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Toei Animation Thinks Mobiles Could Save Anime

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the save-the-pixels dept.

Anime 69

andylim writes to share that according to a recent interview, Toei Animation, producers of Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball z, think that mobile phones and tablets could help save the anime industry, which is being heavily damaged by piracy. Unfortunately the difficulty is getting all of the players to move in the same direction. "We think it's an incredibly exciting opportunity. Manufacturers and networks are going to need more than touchscreens and Twitter to shift phones in the future — content such as Toei's will hopefully add that extra value. Unfortunately, Ebato and Song haven't been inundated with requests for information. 'There's no convergence... the tech people and the content people aren't talking,' adds Song. In fact Song's last statement to us is much more than an anecdotal truth, it's the heart of the matter. It's not enough that Apple and Amazon are talking to content creators, everyone should be doing it. Of course, a good start would be to not hide people like Ebato and Song in distant exhibition halls, where only we can find them."

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destroyed by piracy? How? (5, Insightful)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 4 years ago | (#31198902)

So, first "piracy" creates the international anime market, then "piracy" continues. The Anime fad rises to a peak, then fades. "Piracy" continues throughout the whole process. Then "piracy" is blamed for the downturn. The sad truth is: it's technically true. If it weren't for "piracy", there indeed would not have been a decrease in sales at this point, there would simply be nothing to decrease.

Re:destroyed by piracy? How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31199250)

Piracy is the new excuse for being lazy. It used to be that marketers would do everything in their power to make a product available because they knew that in doing so they would make more money. Of course that also meant finding markets that worked and properly pricing products so that those markets stayed healthy.

Fast forward to today when marketers basically decide everything in a conference room, completely alienated from reality, then complain when their projections don't pan out in reality. If people are more willing to go through the hassle of pirating than pay the price they arbitrarily put on a product they throw up their hands and turn to the lawyers. Or increasingly draconian efforts to hold back the sea. Or both. Al the while bemoaning their lot for having the active and hungry fan base, or whining about the restriction that they have self imposed that cause them to require such high costs of distribution.

I know why Naruto is over here making money in the US. It's my fault. Well, me and bittorrent and a whole mess of DVD-Rs.

To the marketers: I did your job, you're welcome.

Re:destroyed by piracy? How? (1)

Conchobair (1648793) | more than 4 years ago | (#31199254)

That's what I wondered. I Googled around some and it seems that in America there is a lot of pirated anime and the Japanese companies are mad about it and trying to put pressure on the US to crack down. From what I read from commenters on some of the sites, it’s not that they don't want to buy the DVDs, it’s that they aren't imported or sold in the US to begin with or there is some kind of delay in releases between the US and Japan. So, in order to get their favorite series latest season, the otaku have to pirate it or do without.

Re:destroyed by piracy? How? (1)

Starayo (989319) | more than 4 years ago | (#31199536)

And even when they get here (for subtitled anime), the fansubs are generally better because they're not americanised. Sloppily. Often losing much or all of the original meaning in the process.

And if streaming over the net is your thing, the pirated ones don't have ads. I'm watching an official stream for an anime right now - I wouldn't mind a 30 second ad at the start but they interrupt the show every 5 minutes and the quality is barely better than the pirated streams!

Re:destroyed by piracy? How? (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31203274)

And finally, DVD copies simply translate spoken text and pop them up as digital subtitles. For some text and sign heavy anime, that's not good enough. I have a fansub version of Azumanga Daiho where not only do they translate every sign, but they also pop up some footnoots explaining obscure cultural references, for those interested. Yes, that level of detail isn't for everyone, but for a lot of anime fans, it's quite nice.

Re:destroyed by piracy? How? (1)

GrubLord (1662041) | more than 4 years ago | (#31203650)

True. The increased quality of fansubs is, in some ways, baffling. It's like Wikipedia versus a "normal" encyclopaedia - sure, there's some QA gaffes, but overall it's just better and more convenient.

There's also the censorship angle.

A lot of the US releases are ruined with censorship, to the extent that in some cases the story ceases to even make sense, because some vital component was cut or sloppily drawn over by some American hack.

At any rate, wouldn't it be merchandise that'd "save" anime? I mean, have you seen the price on a decent-quality PVC figurine?

You can't pirate that.

