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Old 2006-10-19, 20:28   Link #141
Bloodseeker
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Quote:
26.8% earn less than 1 million yen (US$8,500 approx.) annually
Holy shit! I wasn't expecting them to be rich or anything, but I make about that much if not a little more as a part time stock boy!
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Old 2006-10-19, 20:44   Link #142
Kaoru Chujo
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Thanks, kj1980. I have looked at that thread about the social attitude to manga/anime in the past, but not recently.

As far as book covers are concerned, when I've bought Japanese books (at a North American branch of a Japanese bookstore), they don't put the cover on until you buy it, so there's no problem seeing what you're buying. And that store doesn't give you a cover for manga or manga/anime-related books, just for ordinary small-format novels, etc. I thought at the time it was prejudice against manga, and it may be, but perhaps it's because they know manga-readers don't want covers.
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Old 2006-10-20, 00:17   Link #143
hiroober
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wow!!! kj, I've been busy reading through your posts here and there. Thank you for telling us so much about the whole industry and also about the Japanese society!! Tho I knew about the stigma attached with otakus, I never thought it is that horrible... anyway, <(_ _)>有難う!

Quote:
The moe~ drive is the cause of conspicious consumption. If otakus can go (;´Д`)ハァハァ over a minor character from the ero-game "Triangle Hearts," and if her fanbase can create a spin-off anime for three seasons in her name, then it's a big enough factor which can't be overlooked.
well, as mention to moe~, it seems that moe~ is really the only thing that is cared about for otakus. (-_- You guys never care about the story or other elements? I suppose that only if the story, characters and blahblahblah all the things are good can make a good anime. (Geez, we seem to need another essay about what is moe~ really about...)
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Old 2006-10-20, 14:16   Link #144
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Originally Posted by hiroober View Post
well, as mention to moe~, it seems that moe~ is really the only thing that is cared about for otakus. (-_- You guys never care about the story or other elements? I suppose that only if the story, characters and blahblahblah all the things are good can make a good anime. (Geez, we seem to need another essay about what is moe~ really about...)
Imho, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha and Nanoha A's were pretty damn good story-wise. Even quite a few anti-lolicon people and (excuse me) narutards, but mostly hardcore videogamers really enjoyed the intense combat action. These series weren't just moe, they were hot-blooded, so they were able to attract some mecha show lovers as well (Also due to blatant SRW references).

Moe is an essential part of otaku culture, but doesn't mean otakus cannot enjoy a good Kemonozume (a superflat show, which is actually the anti-moe countermovement) once in a while.
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Old 2006-10-20, 15:58   Link #145
kj1980
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Originally Posted by DaFool View Post
Imho, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha and Nanoha A's were pretty damn good story-wise. Even quite a few anti-lolicon people and (excuse me) narutards, but mostly hardcore videogamers really enjoyed the intense combat action. These series weren't just moe, they were hot-blooded, so they were able to attract some mecha show lovers as well (Also due to blatant SRW references).

Moe is an essential part of otaku culture, but doesn't mean otakus cannot enjoy a good Kemonozume (a superflat show, which is actually the anti-moe countermovement) once in a while.
Right-o.

While Nanoha may have spun off from an ero-game, the anime itself is one of those exceptionally rare breeds that comes around only once in a while. The battle scenes are "moe!" (as opposed to "moe~," different kanji, different meaning), particularly dark compared to other mahou shojo, and the portrayal of Nanoha growing up is very exciting to watch as so much as you want to root for her.

But still, normal people will coldy stare at you while saying, "Oh...you're watching a little girl's anime....I see...I'm gonna step over there now..."
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Old 2007-04-15, 07:30   Link #146
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Thank you kj1980, DaFool, and eggplant for your informative posts.

While the lives of the grunts in the anime industry are horrible, I would like to point out that grunts in the Japanese game industry are much better compensated. So, if any of you gaijins want to get as close to the Japanese 2D entertainment industry as possible, earn a CS degree and become a game programmer.

