Monday, November 30, 2009

Anime Workers in Japan Struggling to Stay Afloat in a Declining Industry

Yuka Hayashi at the Wall Street Journal is reporting about "Anime Workers" in Japan that are Struggling to Stay Afloat in a Declining Industry. We could have some fun with that headline by inserting 'R1 Anime Retailers in America' in place of 'Anime Workers in Japan'. -_^ Hey, we've been toughing out this recession now for going on 2 years while the whole biz in North America has been busy resetting itself to the place it was maybe 7 or 8 years ago (i.e. - a LOT smaller) - and if we want to stay, there is nothing that we can do except ride the wave. Kowabunga.

Many of us who have been around in the scene for longer than 3 or 4 years can't help but notice the decline in the quality of Anime productions in recent years. I probably don't need to say more. While there are still good shows coming out of Japan, the creative well seems to be running dry more often than not. In the WSJ article Koji Takeuchi, who is the president of Telecom Animation, says about the state of the anime world:

"The industry has become decadent and fatigued - so many pieces are dark
and oppressive, and the message of hope and fun is no longer there."
Indeed, the magic is certainly harder to find in the newer material. Maybe I'm just getting older. I'll be 40 in January, and I find myself becoming more and more reflective these days, especially as the holidays approach. I look ahead, and I'm having a harder time seeing where the future will be in this, what form it will take, and what our role will/should be. But we'll figure it out, one way or another. :-)

And you know, this is second Anime article I've seen in the WSJ this month -the first being the one by Sarah Needlemen on Nov 3rd who interviewed Adam Sheehan (who is an events manager and producer for Funimation). Hey Adam, why are we ALL losing our hair!?? I think when someone at the Journal starts paying attention to the Anime biz, it's a sign we've probably come full circle...

Posted by a very tired Robert signing off at the end of a 19 hour Cyber Monday...


Aurora said...

I've noticed that there's really nothing coming out that I can get excited about. Romeo X Juliet was the last thing I cared even a little for. I keep thinking it's because I'm uninformed, but prowling release dates is giving me nothing. I'd like to see something new and different . . . but I fear that even then, new and different won't make it to the US market even if it flies in Japan.

Unknown said...

I've been depressed about the US market ever since Geneon USA shut down.

If you haven't yet, be sure to check out Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari. IMHO, it's the best series to come out in years. :)

Starcade said...

It isn't just you.

And if I tell you where I think it all came from, you won't approve this post, but I think you can figure it out.

I literally was going through Best Buy last night to see if there was, really, ANYTHING I wanted to buy, and the closest I got was a liquidation of an Angelic Layer set for some absurd price, but I still didn't want to pull the trigger on.

The magic of anime is gone, and where anime has gone in the last couple of years IS a very dark place, and, I fear, it's only going to get darker before it dies out completely.

Unknown said...

No one enjoyed Claymore? Hell Girl? Red Garden? Blood + ? Moribito?
I thought these were great and rushed out to pay full price (it's just my style). On the Claymore series within a month of dvd 6, it had moved into the extreme bargain bins, and then here comes the "thin pak" el-cheap-o version. That was very sad for what I thought was a great series in Claymore. Same with Hell Girl.

I also really like the quality of Red Garden. (Thank goodness for DVD 6 being released).
And the still being released Moribito. Also, what about Blood+ season 2. Come on folks, it's there. Just because it's not free on you tube or some other lame pixel filled free service, does not mean it's not out there.
I do feel sorry for the animators themselves. As for me, I can't draw a stick person straight. I think real artists are a challenge to find. The Japanese needs to raise those guys pay or we'll all be getting the quality art we love and enjoy like Shin chan.