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Old 2009-03-04, 23:36   Link #21
jsieczkar
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The industry's issues are both internal and extremaly caused. Yes the industry is going down hill fast, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Over the course of the history of the anime industry there have been 4 distinct crashes of the industry: after After WW2, the late 60's, the late 80's and now. The late 80's crash and the present one share many similarities.
1) Production budgets have grown out of proportion. In the 80's it was with movies in the 90/00's it was with TV shows.
2) A overgrowth in the number of Lead studios.
3) An over saturation of the market, with type specific shows aiming at overly small audiences.
4) A corresponding crash in economy that the industry was not ready for.
The present situation is made worse by several new factors.
1) A reliance on an initially unprofitable TV airings. The stations in Japan are getting paid to show the many series and collecting the ad revenue. Then the studios are trying to making up the losses with the sales of DVDs.
2) The international market rose the anime industry to a new level, but it never really figured out how to deal with the non-Japanese audiences.
3) Fansubing....yes it has had negative effects, but it is no where near the top of the list of issues.

If the reaction to this crash is the same as after the 1980's one then we may see:
--A return to OVAs. Up until the mid-90's the OVA was the primary release of any non-mainstream title. If they are counting on DVD sales to make the profit for the show, would it not make sense to stop airing the show unprofitably on TV?
--Some studios folding and releasing there staff. The positive end is that in most cases these people end up starting their own studios later.
--Most TV shows will go more mainstream in an attempt to straighten the studios footing.
--A reevaluation of current practices, and the use of technology. hunger is the greatest motivator.

As for the comment about the increased use of computers: what a load of crap. Miyazaki sells well due to amazing art and great story telling, as well as being one of the better run studios in terms of business practices.
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Old 2009-03-04, 23:44   Link #22
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Everything I've read implies they basically don't "get" why an entertainment product designed and targeted for a domestic audience (Japan Otaku) is getting such mileage across the ocean. They don't get it, don't understand it, and they don't want to mess with it (hence the licensing). The only reason they seem to rail against fansubs at all is that they mistakenly think it will result in "backwash" into their domestic market. Now I differentiate between broadcast files and DVD-rip files. DVD-rips? I'm right with them, that's a 1:1 theft within their domestic market and they should pursue those vigorously (for now).
Wait, aren't 99% of fansubs out there based on files acquired from Japanese peer to peer networks? This stuff is already out there.
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Old 2009-03-04, 23:45   Link #23
Nosauz
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
licensing (which never really earn much for producers; licensing fees are usually good enough to cover only costs, apparently).
This is my main problem about supporting the American anime industry, I find that even though I love the product being made, my purchase has very little portion of the profits going to the company that did the brunt of the work. This middle man offers few to any additional services, but also tacks on extra features that aren't even done properly. The whole problem with the American anime industry is that most of the revenue generated from sales is gone to the lisencing company and not the people who really need our money to make more anime. I just find American Lisence holders an archaic bastion of the old that do very little to promote adoption of anime into American mainstream culture. The fact that the American animation market is so light on "triple a" titles, such as south park and to an extent family guy after its revival, anime could easily fill the void of the lack of good animated programming in america, and honestly so many time slots on prime time tv currently go to terrible reality programming. As I look at it more and more I just find the whole notion that besides japanese otaku, anime companies are less likely to adopt support for fans out side of japan, again this is similar with xbox 360 support in europe compared to the us, but still microsoft offers a service that is at least comparable to the service offered in the U.S.. My main issue is that I want to directly benfit the companies that make animes I like not this indirect system that is the current American anime industry.

just a little side note, I think the reason all these anime companies in the U.S. continue to cry that the end is nigh, is because they can sense their eminent loss of utility to the actual flow of commerce, and once their usefulness runs out they'll be discarded like any economic machine. If American lisencors don't shift their buisness model they soon will not be extinct. This highly likely since Japanese students are getting aquanited with english earlier and earlier now, so its not hard to believe that in the near future subs could be done in house before the product is even finished which of course would signal the end of the funimation and its ilk.
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Old 2009-03-05, 00:18   Link #24
Vexx
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I'd purchase directly from Japan right now if the R2 folks would subtitle their DVDs (or through a transfer house like Bandai has in place). Of course, I'd still watch the broadcast fansubs to see if I was about to buy crap or not.

