US Anime Industry News

US Anime Industry is a anime/manga concept
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This is what I have to say Bandai!
This is what I have to say Bandai!

Despite the title this has nothing to do with the content or quality of anime. Actually I'll say one thing that pisses me off about some anime: some, mostly harems, have the most general ending in the world where everyone is happy but no individual relationship advances or nothing is really explained as to why one thing is this way and why one is another. Now, on to my main point.. 
 
What pisses me off is the anime business (industry). I'll use Code Geass as my example as it pisses me off most of all. Code Geass ran on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim from April 2008 to June 2009. It's been a year since then and there are still only volume sets and Special Editions available to buy. There has yet to still be a boxset of even the first season! How damn long do we have to wait for something as simple as that? We should not have to wait over a year after all the volumes are out to be able to buy our favorite anime in a boxset.

The second thing that pisses me off is the price of anime. Now, I did just buy the Viridian Collection of Speed Grapher brand new on eBay for $17.99 but I'm pointing to the retail prices set by the distributors and retailers. Anime boxsets are just as expensive (or more) as regular tv show boxsets. Blu-Rays are pretty high priced as well but since FUNimation is the only company producing them it's to be expected. Let alone some anime have become almost impossible to come across (Girls Bravo, Tenchi Muyo, FLCL, and many others). I did find the Girls Bravo boxset on eBay for way under retail and was elated. FLCL is priced very high as well if you can find it. Some of this makes me think there would be money to be made if companies remastered old titles and re-released them. 
 
Something that used to piss me off but now just annoys me is the time it takes to dub an anime. Ever since I visited FUNimation's headquarters in Flower Mound, TX I have a new understanding for all that needs to be done (and yes, there is a lot). But nevertheless I would like for the dubbing process to be cut down to one year (that being from acquiring the license to releasing on DVD/Blu-Ray). This may very well be impossible with how many titles companies pick up today but it would be very pleasing for fans to know that waiting is no longer a grueling must.

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Long ago, when college was easy and time could still be called "free", a friend and I started writing our first anime. We got the first 5 minutes then ended up drinking too much and brainstorming about future episodes without writing any of it down (much to my regret). We are the fools. It's been nigh on 2 years since then and the idea hasn't been touched since. I tend to blame the ill progress on school, the lack of a proper atmosphere, and my general laziness. I have big plans for the anime when I have it entirely written and ready to go. It will be my masterpiece and calling card (I find myself dreaming of being like that kid from The Girl Next Door who directed the Sex Ed. video). 
 
I am not in dispair, however. My time of not working on one has not gone to waste doing nothing and resting on my laurels. No, I have started learning Japanese and massing a boxset collection and watching one new and old anime after another. In addition, I have come up with another 15 ideas that are in the preliminary stage of getting characters, with backgrounds, and a general plot. Thankfully I'm not far from graduation so I can go out into the real world (hopefully the slightly unrealistic one of anime) and have time to myself to pick up writing where I left off. With the help of the Anime Vice staff I hope to start doing some reviews to better my writing skills in terms of anime and manga.
 
In the end I'm not a cocky guy or saying that I'm the only one who will fulfill his dreams or that I am or will be the best amatuer anime writer: but I am saying that I intend to do my best and will do my damnedest to see my anime to fruition and gladly take anyone along for the ride. Anime and business are my pride and what I know best.

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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
 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.
 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  
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I'm a second year graduate student in English and Medieval and Renaissance Studies. One of my hobbies is of course anime and Japanese fan culture. Of course, my favorite thing to do is combine my two loves--academia (though my love for this is currently waning) and anime. I've currently gotten myself embroiled into a gloriously complicated literary research paper on Revolutionary Girl Utena. My focus is gender construction and play within the anime series and film. It's much more complicated than "Utena is a girl who wants to become a prince and fights with a sword." As with any academic paper, I need sources to back me up or help me elaborate and prove my point. I had to go on a massive search of the internet and library catalog and stacks to find my resources. I'm sharing some of my sources so that others interested in writing on anime can find starting points and for otaku interested in learning more about the history and exploring deeper the themes seen in anime and manga. I'm going to list the sources and write a brief summary for each which include my opinion about their usefulness. Note each of these sources usually has an introduction or preface explaining why they chose to write on anime/manga and the importance of doing so--very beneficial if you need help in justifying writing about anime for a class. These are just some of the books I found. Search terms are tricky for finding books; some successful combinations I used were: anime and gender; japan, gender, & anime; japan, manga, anime; shojo/shoujo, manga, gender; japanese animation; japan & comics. Japan and comics tend to generate the most results. 