I'm doing an internship at a game company right now. Well, I'm actually under compensated as they classify me as a part-time worker. (I'm cool with it though since I consider this internship a paid vacation rather than a job I have to make a living with. Moreover, somebody else is paying my rent in full anyways.) However, here are something I can observe from my colleages (but I don't know how much they make though):

* They wouldn't hesitate to go to a Chinese restaurant daily and have a 880 yen lunch set, while I would hesitate to pay for anything more expensive than 600 yen.

* Game programming for a large corperation is a stable job with fixed income. Moreover, if you can head a project, you'll be compensated even more. You will be a salaryman, but the job still allow you to stay relatively close to your passion.

* My coworkers didn't look at me with weird eyes when they saw my anime wallpaper or t-shirts. They are just as geeky as or even more so than I am.

* A lot of people bring a PSP or a DS to work. During coffee break, they would socialize in the lounge and duke it out with the gadgets.

* The company seems to be more westernized than other Japanese companies. My coworker once told me a story about his being told that arriving 10 minutes before the time in the contract meant he was late, and having his sick day being deducted from vacation days in his last job. All of these don't happen at the company we're working at.

I think the job market for foreigners (or those who can speak English) in Japanese game companies is expanding as they want to import technologies from the west. They go to SIGGRAPH. They use graphics engines and many programmer productivity software made in the US. And they even send their workers to English conversation school.

However, getting into the industry is very difficult, myself a very special case as I got a very good recommendation (and it's just an internship). To get a job, you either have to show them really cool demos, or have experience in the industry for a number of years. And of course, speaking Japanese is the #1 requirement.

Still, being a game programmer cannot be considered a dream job. Just like seiyuus or singers, you'll be told to code what someone else designed (unless you're a producer/designer). Being a salaryman is also pretty miserable IMHO. You'll work long hours just like salaryman in Japan does, and you'll definitely not be paid as well as a game programmer in the US. Buy, hey, you'll have enough to support a spouse and raise a kid (or buy 3 copies of Little Busters if you choose to say hardcore otaku for the rest of your life).
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Old 2007-04-28, 13:51   Link #147
dwayne12
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Well there are so many other issues that are concerned with the payments of the employees that at times I am almost on sea as to how I deal with this matter. The more experienced animators get a hefty package and have a lot of perks too! So it demands a lot of attention being an employer. I feel we require some able guidance for this.
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Old 2008-11-16, 15:01   Link #148
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Let me say this. I want to talk about a specific company in general: GAINAX. They have made an anime that is regarded they very best (if not controversial) Neon Genesis Evangelion. All those other crashing companies aside, how id GAINAX doing right now? I'm sure their doing better off that what I'm hearing because of all their markets: they even have their own Evangelion store. People have said that it's aimed for otakus, but GAINAX really doesn't make otaku material anymore, Re:cutie honey does not count. Especially now with Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, an anime which some of my Japanese relatives have said "an anime by a company that seems to want to change how anime is veiwed." As in, not just a was to vacuum money off otakus, which GAINAX was doing in the beginning, but now from the starting of Eva and now Gurren Lagann, which was one anime that got to Americans overseas in the fastest time since God knows where. To make anime something to veiw for adults and chirldern?

All summing up, is GAINAX a exeption to this terrible anime industry? Or have the fallen into the trap? Are the 1oo animators working there really good? Or does the CEO's hire inbetweeners just to raise profit?
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Old 2008-12-16, 22:34   Link #149
kj1980
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Reflecting on this thread two years later is similar to opening a time capsule.

I don't know about you guys, but do you guys think the bubble has burst? Compared to several years ago when I was active, there are lot less anime shows that spark an interest within me.

