I have immense respect for the prolific anime studio Madhouse, but their offering this season has been a total disappointment. Highschool of the Dead is one of the worst anime I have ever seen; a veritable ordeal to watch. If it wasn’t for my duties as chief editor of this site, I would have dropped it weeks ago. The K-ON!! finale might have been a wrenching roller-coaster of emotion, but the last episode of HOTD is what brought me to tears… tears of joy, that is. I’m so very happy that I don’t have to watch another episode of that garbage.
So, as you can imagine, I’ve been pretty disappointed in Madhouse lately… that is, until I saw this little trailer for something called Redline.
Seriously, this is one of the most visually stunning anime projects I have ever seen. I especially love the bits which display an aesthetic I can only describe as “LSD cyberpunk.” I think this film is worth watching for the animation alone. Madhouse, you have redeemed yourself.
Many people have been talking about the the recent lull in the anime industry, both in Japan itself and abroad. The question is, does this lull spell the doom of anime as some have predicted? Or is it just a temporary setback for an industry that’s too mighty to perish? Well, to answer this question, we need to take a good look at the history of anime. This is an informative ANN article giving a good overview of the size of the anime industry over the last forty years. Of particular interest is this chart, a bar graph representing the growth of the industry since 1970.
What is quickly noticeable is the big boom around 1990, which is the time conventions began popping up in the United States and also when series like Tenchi Muyo and Ranma ½ were being released. Again, the industry sees another impressive climb by 1995, which is when Neon Genesis Evangelion and Ghost in the Shell were released. Moving into the new century, anime received increased exposure on cable television in the United States in the form of Toonami, which featured Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z and Gundam Wing starting in the late 90’s, and Adult Swim with Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Lupin III and FLCL into the early 00’s.
Many of these shows were critically acclaimed and financially successful in North America and the volume and quality of anime being produced and subsequently licensed overseas saw something of a golden age, noticeably peaking in 2006 at nearly 220% higher than just 11 years prior. The future of the industry was bright, many series were being licensed for North America before they even finished their initial television run in Japan, and it seemed like the world couldn’t get enough of Japan’s fastest growing cultural export.
But could the industry maintain that unprecedented success? Find out more after the break!
Oh boy, the new Oxford Dictionary of English is out! You know what that means… it’s time for bloggers like me to pad out their slow news days by overanalyzing any new pop culture terms Oxford added. Let’s see, this edition’s new words include staycation, vuvuzela, bromance, hikikomori…
Wait, hikikomori? Seriously?
noun (plural same)
(in Japan) the abnormal avoidance of social contact, typically by adolescent males
a person who avoids social contact
Wow. I guess the hikki phenomenon is so famous that even Oxford had to take notice. Their definition is surprisingly accurate too. Color me impressed, Oxford. And here I thought your dictionary was woefully ignorant of pop culture trends. I wonder what they have to say about other anime-related terms…
Have we mentioned breasts yet? We have? Okay, just making sure. It seems like a pretty good way to get a bunch of listeners.
Anyway, we start of this week’s podcast by talking about the most popular anime and video game names Japanese parents give their kids. Though we each had different favorites, we all agreed that it would be super awkward to name your daughter after a character you own a wallscroll of.
According to a recent article from ANN, the K-ON! merchandising juggernaut has made 1.8 billion yen in the last three months. That’s approximately $20 million USD, and that doesn’t even include the video sales and licensing rights for the anime or CDs. It’s not on par with merchandising juggernauts like Star Wars or Gundam, but it’s still pretty impressive.
But out of all this merchandise, there are a few products that are rather… bizarre. Let’s take a look at those odd and ridiculous accessories that really make people scratch their heads and beg the question,”What were they thinking?”
Could the K-ON! manga be coming to an end? This story just went live on ANN.
A footnote on the bottom of kakifly’s K-ON! manga in the September issue of Houbunsha’s Manga Time Kirara magazine lists the next installment as the final one. The September issue officially ships on Monday.
Now, don’t start panicking just yet. This only means that K-ON! will no longer be serialized in Manga Time Kiara. It’s entirely possible that kakifly could continue the manga in another serial magazine. On the other hand, this could mean that the next chapter will indeed be the final one, and the series will end with the girl’s graduation from high school. This theory is further supported by the K-ON!! anime, which will finish airing in late September. Perhaps the manga and anime will end simultaneously, like Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
Personally, I think it’s about time for K-ON! to take its last bow. It’s been a fun ride, but the show has become somewhat creatively bankrupt and repetitive as of late. But don’t despair, moe fans! Kyoto Animation’s next project, Nichijou, is already in the works.
Last week, Dai Sato claimed that anime will disappear within the next thirty years, due to a lack of creativity in the industry. On this week’s Bakacast, we address that controversial issue. Is the over-saturation of moe to blame for the anime studios’ financial woes? Or is this just another genre craze that has overstayed its welcome? Does too much focus on merchandising limit quality storytelling? We debate these difficult questions and more.
After that serious business, we move on to lighter fare with this week’s anime reviews.
Could we be living in the last days of anime? One industry insider seems to think so.
This article featured on ANN is from an interview with writer Dai Sato, credited with writing episodes for Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell. He paints a rather grim picture picture of the decline and death of anime within the next few decades.
Sato dismissed the idea of “Cool Japan” and complained that much of the in-between animation work in anime is outsourced to people in other countries, who may not be aware of or invested in the work itself. Similar to director Hayao Miyazaki, Sato criticized politicians and other who promoted the image of Cool Japan for their own purposes. Sato also decried series that were more about escape than about confronting real problems, and proclaimed that the anime industry in Japan is a “super establishment system” rather than a creative force, focused more on characters and on merchandise. He suggested that manga was “the last hold out,” and that if manga was lost then anime would not last without it.
While this reflects one person’s opinion, there are others who think the industry is growing. However given the subpar offerings for the summer 2010 season I can understand the reasoning behind Dai Sato’s statements.
Well, it has finally happened. One Manga, one of the biggest scanlation hoarding websites on the internet today, is closing up shop at the end of this week due to ‘publishers recently changing their stance on scanlations’. It was only a matter of time before the popular website submitted to pressure from the multi-national manga anti-piracy coalition, which aims to reduce the huge amount of manga piracy on the internet. Indeed, the scalp of One Manga will be a big victory for the coalition as, according to ANN, One Manga was ranked #935 on Google’s 1000 most visited websites on the ‘net. This is quite a staggering thought; to think that a website that relies on such blatant piracy could rise to become one of Google’s top 1000. No wonder it had to go.
Do you visit One Manga frequently? I know I did, yet as I said in my previous article, and I say again now: lets pull our fingers out and start supporting the industry we love. Consider the death of One Manga the final wake up call.
This is a refined and expanded version of an editorial I originally wrote for Japanator. The original can be found here.
It seems one of the biggest problems in the ongoing moe debate is the lack of any concrete definition for the term “moe.” This has lead to all sorts of argument among otaku; some believe the term can be applied to any female character the viewer considers cute, while others argue it should be strictly limited to its original Japanese definition. Personally, I think the truth lies in between these two extremes. After all, language is defined by its usage, not by the opinions of a few crazed fanboys or some dusty old dictionary. Therefore, based on my own observations and research, I have created the Four Laws of Moe. I believe these laws lay out, in clear and concise detail, the exact parameters of moe and what traits a character must exhibit in order to be considered as such. Of course, these laws are merely a reflection of my own opinion; feel free to improve upon them, argue against them or even construct your own alternative theory. Whatever the case, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.