Re:destroyed by piracy? How? (1)

aaron552 (1621603) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206538)

I completely agree. My experience with fansubs is that the quality and attention to detail is, on average, much higher than in official releases. Not to mention the translators' notes that address cultural differences that are completely absent from the official releases

The first step to fixing the US releases is killing 4Kids with fire.

The prices in Australia for anime DVDs ranges from high to extreme. I mean, 129.95AUD for a 23-episode series borders on insane

Re:destroyed by piracy? How? (1)

junior.kun (987391) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206352)

Actually, a lot of anime fans assume that the fansub translators know what they are doing but have no way of evaluating the quality of the translations. The nonprofessional fansub translator will get the benefit of the doubt over a working professional simply because they'll leave terms untranslated or avoid using slang. Some fan translations are horribly amateurish, but the fans will assume they are better than the professional version.

Re:destroyed by piracy? How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31202946)

The big reason it is pirated is because it is not available in the US!!!!!!

If you look at the US licensed and dubbed anime you will see that it is typically 3-5 years behind the Japanese release dates. So basically the ONLY way to see it is to pirate it. You will also notice that most Japanese titles are never released in the US. Imagine the US movie industry that does not release all of its movies world wide, and when it does it waits 3-5 years after the US release. I guarantee you those movies will be pirated a lot more than they are now.

Re:destroyed by piracy? How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31199278)

This is their method of turning around and biting the heads off all the fansubbers. The piracy you are thinking of isn't really what they're referring to. What they're referring to is the mass amount of people who sub their animes, and then re-release them for download in the united states of america. The problem is, that before things like Naruto, Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon got a whole generation of american teenagers hooked on the anime fad, the animes weren't really being released over here. Even Naruto Shippuden (which is now on a more or less proper american release schedule re: hulu) is still fansubbed and released a week in advance of the US releases.

The previous decade, (1990-2000) the anime producers largely had a stance that fansubbers were doing them a huge favor by providing a market to them that they were not equipped to handle at the rate the fansubbers were (Which largely are volunteers who knew both languages and loved the animes they sub). This decade (2000-2010, especially the last year) they've become more and more hardened to the concept of fansubbers being useful, and now it's becoming a hassle. The point I'm trying to make was in 1999, Animation giants in japan thought fansubbers were creating new opps for the industry, and in 2009, the new line of thought is that it's destructive to their industry.

Most of us aren't going to go spend $100 on dvds (which in DBZs case would be like, 2 fights worth of dvds?) for a series we know nothing about. Especially with how epic some of these series can become in scope -- naruto has over 300 episodes between both series, dragon ball z really wasn't a lot better, and it had more series. Also, the anime companies try to hand us a bunch of crap from the 1970s-1980s that noone cared about then, and wonder why we don't bite. There's no television exposure for most of the animes that are in question here. If House or Friends had just been released on dvd, without any airings of the shows on a local broadcast network, noone would buy those either.

Classic case of spin.

Re:destroyed by piracy? How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31199418)

If the companies offered a way to purchase and download it directly from them I wouldn't mind paying twenty dollars for a season or maybe x amount per episode. The problem is would their subs be on par with the fan groups?

Re:destroyed by piracy? How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31199528)

AKA Crunchy Roll sucks can we have some real subbers for the official release please?

Question (-1, Flamebait)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31198960)

Who would pay to watch cartoons? Anime, manga, whatever the hell kids are calling it this month... All just cartoons.

Re:Question (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#31199052)

Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, and Sailor Moon are cartoons.

Ghost in the Shell, Akira, and other classics are art.

Re:Question (4, Funny)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#31199148)

And if you think a show like Neon Genesis Evangelion is for kids, you have more mental problems than Shinji.

Re:Question (1, Insightful)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 4 years ago | (#31199188)

It's all cartoons. The problem is Americans can't see that cartoons aren't just for kids.

Re:Question (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31199326)

Hell, if you want to be very strict with the definition of what a cartoon is, Avatar was half cartoon and half live action. Just a bit better made than Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31199580)

Avatar was NOT better made than Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Just differently. I would argue that Who Framed Roger Rabbit is the better movie, but that's a whole other argument.