As I have said back then, increasing moe~ to everywhere leads to spreading out of the fanbase across all spectrums, leading to overall stagnation of the industry. Sure, we still have the ero/bishoujo-game and the light novel inspired late night anime shows. But, do you guys have a feeling that it's all becoming the same here and there?
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Old 2008-12-16, 23:48   Link #150
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longreach View Post
Let me say this. I want to talk about a specific company in general: GAINAX. They have made an anime that is regarded they very best (if not controversial) Neon Genesis Evangelion. All those other crashing companies aside, how id GAINAX doing right now? I'm sure their doing better off that what I'm hearing because of all their markets: they even have their own Evangelion store. People have said that it's aimed for otakus, but GAINAX really doesn't make otaku material anymore, Re:cutie honey does not count. Especially now with Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, an anime which some of my Japanese relatives have said "an anime by a company that seems to want to change how anime is veiwed." As in, not just a was to vacuum money off otakus, which GAINAX was doing in the beginning, but now from the starting of Eva and now Gurren Lagann, which was one anime that got to Americans overseas in the fastest time since God knows where. To make anime something to veiw for adults and chirldern?

All summing up, is GAINAX a exeption to this terrible anime industry? Or have the fallen into the trap? Are the animators working there really good? Or does the CEO's hire inbetweeners just to raise profit?
Gainax, huh? The sentiment here in Japan in general is that there is still a sentimental factor for Gainax to milk. However, it seems they and Khara [Hideaki Anno's new vehicle to do the Evangelion movies] are milking the Eva cow for all it's worth, like how Sunrise is milking the Gundam cow like as if the milk never runs out.

In fact, while Gainax is rehashing the old story, 13 years later (or so), Sunrise does try to make a new story. In fact, I think the rising star in Japan right now is Kyoani. Both Gainax and Kyoani were set up in the 1980s. In fact, Kyoani was set up in 1981, Gainax in 1985 (though the original staff were in the industry in '81 already). However, Kyoani was like a subcontractor until Haruhi AIR. Gainax was luckier, in '96 they had Eva already, it took 10 more years for Kyoani to finally win a Animation Kobe award with Haruhi ('06). [I tend to follow Kobe's awards since I live there most of the year]

So, yeah. Gainax has changed considerably, but its main focus is actually Eva. Because that's the cow to milk. Kyoani is the one to watch now.
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Old 2008-12-17, 00:12   Link #151
relentlessflame
 
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Originally Posted by kj1980 View Post
I don't know about you guys, but do you guys think the bubble has burst? Compared to several years ago when I was active, there are lot less anime shows that spark an interest within me.

As I have said back then, increasing moe~ to everywhere leads to spreading out of the fanbase across all spectrums, leading to overall stagnation of the industry. Sure, we still have the ero/bishoujo-game and the light novel inspired late night anime shows. But, do you guys have a feeling that it's all becoming the same here and there?
In terms of my own opinion, it does seem like the bubble has burst in a way, but I feel like we're left with a more stable and consistent line of products from season to season. It feels like there are less risks/surprises (and that's quantifiable too, given the amount of sequels). So on the one hand you could say that this makes it feel like it's becoming more of the same, but on the other hand, if you still enjoy those tried-and-tested formulas, you're pretty much guaranteed to find at least a few good shows that you like each season. If you're the sort of person who doesn't "overdose" on anime, and isn't primarily worried about "uniqueness" of each show, I think you can always find things you'll enjoy. Of course, I'm sure that, over time, even that can grow tiresome. I'm not personally there yet, though.

I would say that I also agree with your observation (then and now) about the spread/acceptance of moe~ across the spectrum. I was reflecting recently on when I first joined this forum back when the original D.C. anime was airing. At that time, moe~ and bishoujo/ero-game anime were neither common or very-widely accepted, so I felt like my tastes in anime were very unusual. But in the last 5 years, there has been a rather radical shift especially in the English-speaking fanbase, to the extent that many bishoujo/moe~ anime have been licensed and officially released, and even the D.C. game will be officially translated into English. Except for those posters who stay nearly-exclusively in the usual shounen show sections, the average general AnimeSuki poster has completely different tastes in anime than those I encountered when I first joined. So this has been an interesting change, but at the same time I can still see your point about this leading to stagnation. Now that that transformation has occurred, what's next? (And how many anime fans just dropped out of the picture while this transformation happened?)

