This was originally a post in response to this article
, but I decided I worked hard enough on it to make it a blog post. I also figured that no one would want to read a response that was this long.
The anime industry is just suffering the same thing the video game, music, and movie industries have been for at least as long. I know the music industry tried going the path of litigation and they've all had their doom-sayers, but what keeps them steady is their (if not a bit slower than I'd like to see) adaptation of new media. Granted, these industries are examples of much sturdier ones than anime really is, especially now, and the anime industry destroyed itself from the inside out only to meet the pirates in the middle, but that doesn't mean that we're going to see anime go the way of Vaudeville.
Let's state some facts for the record, shall we? First, the anime industry in Japan has slowed down pretty bad and that's been mirrored pretty much in the states and other countries that may have had their fingers in that particular pie. The few shows really doing well in Japan have had common trends (see Haruhi and K-on), and that has resulted in a bit of an apparent trend of new properties being put out. The truth is, in fact, that due to the instability of the market and everyones struggle to make money off of their new shows, creative risk taking has taken a big dip (see face plant) as of late. Honestly, you can complain about this, but it's just a conservative business practice. Another contributor of the creative stagnation stems from Japan's infamously low birthrate. There is a huge gap in the number of people of the younger generation as opposed to the number of people in the older generation to which many of the people who worked on anime throughout the 80s and 90s belong. Because of this, there's probably a high demand for young skilled workers to fill position that will pay much better than a job in the anime industry, and in this economy, that's a fairly big detail.
Second, the anime industry in the states had some poor business models throughout the entirety of the boom that they had fooled themselves into believing would allow them to ride out their years in comfort. In reality, it caused a big gap between the fans and the distributors. Be it the rampant licensing of oft obscure and frankly stupid titles, the releasing of about an hour and a half worth of content for $30 MSRP, or going above and beyond the call of duty when it came to editing for TV, the U.S. anime industry shot itself in the foot a great many times and still came out against piracy as the leading cause of their downfall. Don't get me wrong, piracy is bad and getting worse, but other industries have existed along side it and even adapted the methods as effective marketing techniques, such as streaming, digital distribution, and using bit torrent to distribute certain things to abate the stress on their own servers (for updates typically). I know anime is catching on to some of this now, but it took a bit longer than it should have. It could have happened, oh I don't know, about 4 years ago as broadband was becoming a thing.
You get the idea
Finally, creative markets like anime tend to go through financial and creative expansions and contractions. Now, I know this sounds like economics 101, but hear me out. Both the music and video game industries saw points during their existence that were rather bleak (only one of the resulted in a million copies of a failed product being buried in the Arizona Desert). Both recovered, obviously. As far as creative contractions go, when something becomes a phenomenal success, it's common practice to try and emulate that success, even if it wasn't yours. Look at what happened to video games: in the late 90s and early 2000s, it was commonly accepted that WW II games were a dime a dozen, but companies kept on making them. Then the industry expanded a bit, and found that a sandbox game by the name of GTA 3 was very successful, then everyone was on the sandbox train (sounds fun, right?) with a handful of WW II games coming out afterwards, only a few of which were any good (Medal of Honor died a slow, painful death for a while there). Now it's all modern, cold war-esque or middle eastern games. This is, of course, following the particular part of the market for action shooters. Moe is, due to the broadness of it's definition, something that will never really leave anime, but hopefully will cease to be it's focus in due time.
You know, less like this.
I'll admit that even though I said "facts," that some (see "a lot") of this is speculation. I will also say that the person who is the topic of this article, Mr. Sherman, seems to not be in a position that he would very readily benefit from increased DVD sales. Let me explain, if anime fans start buying R1 DVDs, the licensors will be willing and able to license more things, that's how it works as we all know. Now, in order for them to want to dub the properties they license, the DVDs the fans buy would have to be dubs as well. Granted that Bang Zoom has done some admirable dubbing in the past, the dubbing studios don't necessarily get first dibs on the prestige of a good DVD sale. a lot of Things would have to fall into place for increased anime sales of any kind to directly benefit Bang Zoom, so I guess what I'm saying is not to hold your breath for the next Conan segment about dubbing Ghost in the Shell for more reasons than that contract he signed.
In short, Bang Zoom - R.I.P