2010 at 9:57 a.m.
@HSaabedra: Sweet, be sure to check in! 
@Oneeyedjacks: @FoxxFireArt: Yes, unfortunately FUNimation was left in a position where they would either have to make similar edits to cigarettes and alcohol and basically lose the ability to get it shown on TV at all, or get it shown on TV but make the edits-- 4kids' changes are the unhappy gift that keeps giving on that front. 
Of course, in the end they lost the TV broadcast (for now, at least), so it may not have been the best choice. On the other hand, the exposure from even that brief time on TV may have been enough to make it financially worthwhile. Unfortunate nonetheless :\
FoxxFireArt moderator on Feb. 20, 2010 at 10:40 a.m.
The removing of smoking from any or all characters has always felt so idiotic. While I am not pro smoking. I'm not aggressively against it. Of all the smokers that I know. Not a single one of them has ever said they started because they saw a character in a comic or cartoon do it. That's because no one is that much of a moron.
I'm of the mind set that the One Piece fans were already so terribly burned by what 4Kids did to the series. When FUNimation versions were aired on Cartoon Network all they got a chance to see were episodes with edits. They saw the smoking removed, drinking removed, the opening songs changed with English lyrics (Naruto and Bleach always kept the Japanese opening songs.), and Eneru renamed King in place of the God title. They really didn't get a chance to see what they were doing. If I hadn't gone online to research what FUNimation was doing. I could only of assumed they were doing the very same thing.  It didn't help matters that they literally picked up with the airing where 4Kids left off, at the end of the Alabasta Arc
By that time, the US One Piece fans were already going online and pirating the anime that didn't have edits. What reason did they have to go to FUNimation if all they thought they were going to get were edits? It is an interesting step to offer the new episodes on their site, but lets see how long that lasts. I tried navigating their site to find episodes and it's kind of annoying. Episodes 97-390 are missing.
I doubt Cartoon Network will ever air One Piece again. If they stopped showing Naruto, what is the hope for One Piece? It's funny when you consider that Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece have basically the same target audience in Japan, but in the US broadcasters have such tight sphincters that they are shown at all sorts of different times. Bleach is only shown after 11 PM. It's as if you are saying that only the seventeen and up US audience can handle what Japanese youths watch regularly.

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