Anyway, I think it's an interesting question, and I'll be interested to see what others think as well.
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Old 2008-12-17, 10:44   Link #152
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Quote:
Reflecting on this thread two years later is similar to opening a time capsule.

I don't know about you guys, but do you guys think the bubble has burst? Compared to several years ago when I was active, there are lot less anime shows that spark an interest within me.

As I have said back then, increasing moe~ to everywhere leads to spreading out of the fanbase across all spectrums, leading to overall stagnation of the industry. Sure, we still have the ero/bishoujo-game and the light novel inspired late night anime shows. But, do you guys have a feeling that it's all becoming the same here and there?
hmm. I dont quite share that impression. while the moe~ genre has certainly very much expanded, there are still many series that are completely different, and new ones appear ever again. as an example from the stuff I'm currently following, Kurozuka and Tytania are both reasonably unusual and far from the moe~ genre.

Toradora is another example which is not quite so typical IMO...
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Old 2008-12-17, 11:58   Link #153
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kj1980 View Post
I don't know about you guys, but do you guys think the bubble has burst? Compared to several years ago when I was active, there are lot less anime shows that spark an interest within me.

As I have said back then, increasing moe~ to everywhere leads to spreading out of the fanbase across all spectrums, leading to overall stagnation of the industry. Sure, we still have the ero/bishoujo-game and the light novel inspired late night anime shows. But, do you guys have a feeling that it's all becoming the same here and there?
What a coincidence. SeijiSensei and I had discussed this topic not too long ago. We both agree there has been a gradual decline in story quality in the past few years, but we disagree on the possible reasons for the perceived decline.

He feels that it's simple economics at work. Costs of production are going up, while domestic revenues are declining, due to competition from new media. As a result, more and more studios are taking the safer route of producing merchandising-related anime like Tales of the Abyss, World Destruction and Soul Eater.

I, on the other hand, feel that the industry has slipped into a temporary creative rut. After all, the anime industry is similar to Hollywood — it feeds on whatever ideas are in vogue at a given time. For a long while, roughly the five years between 2002 and 2006, anime targeted at older audiences have tended to focus on socio-philosophical themes, either in the form of period dramas or the more popular genre of sci-fi fantasy. I'm talking about shows such as Twelve Kingdoms, Haibane Renmei, Kino no Tabi, Mushishi and Seirei no Moribito.

However, five years is a long time and, by now, socio-philosophical anime seems to have run out of steam. This has been a particularly disappointing year of anime for me, compared with last year, where almost every anime I cared to watch seemed to jump instantly into my favourites list. Even the more innovative shows such as Kaiba and Eve no Jikan tended to rehash ideas that have already been beaten to the death by a good number of Oshii-linked or Oshii-wannabe series, while tearfully sentimental series like Natsume Yuujinchou tended to feel more maudlin than original to me.

It's telling that the shows I've most enjoyed this year had almost nothing to do with heavy philosophy: shows like Toshokan Sensou and Chii's Sweet Home for example. The former deals with a story concept that's so totally out of left field that viewers either hate it or like it, while the latter is a refreshingly sweet tale due to its lack of pretensions to "big ideas".

So, from my perspective, it seems like it's time for the industry to move on to other kinds of stories. And it does seem like it's fumbling, but not quite successfully, for something fresh. In the meantime, bills still need to be paid, and wages still need to be doled out, so the studios fall back predictably on steady staples like Gundam, Macross and Code Geass. There's even a *gasp* Neon Genesis Evangelion remake in the works. As relentlessflame and Mumitroll suggest, the majority of anime fans — mostly young people between 14 and 25 — do enjoy these shows, so for them, there is no "decline".

On the other hand, people like me — who are drawn to anime because of its originality — are likely to stay disappointed, for now.

I suppose much depends on the kinds of novels being published in Japan at the moment. I've noticed that adult-oriented anime tend to be adapted from either novels or light novels. That's hardly surprising, given that books are generally better platforms for "mature" ideas. Since I don't read Japanese, I have no clue about Japan's literary fads, so I cannot say for sure whether we're looking at an "upward" or "downward" trend.

