Count_Zero (Level 20)

I unlocked 2 Xbox Live achievements yesterday:
followed by
| |


So, a while back I did a blog post in response to Bang Zoom's complaints that anime was going to die. Well, Japanator has done their own take on the issue, one that sides with Bang Zoom. I'm not going to respond to the whole thing, because they really don't bring up any new points in my opinion. Except for the last section - in which they bring up the cost of anime on DVD. To summarize their claims, if you cannot afford anime on your budget, you are unable to live within your means and need to work harder, and learn to budget.
No. That's not how it works.
The examples they cite for series fit their lower price range are series that have been out for awhile and have essentially earned their money back. They aren't new series. Newer series cost considerably more than $25-$30 for a season. They can cost up to $50-70 or even more for a season, depending on how much the studio had to pay for the license. If you're not watching these shows fansubbed, and you're coming in completely cold. That's a lot of money to plonk down on a series, without knowing whether it's good or if it's absolute crap. Under these circumstances, I cannot in good fiscal conscience spend $500 on a series I didn't see, to own it. That said, I'm certainly willing to rent it first, but I'm not going to buy it outright only to discover that I bought a show that's absolute crap. Even if the prices for a complete season are getting closer to the prices of, say, a complete season of a western live action TV series, like House or Law & Order, that still is not comparable to an release of a season of an anime series on DVD. We can watch on TV as it's airing, for free and legally. You don't need to pay for high-speed internet to download the episode. Hell, you don't even need to pay for Cable or Satellite. For anime on the other hand, unless somebody gets a license to stream the show online before the DVD comes out, there's no way to find out if you'll really like the show (as opposed to thinking the trailer looks good), before you buy it.
Additionally, their argument is essentially an ad-hominem attack against those people who are anime fans who aren't part of the upper-middle class background that I've noticed most anime sites tend to assume their audience is. This is practically an variant of the dog-whistle "lazy poor" phrase used by some on the Right to indicate they're making racist remarks against lower income minorities - notably African-Americans and Hispanics. I am willing to allow that the writer of the article was unaware that the phrase was a dog-whistle, but this still doesn't make the argument any less of an ad hominem against lower-income people.
The article also brings up Nippon Ichi's release of ToraDora & Persona Trinity Soul as being potential bell-weathers for how the anime industry will fare, and if they fail then we're all a bunch of leeches with entitlement problems. I have several complaints with that - aside from the ad hominem. Nippon Ichi is only selling the series through their web store, Rosenqueen, and their DVD releases are, essentially, all what I would call the "with kitch" releases on Bureau42 - coming with a nice art-box and with an art-book, maybe a soundtrack CD, that sort of thing. I have nothing against those releases - nothing at all. However, and other people with lower incomes, need an alternative. They need a stripped-down release, with just the disks in a case with some nice art, and possibly at a price point that was $10-15 bucks lower, if stripping all the extra packaging off could lower the price point by that much.
Also, as I've mentioned, you can only get these releases directly from Nippon Ichi. You can't go to Best Buy, or any other store that sells DVDs. You can't even go to Amazon to get it, which means people like me on sites on Bureau42 won't be putting it on their Weekly Digital Disk picks - and they can't put affiliate links up. This lowers the visibility of the release to the niche of the niche - Anime fans who are online, who already know about the shows. Libraries can't get it, because their distributors won't be stocking it. Netflix won't get it, for the same reason. Retailers who sell at conventions won't sell it, because their wholesalers won't be stocking it, because Nippon Ichi's only selling it through their web site. Unless Nippon Ichi busts out a spectacular advertising blitz through Project Wonderful and Google Ads, this release would be in imminent danger of slipping under the radar. The only reason it isn't slipping under the radar now, is that the bubble burst, an any announcement of a new company announcing a license is a big deal.
Thus, Nippon Ichi's releases of ToraDora and Persona: Trinity Soul are in positions where they likely won't do well, even before we even consider accounting for any damage downloading could cause. It would be immensely foolish to judge the health of the anime industry by the success or failure of these releases.
Now, I'm not defending torrenting anime series that have already been licensed. That's taking money out of someone's pocket, and that's not cool.
In conclusion, Japanator's take on Bang Zoom's complaints is inaccurate. They should not be treated with any credibility.
| |
The following is a rant. This isn't meant to be a trouble ticket report.  I have posted to the thread I started earlier in the Bug Report forum on this issue with the new information to try and clear this up. However, I just need to get this out of my system.

Is this or is it not the "Add New Manga Series" form?
Is this or is it not the "Add New Manga Series" form?