Re:Question (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 4 years ago | (#31200470)

Well of course. Anything with Danny Devito is by default better.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31202722)

Hell, if you want to be very strict with the definition of what a cartoon is, Avatar was half cartoon and half live action. Just a bit better made than Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit wouldn't have worked if the characters looked as "realistic" (*) as the ones in Avatar did. They were *meant* to be traditional cartoons in the real world, and Roger Rabbit came about as close as it would be possible to have that without them looking too realistic to look cartoony.

Of course, it's true that at that time they couldn't have made something like Avatar. But it's also true that today they probably couldn't improve upon Roger Rabbit for what it was.

Roger Rabbit *was* technically brilliant by non-CGI standards, and while modern technology might make it easier to do, I doubt it would ultimately make it any "better".

(*) FWIW, I haven't seen Avatar in the cinema, but the clips I saw on TV didn't look *that* realistic to be blunt; it still looked like CGI.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31199362)

Actually, most "adults" can't see that cartoons aren't just for kids.

Re:Question (1)

svtdragon (917476) | more than 4 years ago | (#31199832)

Unless you're talking about The Simpsons or Family Guy. The latter, they claim, is unsuitable for children.

It's a matter of taste I think.

Re:Question (1)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 4 years ago | (#31200242)

and that is the difference. The content still matters even though it isn't live action. The notion that animation isn't sophisticated enough to compare to live action is just rubbish.

Re:Question (1)

StayFrosty (1521445) | more than 4 years ago | (#31200368)

Right, because only kids watch shows like South Park, Family Guy and The Simpsons.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31204772)

South Park, Family Guy, and the Simpsons are social and political satire (leave their effectiveness out of this, please), and thus qualify to most Americans as acceptable fare for adults in moderation (same class as Dilbert or an op-ed caricature cartoon). Anime hero tales of any sort are lumped in with the old Saturday morning fare. This is compounded by there genuinely being a lot of Japanese anime that IS targeted at youth, especially when corrected for social norms (Ranma, with its nudity, is a child/teen show; Dragonball, with its fairly graphic dismemberment (and nudity!), is a child/teen show). Add in the histrionics when Japanese shows talk about or show something adult (someone talking about sex about as candidly as would someone on Friends; using black-and-gray or black-and-black morality), and you've finished the portrait. Now, as the current generation of twenty-somethings matures, a lot of this will go away, since many, many people of that age have seen some anime or know someone otherwise reasonably sane that like anime. It may always seem a bit odd, but then, so is seriously enjoying zombie movies or coin-collecting. The stigma will shift in that direction, I think.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31235966)

Akira... considered to be awesome by the fat anime con goers of the 90s.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31199226)

I would, if the price was reasonable ($1 per episode, good quality downloadables). I mean, why not? I pay for my games. I pay for my music. I pay for my books. Hell, I even pay for printed copies of stuff I can read for free (legally!) on the web like webcomics, so I may support the authors. What's wrong with paying for stuff, if that's stuff has value for you?

Or are you just trolling cartoons, anime, animation in general because you don't like it?

And you don't watch manga, you read manga.

Re:Question (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31199304)

Some of my friends use the two terms interchangeably. Thanks for setting that straight.

Re:Question (1)

228e2 (934443) | more than 4 years ago | (#31199652)

What the hell are you talking about?

There is a huge market for American comics state side . . the problem is for Manga/Anime is when it takes months for a comic that I can read online for free to be available for hard copy, which is what the article is trying to tackle.

As an avid manga reader, I'll admit that I would most likely read my stuff online for free, but I still buy a few movies if the series is really worth it to me.

And people do still purchase cartoons

Re:Question (1)

DoctorFuji (1331807) | more than 4 years ago | (#31200174)

Obvious flamebait. Get real dude.

Re:Question (1)

dbet (1607261) | more than 4 years ago | (#31201282)

Who would pay to watch cartoons?

I don't know, why don't you ask Pixar how much they grossed in the last decade.

Localization quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31199010)

I don't know how anime are doing in Japan, but for the rest of the world I think that the overall bad quality of the localization plays a major role in guiding the potential consumers toward piracy.

know what would REALLY save Anime? (3, Insightful)

Triv (181010) | more than 4 years ago | (#31199172)

Reasonable prices would do more to combat piracy than all the mobile platforms out there. 30 bucks list for 4 episodes of whatever anime series floats your boat at the moment on dvd is price-gouging.

Re:know what would REALLY save Anime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31199374)

30 bucks list for...

<3 Netflix.