Personally, I would love to see more horror anime, such as Mononoke and Hakaba Kitaro, emerge over the next few years. I think it's a gold mine waiting to be explored, especially given Asia's rich lore of supernatural tales. We've already seen a massive wave of live-action Asian horror movies sweep the world; I wonder if a similar wave could emerge in anime.

Last edited by TinyRedLeaf; 2008-12-17 at 12:36.
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Old 2008-12-17, 21:18   Link #154
0utf0xZer0
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TinyRedLeaf:

You mention socio-philosophical themes being popular in 2002-2006. Has the anime industry typically experienced thematic cycles through it's history? I'm curious because I only really got into anime around 2006 myself, so I wouldn't have had time to notice such things yet.
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Old 2008-12-17, 21:24   Link #155
Sister Princess
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kj1980 View Post
Reflecting on this thread two years later is similar to opening a time capsule.

I don't know about you guys, but do you guys think the bubble has burst? Compared to several years ago when I was active, there are lot less anime shows that spark an interest within me.

As I have said back then, increasing moe~ to everywhere leads to spreading out of the fanbase across all spectrums, leading to overall stagnation of the industry. Sure, we still have the ero/bishoujo-game and the light novel inspired late night anime shows. But, do you guys have a feeling that it's all becoming the same here and there?
I also experience this kind of problem, it's strange that I suddenly watch less moe~ related stuff than before. While time is one of the reason but I can't use that reason everytime right?

Since Magical Lynical Nanoha and Rozen Maiden back in 2004, it seems there are way too many animes that are basically a continuation from previous chapters. Did you feel the same way?
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Old 2008-12-17, 21:32   Link #156
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After reading this thread I'm thinking whether I really should apply for an animation course lol

If I do take up animation, am I stuck with low pay all the way? Or is there something else I can do with higher wages, concept artist etc.?
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Old 2008-12-17, 21:41   Link #157
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Since Magical Lynical Nanoha and Rozen Maiden back in 2004, it seems there are way too many animes that are basically a continuation from previous chapters. Did you feel the same way?
Well, I think that there are many sequels is definitely true, but I think one of the reasons for that has to do with key animator availability and the tendency to have shorter seasons. Rather than committing to large 26/52 episode series in one big block, you see a lot of shows now that are 13 episodes, with a second set of 13 episodes in the not-too-distant future (so, really, they're 26 episode shows cut in half). That, in addition to the traditional sequels (where a subsequent season airs a year or two after the original), certainly combines to give the impression that we're floating in a sea of sequels. Also, because the average show is now down to 12/13 episodes, the sequels can come more frequently since you don't have to wait to collect as much source material.

So I guess what I'm saying is that I do think there are objectively more sequels out there, but I don't think it's just due to a sort of creative bankruptcy. Some of it is just a reflection of the latest production trends and requirements.
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Old 2008-12-17, 22:37   Link #158
kyon.haruhi.suzumiya
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Originally Posted by C.A. View Post
After reading this thread I'm thinking whether I really should apply for an animation course lol

If I do take up animation, am I stuck with low pay all the way? Or is there something else I can do with higher wages, concept artist etc.?
^^ Depends. If you can make your way into Japan's big animation studios, like Sunrise, Toei, Kadokawa, or Visual Art's [also depends on WHICH subsidiary of Visual Art's you go into] you can do pretty well. But smaller studios like Kyoani [yes, it IS small] or the "milk-the-same-cow" company like Gainax, then, no, unlikely. But Kyoani is worth watching, it's a rising star in the industry.
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Old 2008-12-17, 23:17   Link #159
SeijiSensei
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While TRL did a pretty good job of expressing my point of view, I actually think we don't differ as much as he suggests. As he observes, producers of popular media like anime or movies quite often follow a "me, too" strategy when choosing properties. I find that strategy becomes much more common when the economics of the industry are uncertain. Shows that are distinctive or targeted to smaller audiences tend to be set aside in favor of what's been known to sell in the past. The audiences for shows like eroge or visual novel remakes are a lot more predictable than the audiences for, say, Kure-nai or Shion no Ou. In prosperous times it's a lot easier to make a case for the uncommon; during contractions there's an inevitable retrenchment in favor of the known.