 
From Akira to Howl's Moving Castle 2nd Ed. - Susan Napier - 2003 
 
This book has been my best friend since the day I chose Utena as my topic! Napier is more than a fan, she's a professor of Japanese literature and culture at the University of Texas. She's an excellent writer and very plugged into the academic world. She's very accessible to readers and does a thorough job of exploring a variety of themes in a large range of animes. I HIGHLY recommend this as a starting place, especially since she includes references and a bibliography which you can later raid for use in your own essay. 
 
Anime Explosion! The What! Why? & Wow! of Japanese Animation - Patrick Drazen - 2003
 
I don't like this book much; it reads more like a piece of fanwork that just looks at the surface themes of anime. The writing is easy to read, but lacks the sophistication and quality of Napier. Drazen makes large, sweeping cultural statements without all the necessary references or academic credit to back them up. He does have footnotes with sources which you can use as a springboard. Drazen brings up good ideas, but doesn't really go anywhere with them. He spends more time summarizing animes than analyzing them. This book could be helpful if you're looking for a topic to write about. 
 
Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams Japanese Science Fiction from Origins to Anime - 2007
 
This is a collection of various essays written on anime by different writers. The focus is obviously technology and the science fiction genre in anime. Some of the essays connect the anxieties about technology viewed in anime into larger social concerns. This a very easy to read yet professional text. 
 
Mechademia - 2006 - Present
 
This is a really cool academic journal devoted to anime, manga, and Japanese pop/fan culture. I have an entire blog post devoted to discussion of this. There are currently four volumes. The quality of the essays is a mixed bag. However, all the essays do succeed in probing deeply into anime, manga, and Japanese pop culture. 
 
Dreamland Japan Writings on Modern Manga - Frederik L. Schodt - 1996
 
I haven't had a chance to read/skim this yet, but the topics appear insightful. There's a large chapter entirely devoted to Osamu Tezuka. Schodt is an interpreter, translator and writer who is fluent in Japanese. He's written a lot on anime and manga. 
 
Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics - Frederik L. Schodt - 1983
 
This book is pretty old, but looks to be full of merit. The a forward is written by Osamu Tezuka. :) 
 
Comics and Idelogy - 2001
 
Collection of essays mainly focused on comic books, but has a section devoted to manga and the ideology of gender. 
 
Animation in Asia and the Pacific - Edited by John A. Lent - 2001
 
A look at animes across Asian countries and their development and popularity in other countries like the U.S., UK, and France. There's even a chapter on Vietnamese animation--reminds me of the post where Gia mentioned something about Vietnamese comics vs. Japanese manga a while back. 
 
Japanese Visual Culture - Edited by Mark MacWilliams - 2008
 
Another large collection of essays on manga and anime with interesting topics.
 
Manga Sixty Years of Japanese Comics - Pal Gravett - 2004
 
What initially caught my eye was the large scale color images in the book. I would say 85-90% of the information is relayed through visual art. I believe this to be more a history book chronicling the manga tradtion and the trends within it. Very nice! The pictures alone make it worth checking out!
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Its been a while since I wrote here. Im working on the website and all the rest.  
  
Will this be the last Virtuous Queen? Maybe if i don't get the website up soon.  
 
The reason why I stated this is if there is going to more VQ its going to be on my webpage and not here. There is too many voices - some of which are not interested in the history of the business, crowding out things. Recent news about other such issues are cramping my style and what I wanted to do here. 
 
I have to move on. Im not dropping the account or anything. I just cant be writing for folks that may never understand what anime (or doga if you want to get technical) and manga means. 
 
But, in this last episode of VQueen - I talk about the only hope the mainstream Japanese industry has left.  
 
Its Masked Rider - and its Rivals. 
 
And its the  and the Gekgia of the 1970's.  
 
Its about learning about the past - but moving forward to a new future. 
 
The "Real" Japan is the one of ghosts, and monsters 
 
Transgendered Demons, and Tecehnotronic Nightmares... 
 
Of Hell Boys and Cybernetic Men. 
 
Aliens with dark membranes right out of the best American horror had to offer in the 1970 -1980's slashers. 
 
Females with fists and boobs to match... (but it was implied, never really shown for the latter) 
 
And at the end the future was dark - unhappy - and one wonders where did it go wrong. 
 
Thats the Japanese industry I knew - the twisted fucked up minds that told the truth of the twisted fucked up heads of government and socialistic industry. That the world continued to not learn. Man is a monster and he will create the demons that will send him to his doom. 
 