So, in the past two weeks I've tried three times to add the manga series Outlanders (part of the Outlanders Franchise) to the site. For the past two weeks, every time I've tried to submit the series, I've had my submission rejected. Each, of the three times, I used a form like the one you see at the start of this post. The first time, I used some material I'd written at Bureau42, material I owned - and was accused of plagiarism, and warned that if I did it again, I'd be banned from the site. So, after refraining from submitting any material to the site until I'd confirmed multiple times that if I wrote the material myself and could prove it (and then making sure that my profile information showed that I was the author of the material at Bureau42), I submitted the material again. I got a message saying that I needed to add a New Manga Series first - even though that the form I'd used was the "Add New Manga Series" form. So, I thought that maybe the form was bugged, and started a thread about the Bug in the "Bug reports forum" with information on what web browser I was using, what operating system I was using, and then waited two weeks. I figured by then, if this was a simple issue, it would be fixed. Over that time, I'd learned that other people didn't have any problems submitting  manga to the site. So, I figured that it must have been a short term thing, and it was fixed.
Thus, yesterday, after posting about how much I enjoyed the art from Outlanders in the "Favorite Manga Art" thread, I decided to add Outlanders again. I first added the Outlanders franchise without any problems. I then added the Outlanders film to the franchise without any problem. Finally, I went for the final step - to add the Manga series "Outlanders" to the site. I even re-wrote my original summary of the series, just to make sure that I wouldn't have to contend with allegations of plagiarism again. I also took  a screen shot of the form I got, just in case my submission was rejected again. After waiting about two hour for my submission to go through, I got my response - my submission was rejected, because I didn't use the right form.
After my vision cleared, and I saw the pool of my own blood staining the surface of my desk, from where I'd repeatedly slammed my head in frustration[1], I started to realize that all this frustration isn't worth it. I love Anime Vice. It has the potential to be superior in every way to Anime News Network's encyclopedia, if enough people add enough information to it. I love Outlanders, and a lot of other older manga series from the late 80s and early 90s that are under appreciated, and younger fans would like, if they gave them a chance, and were able to find a copy. However, it's just not worth the frustration of having to keep contending with this damnable broken form that no one is willing or able to do anything about. Hell, no moderators or staff members have responded to the bug thread I started on this issue. I want the site to succeed, but it feels like the site is becoming an obstacle to my efforts to make it better.
But, then again, the only major problem I've run into is that damn form.
[1] This is poetic license - I wasn't so frustrated by this that I wanted to slam my head against my desk to the point that I started bleeding, but it did frustrate me.
| |
 I'll be frank. I haven't bought as many anime DVDs as I feel like I should. However, most of the anime I've watched has been anime I've rented from Netflix or checked out from the library. This is more by necessity than anything else - I'm low on cash right now (having spent $650 on a suit, dress shoes, a tie & other accouterments[1]), and I cannot justify a big anime purchase right now - I wish I could (the Pani Poni Dash DVDs that were on sale at RightStuf were really calling out to me), but I just don't have the money right now. I'd already made my big "for me" purchase of the month, and that was getting Planet Earth when Amazon had it on sale for $30.
I can't be alone in this. With the economy still in a bad way in many places, there are a lot of people who just don't have the money to spend our expensive hobby. Indeed, it is expensive - most DVD releases of newer series are more expensive than compilation re-releases, because the studio already made their money back. Additionally, if you didn't download the fansubs of a series before it was licensed (or watch it on Crunchyroll or Funimation's web page), then you are going in cold. In what other part of geek culture do you ask people to lay down $50-$100 for something they could hate, sight unseen, in advance, aside from anime and maybe video games?
While I understand and recognize the concerns of Bang Zoom Entertainment that they need us, as fans, to buy DVDs (with dubs on them) for them to make money to keep them in business, I feel the need to state that no matter how much we wish it was so, the recession isn't over yet. A lot of people, including anime fans, are still trying to scrape buy, and can't afford to buy the latest hit series right now - so they have to resort to Hulu, or Netflix, or Crunchyroll [2] to watch the latest stuff legally or even (depending on their financial situation) watch fansubs of unlicenced series to keep in the game and (hopefully) when they get on their feet some of those shows will be licenced, and they can pick them up then. I've been in that situation so I know.
All, I ask, Mr. Sherman, if you are reading this, not everyone who isn't buying is a pirate. Not everyone who isn't buying is a person who will never buy. Some of us - quite possibly most of us - would happily buy anime, and lots of it, given unlimited financial resources. We don't have those resources right now, because we've either lost our jobs, or been forced to take lower paying jobs because unemployment benefits are running out. I understand that your financial situation is dire. So is ours. We'll help you get back on your feet, just as soon as we get back on ours.
         Alexander Case
         Staff Writer:

[1] I'm getting an Job Interview suit that will also hopefully work for something I can wear to a wedding when I'm just a guest - because one of my best friends is getting married next week.