Re:know what would REALLY save Anime? (1)

scottfrye (1012153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31199454)

You know they dont really release anime that way anymore. Usually, you can get a complete anime series for about $30 - $40. Anime does come in reasonable prices.

Re:know what would REALLY save Anime? (2, Informative)

Warhawke (1312723) | more than 4 years ago | (#31202422)

Reality [fye.com] begs [amazon.com] to [animenation.com] differ [animefeeder.com] . But thanks for playing!

Re:know what would REALLY save Anime? (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#31204554)

Hah - I clicked on one of those links - randomly clicked and ended up on Ah My Goddess OAV - 27$ for 4 episodes, plus shipping.

Now I asked someone at ADV about this at Sakura con - he said its to offset the cost of what the producers in Japan wanted - so both are to blame. He said in many cases they were literally paying off someone's house in Tokyo.

Whats worse he told me was a hit series that did well on the fan sub "market" (ie - it had a ton of downloads) usually drives higher prices.

So yes the parent is correct - anime is doomed simply because of the economics of licensing it.

Re:know what would REALLY save Anime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31199826)

There is a lot of irony in this, this is specially troublesome because they also a bundling a product that a good portion of the fan base doesn't want.

Subtitles and specially dubs.

Yes, even most hardcore fans need subtitles, but a lot of people are willing to make these for free, on top of that, fabsubs often are deemed superior to professional adaptations, making the forced sale of these a rip off.

Then, there is the even more expensive option of dubbing, which among the hardcore fans is almost universally reviled.

Of course without dubs, most of the casual clients wouldn't buy the product, so they effectively end up in a position where they have to make the product less appealing to loyal buyers to make it more appealing to casual buyers.

They could have it both ways if they got smart, which they wont.

It reminds me, and it's definitively related, to a saying in a recent slashdot post about pirated software, it goes like this:

Pirated software treat you as a person, legally bought software treat you like a pirate.

The same thing can be said of anime.

Re:know what would REALLY save Anime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31200002)

Only from the perspective of Americans. To the Japanese, $30 for 4 episodes of the latest anime is half off.

But manga is much cheaper in Japan than the US. Go figure...

Re:know what would REALLY save Anime? (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 4 years ago | (#31202540)

Reasonable prices, decent translations, and commitment to continue producing a series are all enormous factors. It's ridiculous to think that they can put out an inferior product, charge an arm and a leg for it, and expect to be able to compete with the often-superior fansubs.

Re:know what would REALLY save Anime? (2, Funny)

sarge apone (918461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31202784)

$30 for 4 episodes!? That's more like tentacle-gouging

Re:know what would REALLY save Anime? (1)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 4 years ago | (#31204422)

Agreed. I stop into Suncoast or whatever the heck it's called now equivalent each time I make it to a bigger mall (I live in BFE and have to drive 60 mins to a decent city) because they often have half off or buy one get one sales, and that is the only time anime seems reasonably priced to me. And 2 out of 3 times I walk out empty handed because the selection is already picked over (usually it's a sale for a specific publisher). All the other publishers still have their good titles in stock.

What does that show you? At the right price, anime sells like hotcakes. Maybe they should do a little experimentation with prices on 'new' releases and see what happens. I use new loosely here, because often these are things that were released in Japan years ago. Didn't they already pay for themselves? As someone else said, piracy created an international market. Learn how to utilize it. $50-$60 for a 25 episode box set? Awesome. $25 for a 4-episode DVD? Fail.

If only (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31199230)

I love anime! I watch them on english-subtitled fansubs.

As much as I want to buy original anime video, either the english dubbing sucks, or they change the cool moves ("Kage Bunshin no Jutsu" vs. "Art of the Shadow Doppelganger"? come on!) that it's just not right!

Re:If only (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206130)

or they change the cool moves ("Kage Bunshin no Jutsu" vs. "Art of the Shadow Doppelganger"? come on!) that it's just not right!

That's what "Kage bunshin no jutsu" means in English, though. Yeah it doesn't sound so great.

There's three sides to dubbing. One is the raping of the original series (see: 4Kids). One is a "purist" form, where they go with literal translations. And one is appropriate translation to a different culture while maintaining the original intent or meaning.

Why can't Naruto just say "Shadow Clone"? In Japanese, things sound nice and short, but it turns out to sound way too stretched out in English.