He will fuck up the world because he has been told he's been fucked over. There comes the Byronic heroes of Masked Rider of the Showa era. Of Fist of the North Star - The craziness - the guts, the explosions. the sex and the restlessness. Hardcore without being stupid or insulting the audience. 
 
But now - its weeded out of us. Its got to look pretty for those too ugly. Pretty Kids with problems. Scared to go deep into the real problems that face Japan, nor the world (as the Japanese Intellectuals have stated time and again they want to bring beauty back into the world). Censorship for all the wrong reasons - and even that word has lost its bite and all reason to exist in a world that has the truth of mankind's existence - how he first saw God, and how he worshiped - to how he moved all over and conducted life - been Censored on the fear that its too...far fetched - sexualized etc. 
 
But there is the thing with Masked Rider, despite being a kid series - does better than many others until very recently.  
 
A man becoming more than himself. Not a Alien from another world - or a man who lost his parents - or a teenager who got bit by a spider. A man becoming more than himself because he was wounded just trying to do the right thing. He enters the world of perfidy - of monstrous bugs, in order to save a humanity that can never save itself by its own. He becomes aspects of the monster bug to become better than the demons. 
 
Its that aspect - that archetype that had made some of the best anime/manga - video game and J-TV series in recent memory. From Xenogears/Chrono Cross. To the Metal Gear Series. Neon Genesis Evanglion, Akira - Cowboy Bebop, etc to Garo. The fact that man somewhere deep from the psychological and perhaps Alien proclivities - has perfection in him. That he maybe able to get up and fight all the demonic by integrating that demonic aspect of himself. 
 
Its is that truth, that is censored - that Modern Japan has forgotten and America refuses with very small exceptions to acknowledge. It was never about how many titties were shown on a Super Bowl Performance.  It was never was about the Right's challenges to Obama - its not even about going to jail about the wrong comic book. 
 
Its about Governments and Societies inability to look into the dark side of itself. Not the Jerry Springer bullshit. Thats stupidity. Its all about becoming one people in a forever spring like world. Which cannot exist - but everyone left and right has tried to put mankind in and failed every single time. 
  
Thats why Anime is censored sometimes for no good reason, and thats why Rin and her adventures will never come to the states - and that is why we will never solve any of these problems we face as a nation. We continue to Censor when there is no need, and refuse to wait when we need to wait.  
 
Im thinking that - I need to get into this business. I can change the business overnight if I wish. Thats right folks. Overnight. The new Tyler Perry. Seriously? Yep. And what you gonna do about it? Cry when Funi is destroyed in five years? HAHAHA. Really? 
 
But thats a wish that will have to wait for a while. But not too long. 
 
But there is a reason why I want to be Masked Rider every Halloween. And why I look at the toys, the merch and the series. Its the same reason I miss the anime business the way it was in the late 90's early 2000's and the reason I only read Berserk and anything done by Tezuka. 
 
Because its all about being human, in a zombified world. 
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ANIME EXPO® 2009 ANNOUNCES SPJA INDUSTRY CONFERENCE PANELS

Nation¹s Largest Anime and Manga Convention Brings Together Industry Experts
and Professionals for Key Note Engagements and Panels

Anaheim, California (June 15, 2009) ‹ The industry comes together as Anime
Expo® 2009 and the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation announce
the key note speakers and panel topics for the 2009 SPJA Industry Conference
held during the nation¹s largest anime and manga convention, Anime Expo®
2009, July 2-5, 2009 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. More information
can be found on the website www.anime-expo.org.

This year¹s key note speakers include Austin Osueke-CEO/Publisher. eigoMANGA
(July 2, 2009; LP3; 11:00am), Shawne Kleckner-President/CEO, Right Stuf,
Inc. (July 3, 2009; LP3; 11:00 am) and Kun Gao-CEO, Crunchyroll (July 4,
2009; LP3; 11:00 am). Key points regarding the state of the digital, anime
and manga industries will be addressed during these key note engagements.

Industry Conference panel include the following topics:

· Making Mangas and Animes into Hollywood Features (July 2, 2009; LP3;
11:30 am)-Top panelists involved in many of the biggest manga and
anime-to-live-action Hollywood feature deals, experts in this field will
talk about the advantages and pitfalls of this challenging task of
maintaining the manga creator¹s vision while making a successful movie or TV
project that translates into those mediums.
· Can Manga Be Created in the USA and Become Commercially Successful?
(July 3, 2009; LP3; 11:30 am)-Manga and Anime are such an exploding art form
that they have influenced new generations of Americans to the degree that
many create their own mangas. Can America start a future manga-movement?
Experts in this field hold forth on this question with surprising
conclusions. Examples of work being created in the USA will be presented
including those by inspired university students.
· Digital Distribution the Wave of the Future (July 4, 2009; LP3; 11:30
am)-Anime can now be easily found legally online, what does the future hold
for this new medium of entertainment delivery? Security? Will this be an
answer to solving the industry¹s issue with online piracy? Experts leading
the way will discuss the evolution of anime in the digital world, the
challenges they face and how they intend to move towards the future.