Of course there are always exceptions. Production I.G. and Madhouse seem large enough, and wealthy enough, that they can continue to produce the occasional Ghost Hound, Real Drive, or Kurozuka even when their returns are risky. What I find more remarkable is the performance of Brains-Base, who seem to have a knack for picking unusual properties like Baccano! and investing considerable resources and talent into their production. Brains-Base has thus become one of my favorite contemporary studiios.

Just a quick glance at the recent DVD sales figures would suggest why producers might choose to produce more shows like Clannad (~20K sales per disc) than shows like Dennou Coil (~2K sales per disc). Obviously there are shows of both types that don't follow this pattern, but if I were a studio executive hearing a pitch for "another Clannad" and one for "another Dennou Coil," I know which one my shareholders would have me choose.

Remember, too, that a lot of revenues come not from the shows themselves but from the ancillary merchandising they generate. If NHK ni Youkoso! is any indication of what sells to otaku, there's going to be a tendency to choose shows that will sell those figurines. My guess is that Konata and Kagami figurines can be expected to sell better than ones depiciting Shion or Benika. (I'll ignore the market for products like this. I wonder how well this item went over when shown to the creative staff at Brains-Base. I'm sure the guys in marketing thought it was a great idea.)

Finally, like 0utf0xZer0, I don't have a long history following this industry either, certainly not in comparison to folks like kj1980 or relentlessflame. Can any of you recall what happened to the industry when Japan experienced its economic troubles about a decade ago? Obviously the entire industry was smaller then, but could you detect a reduction in experimental titles at the time?
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Old 2008-12-17, 23:19   Link #160
TinyRedLeaf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0utf0xZer0 View Post
TinyRedLeaf:
You mention socio-philosophical themes being popular in 2002-2006. Has the anime industry typically experienced thematic cycles through it's history? I'm curious because I only really got into anime around 2006 myself, so I wouldn't have had time to notice such things yet.
I can't really say for sure, since I'm speaking only from my own perspective. But it does appear like that to me. The mid-90s to late 90s saw a re-imagination of the big mecha genre, thanks in no small part to the explosive popularity of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Prior to that, such anime tended to be variants of Gundam or Macross. More importantly, Neon Genesis Evangelion seems to have sparked off a number of series dealing with various angst-ridden existential themes, shaped in part also by Oshii's Ghost in the Shell.

By now, the "era" of philosophical sci-fi seems to have run its course. To me, the most influential representatives of that genre appeared in the late 90s to early noughties, for example, Ghost in the Shell, Serial Experiments Lain and so on. Recent shows in this genre, such as Ergo Proxy and Real Drive, feel derivative by comparison.

Dragonball-style anime entered a kind of slump (I can't think of any equivalent shounen-type series in the 1990s, other than perhaps Rurouni Kenshin or Inuyasha, which arrived in the early 2000s), to be revived by Naruto and Bleach from around 2004 or 2005 onwards.

Very significantly, the late 1990s to early 2000s was when anime started to attract mainstream attention in the United States, thanks to macho hits like Ninja Scroll and Cowboy Bepop and more importantly to Miyazaki's Mononoke Hime. This has undoubtedly had an impact on the industry, in that they began to realise that anime has a huge foreign audience.

I get the feeling that the bigger studios like Production I.G are consciously creating shows for a wider global audience, hence the slew of NGE or GiTS wannabes. But perhaps now it's time for them to replenish their wellsprings of imagination, and search for something new.

That's why I find new creators like Makoto Shinkai and Satoshi Kon exciting. They've broken new ground with their works and I hope to see talents like them emerging soon.
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