 [2] While broadband Internet is also expensive, considering the modern economy, it is also a necessity if you're looking for work, along with cell phone service.
| |
Mother Goose and Grimm is one of those standard, weekly comics which wavering back and forth between funny and insanely stupid. When they do single panel jokes in the Sunday papers, they can be funny. Their weekday and Saturday strips err on the side of incredibly dumb. Today's is no exception.
Why am I bringing this up on an anime site? Well, today ( 4/23/2010) the artist tried to do a pun about Anime, and it fails, horribly. I'll be frank. I actually offended by how terrible the strip was. How bad did it fail? Well, it fails on three levels.
First, to my knowledge nobody has ever, [Chris Jericho]eeeeeevvvvvvvvvveeeeerrr[/Y2J] pronounced Anime in any way similar "enemy". In theory it's entirely possible to mis-read it as sounding like "any-me" but only if you'd never ever heard anyone say the word ever (or seen the word spelled phonetically) ever - and even then the joke only works if you're telling it so someone else whose never heard the word pronounced correctly ever.
Second, when you're making a strip after a State Representative from New Hampshire set the internet ablaze after saying that Anime proves that Japan should have been nuked more, doing a joke about Anime in combination with a joke about Al Qaeda is just in poor taste. Not to mention that the people who would likely get that pun and find it funny could likely agree with Rep. Levasseur's remarks.