In attendance as panelists will include industry experts from the anime and
manga industries, as well as high profile Hollywood professionals including
Northrop Davis (Professor/Producer/ Screenwriter), Jason Hoffs (VIZ
Productions), Ken Holinsky (MX Media, LLC), Robert Le (Artist), Joshua Long
(Producer), Nobuo Masuda (Bandai Entertainment), Robert Napton (Bandai
Entertainment), Luis Reyes (Nexon America), Justin Sevakis (Anime News
Network) and more.

Anime Expo® 2009 Official Guests of Honor include Yun Kouga, Hiroyuki
Imaishi, Daisuke Ishiwatari, Yosuke Kuroda, Toshimichi Mori, Toshiyuki
Morikawa, Morning Musume, Yasuhiro Nightow, Atsushi Nishigori, Satoshi
Nishimura, Takashi Okazaki and Kari Wahlgren.

Attendees, Press and Industry Members are also encouraged to view the video
coverage site of the 2008 convention at www.axbackstage.org.

Red & Black Sponsors include: FUNimation, Silver Sponsors include: Anime
News Network and Digital Manga Press, Patron Sponsors include: COPIC,
Central Park Media and The Right Stuf, Media Sponsors include: ImaginAsian
TV, Animation Magazine, Anime Insider Magazine, Anime News Network and UTB
Hollywood.


About Anime Expo®
Located in Los Angeles, California - Anime Expo®, the nation¹s largest
anime/manga convention, serves to foster trade, commerce and the interests
of the general public and animation/ comics industry. This event serves as a
key meeting place for the general public to express their interest and
explore various aspects of anime/manga, as well as for members of the
industry to conduct business. AX 2009 will be held July 2 ­ July 5, 2009 at
the Los Angeles Convention Center in Southern California. More information
can be found at its website www.anime-expo.org.

About Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation
The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) is a non-profit
organization with a mission to popularize and educate the American public
about anime and manga, as well as provide a forum to facilitate
communication between professionals and fans. This organization is more
popularly known by its entertainment property ­ Anime Expo®. More
information can be found at its website www.spja.org.

The statements made in this press release that are not historical facts are
"forward-looking statements." These forward-looking statements are based on
current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and
uncertainties. The Company cautions readers of this press release that a
number of important factors could cause Anime Expo®/SPJA¹s actual future
results to differ materially from those expressed in any such
forward-looking statements. Such factors include, without limitation,
product delays, industry competition, rapid changes in technology and
industry standards, protection of proprietary rights, maintenance of
relationships with key personnel, vendors and third-party developers,
international economic and political conditions. The Company may change its
intention, belief or expectation, at any time and without notice, based upon
any changes in such factors, in the Company's assumptions or otherwise. The
Company undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to any
forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date
hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.


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ok what grinds my gears is the fact that when i work my ass to go see an anime viewing and it dosen't get me angry but its something tha concerns me that they always switch it to japanese dub. Whats up with that? its almost like they came to learn the language as well as watch the action i mean seriously it seems to show little appreciation for that fact that we have english dub anime which isn't bad ya know but they totally neglect it which is just bogiss and one more thing to the opnion that english dub sucks due to the voice actors that are not your liking well i just say too bad cuz that opnion which is probably used to much is why they frickin use the japanese dub instead the use of the language i was trained to use for my whole life now its like i have to learn japanese and i'll admit they have subtitles but thats not good enough since japanese can said very fast and some won't be able to read it quick enough and you'll be sayin "damn what did he just say?" and you'll be sayin that over and over tryin to read those subtitles some of but not all of you but fine if you like listening to the japanese dub thats fine but it just feels kinda unfair since im like one of the only ones to like listening to the english dub when they only feature the jap dub at the viewings but im not revolting against it im just gonna to each his own but im a lover of the english dub and they should use it as much as the jap dub and thats what grinds my gears thank you for reading.

warm regards Desisashi

p.s. whoever thinks that the bounts are lame bad guys are going down im serious i will frickin kill you. i'll tear your arm off stick it up your ass and call you a guysicle.

ok maybe that was the wrong way to go but i really think bounts rule 
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