Of course, if cable/satellite services actually offered channels from all over the globe, even that would eventually stop being necessary -- but no, they keep pushing crap I don't want to see so I don't subscribe.
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Old 2009-03-05, 00:22   Link #25
jsieczkar
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Originally Posted by Nosauz View Post
This is my main problem about supporting the American anime industry, I find that even though I love the product being made, my purchase has very little portion of the profits going to the company that did the brunt of the work. This middle man offers few to any additional services, but also tacks on extra features that aren't even done properly. The whole problem with the American anime industry is that most of the revenue generated from sales is gone to the lisencing company and not the people who really need our money to make more anime. I just find American Lisence holders an archaic bastion of the old that do very little to promote adoption of anime into American mainstream culture. The fact that the American animation market is so light on "triple a" titles, such as south park and to an extent family guy after its revival, anime could easily fill the void of the lack of good animated programming in america, and honestly so many time slots on prime time tv currently go to terrible reality programming. As I look at it more and more I just find the whole notion that besides japanese otaku, anime companies are less likely to adopt support for fans out side of japan, again this is similar with xbox 360 support in europe compared to the us, but still microsoft offers a service that is at least comparable to the service offered in the U.S.. My main issue is that I want to directly benfit the companies that make animes I like not this indirect system that is the current American anime industry.

just a little side note, I think the reason all these anime companies in the U.S. continue to cry that the end is nigh, is because they can sense their eminent loss of utility to the actual flow of commerce, and once their usefulness runs out they'll be discarded like any economic machine. If American lisencors don't shift their buisness model they soon will not be extinct. This highly likely since Japanese students are getting aquanited with english earlier and earlier now, so its not hard to believe that in the near future subs could be done in house before the product is even finished which of course would signal the end of the funimation and its ilk.
The problem with your theory is that America as a whole does not care about animation and loves their reality shows. To get the networks to show animation the title would need to be as profitable as any show they have on now, which it is not. They will not deal with the Japanese directly, so a middle company will have to be set up to have all the dealings. In addition this company will have to deal with the American market place that will not deal with what the Japanese companies put out. People will not pay $40 for 3 episodes and no boxsets coming out at a cheaper price. If you sell everything from Japan without a stop at a US based business then it is going to be considered an import with all the duties and fees to be added. so you may be looking at higher then $40 per disc, their is a reason that Bandai Entertainment exists as a quasi independent company.

To get a show on TV it would have to be Dubbed, the average American will read subtitles up to the length of time it takes to pick up the remote to change the channel. No dub, no network TV, and with out the networks anime will never get any bigger. Disney has been trying for years now with little lasting impact on the market. As of now the highest grossing non-pokeman anime per theater is Spirited Away coming in at a whopping 141st place on the animation list. 101 Dalmatians made more money in the theaters unadjusted for inflation then Spirited Away did.

Last edited by jsieczkar; 2009-03-05 at 00:35.
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Old 2009-03-05, 00:34   Link #26
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Yes i know how difficult it is to get good quality content on T.V. just look at firefly, Arrested Development, some the smarter shows on fox that canned simple because they weren't as main stream as fox had envisioned them. My main propisiton is good products sell themselves. I just feel that studios will soon be able to tap into the american markets that fansubs have created by doing in house subs with english becoming almost a sub language within japan and much of asia. The language barrier is the main entry way, but once a universal translator is created most of these barriers will crumble, also this most likely won't happen in my life time but with smaller and smaller chips, that calculate and parse faster and faster, it really will be a possiblity. Oh well most of the crap I talk about is the ideal, but right now we're just too far away to even contemplate that. I guess I should just lower my expectations, but I feel that their need to be poineers who actually shift the marketing of anime in a direction that has more growth potential than where current trends are headed. The main thing is monetizing the markets outside of japan. That should be the plan, and also to protect intellectualy property, much as the I hated the writers strike, and the impendings actor guild strike, I feel that anime production companies have to fight for a bigger slice of the pie. It doesn't mean that productions need to ballon like videogame development but they do need to focus on story telling alone. I just find that these industries need the crash so they can get back to basics, this is more directed at game developers than anime because game budgets have skyrocketd yet gameplay usually is stale which inevitably leads to the downfall of the game. Whereas anime's then selves should just be looking for the best way to tell the story they have, not the most flashy or the most fanservice. Again its the crazy idealist in me wanting all of this but in the end its just wait and see.
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Old 2009-03-05, 00:35   Link #27
Vexx
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Or to be blunt, here in America 90% of the population just "wants their MTV". By seeking foreign works, you've just become a member of a small niche market.