Third, and finally, even if he's not picking on anime (and to be honest I'm not certain the "joke" was directly targeted at anime), I have yet to read a comic strip that made a joke about Al Qaeda that worked. Ever. Robin Williams made jokes about Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden in his stand-up routines, and they worked. I'll even admit to chuckling when Adam Sandler made a few jokes about Osama Bin Laden when he did his Operaman bit during the Concert for New York City. However, every editorial cartoon and every comic strip I've read since even before 9/11 that made jokes about Bin Laden and Al Qaeda fell terribly flat - enough that I feel that it's reasonable to say that you just can't make jokes about Al Qaeda and Islamic Extremism in a newspaper comic strip and have it work. They'll fail every single time.
I'm not going to call for people to flood the inbox of Mother Goose & Grimm's writer and artist, Mike Peters, with hate mail. It doesn't merit that. However, I would say that it merits some constructive feedback saying that the joke depended on a terrible mispronunciation that most people won't make, and some additional feedback about the lack of comic strips about Al Qaeda that are funny. I'd also recommend corresponding to your local newspaper (if your local paper carries Mother Goose & Grim) saying that the strip was in poor taste.
However, if it turns out, either in Peters' responses to correspondence about this strip, or future strips have more negative takes on anime, I'd recommend kicking things up a notch.
| |
I'm not one to talk crap about someone else on a different site, but the matter at hand is a big deal, and I feel it bears mentioning.
I was watching the first video episode of the AnimeTV podcast through Revision 3. The episode was okay, but I found one glaring omission from their review of Ghost in the Shell 2.0, which I want to point out, because the issue hasn't come up much outside of Anime News Network and Bureau42 - the special features on the box for Ghost in the Shell 2.0 (both the Blu-Ray and the DVD release) and on the disk itself differ radically.  To be specific, the package advertises that the disc has, basically, the special features from the Japanese release, including a commentary by Mamoru Oshii. That commentary is a big deal to me. I enjoyed Oshii's commentary on the Patlabor OVAs, and on Ghost in the Shell 2 - which made this feature a killer app, so to speak.
Then I heard on the ANN cast and had it confirmed elsewhere, that the DVDs and Blu-Rays only have as their special features an upscaled version of the original cut of the movie, and then the special features on the previous Ghost in the Shell DVD release from manga video. While that includes an fairly comprehensive documentary on the making of the anime, it's very dated. How dated is it? It's so dated that they use the word "Japanimation". That word hasn't been used seriously amongst anime fandom for 15 years. Okay, maybe 12 years, but the point still stands.
So, despite my calling for US Manga Corps' demise at Bureau42 and on the Otaku Generation podcast prior to their actual death, I don't wish ill to any anime companies. When US Manga Corps died, while I was hopeful that some of the important licences could be plucked from the debris and revived (like Record of Lodoss War, Patlabor, and Grave of the Fireflies - 1 out of 3 ain't bad). However, my initial intent was that someone at CPM would notice that fans wanted these series back in circulation, and they'd take steps to get them back in circulation. In that light, I've got this to say - and it's not just meant for Manga Entertainment, it's also meant for the US and Japanese anime industries as well (if they're listening):
First, Manga Entertainment erred horribly by claiming, on the packaging, that their Blu-Ray and DVD releases contained features that they didn't. The packaging of these disks are de facto advertising. I do recognize that various Japanese anime studios have been putting pressure on US anime publishers to make US anime Blu-Ray releases inferior to the Japanese anime releases to stop Japanese viewers from importing cheaper anime Blu-Ray releases from the US. However, the master for the US Blu-Ray release would have been finalized well before the packaging would have been printed - unless they were doing things bass-ackward. They should have had the time to make the necessary corrections to the feature packaging on the DVD & Blu-Ray covers to reflect the DVDs actual content. By having the packaging be wrong, they are opening themselves up to allegations of false advertising, which - while it's a civil violation instead of a criminal violation, could lead to having to pay punitive damages, particularly if they end up on the receiving end of a class-action lawsuit. Now while the packaging may have required approval by the Japanese company they licensed the series from, the conditions of the license, or studio approval shouldn't require them to violate the law. This leads me to my second point.
I get that anime DVDs and Blu-Rays are less expensive in the US than they are in Japan. I understand that due to the region codes for Blu-Ray disks, even if the disks are region locked, Japan and the US are in the same region. This still gives Japanese rights-holders no excuse for kneecapping US Blu-Ray releases. Yes, I understand they need to make a profit. Yes, I understand that they hold the rights, and when they say "Jump", Rightstuf/Noizomi, Media Blasters, Viz, and Section 23 have to say "How High?" This doesn't mean they're in the right. They're dicking over US anime fans, when the Anime industry in Japan is starting to run into trouble, and could very well end up needing the influx of funds from US licences. My best guess, is that the people who are responsible for these decisions in these companies are still thinking like they're in the Bubble Economy, and that they can buy and sell us. These people are probably not creators, producers, animators, writers, or anyone involved in the creative end. They're especially not any of the people who come from Japan and go to the conventions, and get to meet fans like you and me. They're probably the Japanese equivalent of the out-of-touch person in Marketing, who doesn't necessarily understand the product, and particularly the US anime market. While he (and considering Japanese society - while women have made inroads in the workplace, the person is very likely to be a male) may be qualified in Marketing, or Sales, or whatever department he's in, he doesn't know that denying US companies like Manga Entertainment the features from the special features form the Japanese release of Ghost in the Shell 2.0 is stupid. Especially if there's the possibility that the Blu-Ray & DVD can make more sales in the US & Canada than it would in Japan with the same bonus features.
However, I'm not sure how to fix this. While I don't believe that boycotts are evil, they're hard to sustain unless the target of your boycott is one which is either extremely reprehensible, easy to remove from daily life, or both. For example, since the formation of Nation On Marriage, I've successfully sustained a boycott against Orson Scott Card and his works - including works he was peripherally involved with - such as Shadow Complex and the Marvel comics about Ender. The reason for my anger is Card's extremely reprehensible actions, and as I'm removing books by a single author, it's a situation that's easy to remove from my daily live. Even better, the damage is focused on author - and maybe his publishers.
With anime, on the other hand, voting with your dollars is more difficult, because it becomes difficult to make sure that the right person gets the message. If you just don't buy the Blu-Ray disks, you're hurting the publisher who put out the English language Blu-Rays, and that just leads to less anime Blu-Rays. Further, I suspect that writing letters to the rights holders in Japan doesn't necessarily help either - most anime are, after all, made primarily for a Japanese audience, and are later licensed if they're good or build up popularity with a US audience. So, complaints directly  to them could very easily fall on deaf ears. Further, due to the secrecy within the US anime industry, particularly considering dealings with Japan, we'll likely never find out who is ultimately responsible for the decision, so we won't know who to express our complaints to. 
 How will we fix this? I don't know. Because of the secrecy imposed by Japanese rightsholders, increased transparency is out of the question. Because of that lack of transparency, we'll never have enough information to tell if a boycott would have calamitous collateral damage, and because we in the west are not the target audience for most anime, appealing to the creators of the show will not necessarily be of assistance to us.
So, if anyone has any ideas on how to fix this, by all means, let me know in the comments.
Mandatory Network

Submissions can take several hours to be approved.

Save ChangesCancel