Re:If only (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206514)

I think he was joking about the numerous fansubs that simply fail to translate large chunks of the dialogue and claim that it's "more authentic".

Re:If only (1)

aaron552 (1621603) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206590)

Why can't Naruto just say "Shadow Clone"? In Japanese, things sound nice and short, but it turns out to sound way too stretched out in English.

The main reason is that "Shadow Clone" has fewer syllables than "Kage Bunshin no Jutsu" and that doesn't fit with the lipsync, hence the overly long translation.

Re:If only (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#31211292)

Yeah, but they can just edit the lip sync anyway (as I've found they sometimes do).

For a huge series like Naruto it shouldn't be a problem.

Better Quality + Lower Price = Fix (sorta) (3, Insightful)

bob0the0mighty (904854) | more than 4 years ago | (#31199348)

I think the way to achieve this is to pay the fan-subbers to use their translations. IMO normally they're better, lack censorship, and are already out there. I bet most would be ecstatic to be paid AND do what they love. And the price should be low, say $1 or $2 since the subs are out already. Some money is better than none.

Re:Better Quality + Lower Price = Fix (sorta) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31199394)

The price shouldn't be low. Accurately translating is a thing that takes a lot of time and patience, and can be frustrating as hell. There's a reason in the early 90s squaresoft was offering up $100k+ for translators to work on their vg staff. And theres a reason things like Zero Wing got translated so f'n poorly -- and it's probably because they tried to use "$1 or $2" translations. lol.

Re:Better Quality + Lower Price = Fix (sorta) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31201076)

I am not so sure it takes that much time anymore. I realize that it used to be a huge job to translate, typeset, and fully subtitle and anime episode, but now-a-days you can often download a fansub of an episode the same week it airs in Japan (sometimes the next day!).

If the industry cannot keep up / compete with fansubbers, hiring them is the next logical choice IMO. They are just better at the job.

Re:Better Quality + Lower Price = Fix (sorta) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31202758)

As a fan-subber myself, I can attest to the fact that my groups/most others would be happy to GIVE the publishers the translations for their editing/translation checking for free.
The real thing that angers me is how shittily publishers encode their video both both their streaming and DVD/blurays. Honestly sometimes i wonder WTF they are doing since I can take a Television Rip and make it look better then the US DVD's. It isn't like it would take a massive render farm or anything, hell my current old c2d can produce a 1080p h.264 @bluray-compatablity in around 18 hours and it would be around half of the size of the original bluray.

Oh hai (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31199732)

This doesn't affect me. It doesn't affect any of you either.
No matter what people do to stop "piracy", the fansubs/full discography torrents/etc will still be easily available to people who know where to look.
In the above phrase, replace "where to look" with "how to use Google".

Want to help anime grow? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31199816)

Anime is stuck in a rut right now because there is so little innovation. So much anime these days is the same old ideas with different characters. It's getting as bad as prime time comedies here in the US. You know, the ones which don't last more than a few episodes because, executive assurances to the contrary, they suck and people don't watch them.

You want a better anime market? More Miyazaki [wikipedia.org] and Ghibli [wikipedia.org] , less moe [wikipedia.org] and Nabeshin [wikipedia.org] . (I have a lot of respect for Nabeshin, but his recent anime are almost completely in-jokes and fourth-wall breakage.) So much modern anime now has all the depth of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Heck, for years there has been a glut of anime which is not porn by Japanese standards but is porn by US standards (specifically, topless women without the details removed, beyond the Barbie-doll nudity of before), so it's far less likely to ever get imported.

Add to this the fact that the markets and exchange rate, right now, aren't doing any favors. The going rate for a single OVA in Japan is some 5000 yen. That's about $50 here in the US, which is priced right out of the market. However, if an American licensee sells for a reasonable-to-us price ($10-15 or so per DVD), then it creates a huge incentive for Japanese to re-import the American version, because it's so much cheaper that way. This kills sales in Japan, which scares the bejeezus out of the licensors, so they mandate a minimum price in the $20-30 range here. Thus a piracy market is created. It's simple microeconomics (i.e. price supports). There's no good outcome here so long as the Japanese product is overpriced compared to international markets.

Mobile devices will buy time. They won't save their market any more than Internet presence is saving print news. That's all.