So a business plan as jsieczkar describes is destined to fail as he implies... or they will only choose the pokenarubangbangbanglocalized or they will start changing anime in some horrible attempt to "target the US audience" and thereby destroy the ambience that many people find they enjoy in anime in the first place.

There are niche market business plans that will work but first one has to recognize that "mass market" is NOT what one wants to accomplish.
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Old 2009-03-05, 00:47   Link #28
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It's really frustrating when I look back at Firefly and Arrested Development, I still contend that Arrested development was one of the most witty comedies to grace the silver screen. I mean comedies are usually a hit or miss but this also involved a complex plot that engaged the viewer.
I feel like this bubble will burst and it will be a good thing, studios have gotten to big, and they really have just become the sequel pushing large coporations who don't take risks anymore. The crash will shift the emphasis on great story telling rather than just big budget. That's how interpret the results of a crash in the industry.
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Old 2009-03-05, 01:01   Link #29
jsieczkar
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Originally Posted by Nosauz View Post
I feel like this bubble will burst and it will be a good thing, studios have gotten to big, and they really have just become the sequel pushing large coporations who don't take risks anymore. The crash will shift the emphasis on great story telling rather than just big budget. That's how interpret the results of a crash in the industry.
That I agree with you on, it will take time and you will have a few years where things are very vanilla. Back in the early 90's when the industry was regrouping it was just that very vanilla, it took Neo Genesis to get people talking about anime in Japan again. In this case after a few years an new NGE what ever it may be will come around and do the same.

I basically minored in animation history in college and in all truth right now is a very exciting time in animation. There are such major changes going in across the globe on terms of technology and connectivity. Looking in the history books gives you an idea what might happen, but being able to see it live is really amazing.

Sorry for the history geek moment.
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Old 2009-03-05, 01:05   Link #30
Claies
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From what I see, the anime industry is now a bubble for reasons down the timeline here:

The trend in mainstream anime steers towards novel and manga adaptations, as opposed to original series. This capitalizes on the nearly equal popularity in those formats, so people who wouldn't touch a novel but would watch an anime and vice versa will pay. However, loss of originality is a huge problem, because said novels and manga have limited creativity on their own. Now that the anime industry is using that creativity instead of their own, it becomes a formula and leads to a crapton of bad series.

Next, fansubbed anime becomes widespread due to the Internet. On the surface, this isn't a massive decline, because these fansubs are reaching audiences that can't buy them anyway, so it's really no financial loss for a massive chunk of the downloads. In fact, these audiences may actually seek to buy other more tangible merchandise, such as figurines.

Now I go back to the mainstream trend above - now the world is convinced that anime is a formula through fansubs, and therefore the audience is reduced to the same tight niche as before the Internet even came along (or it just doesn't grow compared to other formats through the internet).

After that, the anime industry craps their pants at the massive "loss of profit" and tries to mainstream their shows when they ship out for export. Mainstream targeting niche audiences. This isn't going to work. That's where the massive decline comes from - they're making already formulaic shows mainstream.

In conclusion: Your fans freaking love you and will throw all their disposable income on you as long as you continue to make original cool shit that only they like and nobody else would.
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Old 2009-03-05, 01:16   Link #31
Nosauz
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Originally Posted by jsieczkar View Post
Sorry for the history geek moment.
As a fan of anime isn't this an intrinsic nature of anime fans, to not only seek the present but also relive the past, and watch the overall change in philosphy about animation. At least I myself love that aspect of anime, which is very similar to the changes the television went through, though because of syndication in television the landscape wasn't as dramatic as anime.

@Claires, great comment, though i wouldn't say just original, as long as the story is told in a manner that is fitting to the story, then I would be fine with that.
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Old 2009-03-05, 02:08   Link #32
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Things are just as heated at the other side at around the same time the Japan Times article appeared.

Among the opinions (some of which have devolved into the usual ANN arguments over the legality of subbing and its effects on the anime industry), someone in there blames the TV stations for the draconian agreements they lay out for the studios, insisting that the studios pay for such broadcasting.