Re:Want to help anime grow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31201052)

The anime market would also grow considerably if they'd start making animes out of the awesome list of psychthrillers that are in manga format currently (Bloody Monday, Lair Game come to mind).

There's a ton of good stuff that's still essentially trapped in the manga format.

Pricing and Availability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31199968)

There's a reason why most people pirate or use fan subs, because it's simply not available here or outrageously expensive (Here being the UK). We often have to wait several years after the original airing before Region 2 DVDs are available. While the US may have to wait a year (!) we have to wait much longer. Sure, we can import R1 DVDs but often at great expense both for postage and import duties. The few series that are available here are often hugely overpriced. I do buy DVDs when they are available and affordable, but I have no option other than to resort to piracy. There also seems to be a distinct lack of HD formats available here, and those that are available are even more expensive.

Make it available, make it affordable and we'll buy it. I don't mind if you only subtitle it rather than having to pay for a set of expensive English voice actors. I always watch with subtitles on anyway so dubs are useless to me.

Here's what happened to Anime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31199976)

1. Some Americans start watching Anime because it has cool sci-fi/fantasy stuff that American TV can't pull off
2. In the early 2000s it becomes a fad where droves of Americans watch some of the more "western-friendly" anime because it's "in"
3. The Anime companies in Japan realize there's a cash cow in America and start putting out truckloads of "western-friendly" but poor-quality anime
4. The original viewers give up on watching because much of the new anime is junk
5. Around 2007 the fad ends, the droves go somewhere else
6. The Anime companies are left holding the bag -- the original fans left because of the westernized junk anime, the "fad" droves left because the fad is over
7. Blame piracy.

That having been said, the Anime companies are slowly returning to putting out creative, original shows. That, I think, is ultimately what will "save anime."

Piracy is not to blame for the downturn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31200200)

Bad translations and terrible voice acting on already badly scripted dubs are much more responsible for the "downturn of the industry" than piracy. If anything, piracy was a big aid to the industry, because it brought awareness to an otherwise unnoticed aspect of an overseas culture.

But the big companies were not able to compete with the pirates simply because they were not offering a better product.

Applicable to overseas Anime markets ONLY (1)

vampire_baozi (1270720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31200818)

Piracy brought Anime to America, and sustains other markets as well, where Japanese prices are too high (China, Taiwan: manga insanely popular, but everyone buys pirates versions or reads scanlations online). The producers of manga and anime do so primarily for the Japanese market, which remains highly profitable. Unless the Japanese start pirating, the industry will do fine, and keep producing. Manga and anime needs to be as popular overseas as it is in Japan for traditional print distribution or dubbing studios to be profitable. The only places besides Japan where manga is that popular is China/Taiwan/Korea, and they have the same piracy issues as America, since noone there wants to pay for inferior service (long wait times and poor voice acting), compared to the superiority of fans who do it for the love of the medium.

Bottom line: Overseas production companies are going to hemmorhage money.

Also, I'm not crying about this. Fans do an awesome job of translating. There are far more fansubs and fan translations available than official licensed translations. Where they do buy rights to huge series, the pirated version has been out long before. I don't want to wait months for some company to wade through licensure and waiting for completed books; I happily read it the day it comes out in Japan, as it is usually scanned and translated within 3 hours, tops. Most fan translations do a great job, and I hate dubs with a passion. Why on earth should I pay for the DVD or a bound book?

Plus, the intersection of the anime/manga crowd and the geek crowd is a fairly large set. We're not stupid, and know how to use the internet(s) to get what we want.

Re:Applicable to overseas Anime markets ONLY (1)

story645 (1278106) | more than 4 years ago | (#31201336)

I don't want to wait months for some company to wade through licensure and waiting for completed books

I've paid for books and stacked up a collection, but then the publisher decided to drop half the series I'm buying and I'm hesitant to pick up new titles (ones I've read) 'cause I don't want a half complete collection. I think the unreliability of the big US publishers (tokyopop, ADV) keeps as many fans from buying legit stuff as anything else does.

Re:Applicable to overseas Anime markets ONLY (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31205596)

I buy the Hellsing books. I also download the scanlations because I hate waiting months to read the manga. With some manga/anime series I've seen fewer spelling/grammar errors in the scanlations/fansubs than in the official releases. Offering a lesser product for a higher price is unacceptable in any market with competition. If more manga/anime came out at the same time (or within a few days) of the original and at good quality I'd buy more.