At any rate and if I ever get a huge paycheck, I'm willing to pay for genuine Marimite boxsets to keep 'em afloat.
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Old 2009-03-05, 02:41   Link #33
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Originally Posted by jsieczkar View Post
That I agree with you on, it will take time and you will have a few years where things are very vanilla. Back in the early 90's when the industry was regrouping it was just that very vanilla, it took Neo Genesis to get people talking about anime in Japan again. In this case after a few years an new NGE what ever it may be will come around and do the same.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claies View Post
The trend in mainstream anime steers towards novel and manga adaptations, as opposed to original series. This capitalizes on the nearly equal popularity in those formats, so people who wouldn't touch a novel but would watch an anime and vice versa will pay. However, loss of originality is a huge problem, because said novels and manga have limited creativity on their own. Now that the anime industry is using that creativity instead of their own, it becomes a formula and leads to a crapton of bad series.
We discussed this cyclical creative trend in anime some time back in this thread. The general consensus then was that the perceived "bubble burst" has more to do with our increasing awareness of what's available in anime than in any real "burst" per se. Meaning to say, it's not necessarily a case of anime growing stale, but maybe more because we have become more discerning about what we watch.

Unless someone can come up with hard numbers, it's very difficult to say for sure if there is indeed an oversaturation of anime titles that are turning viewers away, hence leading to the measurable drop in revenue. At best, all we have at the moment is anecdotal evidence.

Actually, though, the numbers can be compiled to a certain extent. We do have a thread listing DVD sales in Japan. I'm hoping someone can compile some spreadsheets to see how much each studio is earning from DVD sales in Japan. From there, we can draw some hard conclusions about which shows are selling well and which are not. More importantly, we can see which studios are prospering and which are not.

Incidentally, which are the top anime studios in Japan? Does anyone know their revenue figures? How much market share do they have as a collective whole, given that total market size is probably around 150 billion yen last year (assuming two years of steady 20-billion-yen losses since 2006)?
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Old 2009-03-05, 03:35   Link #34
Claies
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Actually, jogging my memory, I'm willing to take back that statement. I remember someone telling me that the anime industry was practically set up to animate manga, so my point is rendered moot if that is true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Actually, though, the numbers can be compiled to a certain extent. We do have a thread listing DVD sales in Japan. I'm hoping someone can compile some spreadsheets to see how much each studio is earning from DVD sales in Japan. From there, we can draw some hard conclusions about which shows are selling well and which are not. More importantly, we can see which studios are prospering and which are not.

Incidentally, which are the top anime studios in Japan? Does anyone know their revenue figures? How much market share do they have as a collective whole, given that total market size is probably around 150 billion yen last year (assuming two years of steady 20-billion-yen losses since 2006)?
Oh dear, that data set isn't going to be parsed easily.

On the other hand, here's a sales figure report for the first half of 2007. This includes other sectors of Japanese video entertainment, but they categorized anime. Of particular interest is the table on page 4, listing comparisons with the previous year. Subsequent issues (take 124 and put in 125, etc.) don't show any such tables - it looks like something they did just for this issue.
http://www.jva-net.or.jp/bulletin/jva-repo_124.pdf (Japanese)

Toei's revenue figures are public.
http://investing.businessweek.com/re...p?capId=875035

[EDIT]: Here's another dataset. Too tired to analyze.
http://www.aja.gr.jp/data/doc/data_japan_taf2008.pdf

[EDIT 2]: More companies on the Tokyo Stock Exchange:
Kadokawa Group Holdings: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...d=acqe_UGqvvuc
Marvelous Entertainment (subsidiary ARTLAND produced Tytania): http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...d=aLupPL1PZO0E
TMS Entertainment (Itazura na Kiss, D Gray Man): http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...d=aBFhmtYNg1eY

Sleep time, kthxbai.

Last edited by Claies; 2009-03-05 at 03:56.
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Old 2009-03-05, 09:26   Link #35
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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.
where individual tastes are taken as evidence for the fate of a whole industry you don't have to wonder why we're in a constant perceived crisis.

We arguably(!) saw something like a "bursting bubble" in the US licensee business after 2004 and a very smooth market correction in Japan as a consequence, resulting in less (but not dramatically less) titles. Show me a significant number of small anime companies going out of business and big players like Sunrise on life support and we're really talking crisis. I don't see that happening any time soon. So far I see only GONZO which was directly affected by the demise of the American market as the most "American" anime studio (in the pre-pantsu era as least).

It will be interesting to see how the global recession will affect the anime industry which is not so straightforward to predict. In any case, this is not a home-made problem of the anime industry and will be over when the recession period is over.