Make the DVDs better than fansubs (2, Interesting)

Mishotaki (957104) | more than 4 years ago | (#31202942)

If the anime studios would make better subs, i would be inclined to replace my collection instead of buying what i keep with my backups. The english subs are from the english voice-overs that are used and are timed to the mouth of the characters, therefore they add/remove information and many things are lost in those translations... If they would give us a second track for the subs when we're watching with the original language, a "litteral translation" track, i would be more inclined to buy the legit ones instead of keeping my fansub version because it's far more superior...

Re:Make the DVDs better than fansubs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31204908)

There really isn't a need to choose fansubs vs official release. I download to satisfy the need for instant gratification, and if I like it, I will buy a copy when it comes out in order to support the industry (whether the fansub is superior or not).
I own well over 600 anime DVDs this way, and have paid out well into 5 figures - it's not like the anime industry should complain about people like me.

The best thing that can be done is to try to minimize the number of people who take without compensating in any way. I believe the best way is simply to stress to people that it's only moral to pay the creators for their hard work by supporting their products.

Every reason to get fansubs (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 4 years ago | (#31203180)

There is currently every reason to just get the fansub instead of buying it...

I started with fansubs because when you were in high school and early college, you don't really have the money - especially not when a box set cost $90 to $120 USD. Yeah, the prices have come down considerably now, but even at 40 to 50 USD, you've got to realize those shows are 5 to 10 years old now.

That brings up another point - delay in releases. I'll watch the fansub, for example Burst Angel / AKA Bakuretsu Tenshi - it came out in 2004, I watched it at least 2 or 3 years ago on fansub - and only about 6 months to a year ago did I see it in the anime magazines "Burst Angel the next big anime?!?" That'd be like for all the people that somehow enjoy watching 24 and American Idol having to wait a year to find out what happens. "Hey guys, did you know Jack Bauer is in exile?" "Dude, that episode was like 2 years ago."

The 3rd big issue is quality. Fansubs are generally made from ripping the show from over the air TV that it airs on in Japan and add the subs. Every time I've tried "doing the right thing" and going and buying the DVD box-set, the DVD version looks like shit compared to what I downloaded a year or 2 ago. And I mean recently, within the past 3 months, where HDTV's are more common than ever. Also, as many other people have said, the English voice actors on dubbed DVD's tend to have retarded voice pitch, no emotion, and FUBAR the timing on the lines

I'll end my rant now, being as my lunch is over and I've gotta get back to work...

Re:Every reason to get fansubs (1)

SakuraDreams (1427009) | more than 4 years ago | (#31205074)

True. Most anime fansub releases in the last 2 years have appeared as 720p H.264 MKV files with selectable subtitles. Sometimes, some series appear as 1080p. Nowadays US anime companies no longer dub the anime series anymore. However, many of us still buy the animes which we once watched as fansubs on DVD - eg He is My Master, Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens, Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya etc. Most of these DVDs and Blurays are still region coded and some of us aren't even in the US, which means we have to jump through hoops to get the stuff to play.

Piracy exists for a reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31204814)

In Australia, at $30 for each dvd of 4-5 episodes of a 24-30 episode series, it makes no sense at all to buy anime. That's $900 for longer series, I'd prefer to buy more than a small stack of DVDS with inconsistent/poor quality subtitles for that kind of money.

Piracy isn't killing the industry, the horrible distribution costs are.

Re:Piracy exists for a reason (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#31206150)

But it's $30 Australian. You can just buy a Monopoly game and bam, you've got thousands of Aussie bucks right there!

I'm surprised more people don't do this.

Too Late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31210924)

They are late to the party. Fansub/re-encoders have been transcoding fansubs for iphone/blackberry for over two years (480x272 mp4 h264 AAC). And recently started transcoding for PSPs (432x240 mp4 h264 AAC).

Comment field from a fansub torrent link site entry:

Size: 2041.3MiB | Date: 2008-01-23 16:42 UTC | Comment: complete season 1 (episodes 1-12) converted for iphone/ipod users. don't worry, works fine with vlc or quicktime, too.

voiceover (1)

suzieque (1740694) | more than 4 years ago | (#31220724)

Yes I agree, the English voiceovers always amuse me..
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