Now where is anime going in general, bubble or not? I don't see a return of OVAs in the bittorrent era. I still say trying to make more global main stream productions is a strategy for failure but if they try that I'll just wait and see. I don't even know what it means for me individually. More Viper's Creed, less Kemeko-DX? As I see it that's just two different flavors of bad. Of course, YMMV. But it still would be sad to see the unique anime culture die in favor of yet another liter of tasteless global entertainment soup.
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Old 2009-03-05, 09:58   Link #36
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Among the opinions (some of which have devolved into the usual ANN arguments over the legality of subbing and its effects on the anime industry), someone in there blames the TV stations for the draconian agreements they lay out for the studios, insisting that the studios pay for such broadcasting.
Although this is standard practice for late-night anime TV show, it's not the studios that have to pay for TV slots in Japan, the ones that pay for it are production committees.


This is how the anime business works:

1.) A production committee is a gathering of different sponsors from the entertainment industry who finance a given production.

2.) They hire production houses such as animation studios, sound studios et cetera, and other contractors such as seiyuu. They pay these people a one time sum for their services, forget royalties and all that bullshit.

3.) Then they pay TV stations money for a given timeslot. If you think about it, it makes sense because TV stations basically sell air time. Production committees then decide how they want to make use of it. As they can't get third-party sponsors for their production because everyday Japanese hate otaku, they fill their time slot with ads for products of all sponsors included.
Obviously, a different business model applies for anime aired in prime time. Those rely on profits from third-party advertisers that look at ratings.

4.) Production committees then recoup costs from media mix sales (DVD, novel, comic etc), merchandise sales, and other licences.


The real tragedy is that production houses get paid very little. These companies don't have strong labor unions, they're not rich to stand up in court against productions committees that forget to pay them, bigger production houses have to outsource a lot of work overseas, and even then their employees make a bare minimum. So the cycle of exploitation continues.
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Old 2009-03-05, 17:19   Link #37
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well, there certainly have been plenty of diverging opinions on the topic. I'm not much of an economist, so i'll just post more queries than actual opinions.

Firstly, what is the biggest cause of this 'crash'? is it the whole economic crisis that has caused the majority of the problems ( the recession became 'evident' around 2007 - its not like the anime industry is the only one thats been hit hard - comparing it to other industries, how hard has it really been hit comparitively), or has the anime's industry's business model always just been heading for disaster, and the hostile economic conditions just accelerated this? It is definetly a combination of the two, i cant imagine why the anime industry wouldnt face a very hard time right now, but which side does it lean more towards?

Without going in to the raging debate about fansubbing, I'll leave it at what my limited knowledge of the subject can surmise - Fansubbing doesnt cause as much immediate damage as is said, simply because a lot of what is fansubbed isnt exported anyways, like someone posted earlier, you cant completely base things on money that you wouldnt have earned anyways ( fansubs have globalized anime to a large extent, and stimulated purchases in one sense), on the other hand, theres no doubt that it does damange to sales ( noticeable damage ). However, no matter which way its sliced, for many many people ( particularly the younger audience, who couldnt buy merchandise anyways - its expensive!, and since the fact that anime is far from mainstream, availability and acceptability are issues), fansubs are the way to go. So whats the point in enforcing laws to ban fansubbing when there isnt an effective replacement? Online/digital viewing by the companies themselves is one answer.

Having said that, how well would that even work? Fansubbing is already here, and its huge. if people are completely practical, why on earth would you pay if you could get it for free?? I remember quite clearly how pissed off a lot of people were when naruto stopped getting fansubbed. I for one would love to believe that online streaming for a small nominal fee be made available to stream anime online fast would help remedy the illegal download problem. ( some amount of illegal piracy isnt unexpected though, and might help spread anime around). does anyone have any idea on how succesful say, crunchyrolls tie up has been?

Finally, theres no doubt this is developing into a serious problem for the industry. Many of these problems have been around for a while, and are not particularly new, but how far (do you think) has the problem developed? is the anime industry wrecked, and soon it will be time to simply pick up the pieces and regroup, or has this been noticed in time to react ( if the industry does react at all - are they now in a position where they have to? )
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Old 2009-03-05, 17:46   Link #38
Vexx
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You might even back up... is there *really* a "crash" or is this a massive cry-wolf in the face of a natural downturn in the cycle of economics and mismanagement?
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Old 2009-03-05, 17:55   Link #39
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
You might even back up... is there *really* a "crash" or is this a massive cry-wolf in the face of a natural downturn in the cycle of economics and mismanagement?
well i wouldnt go that far .. though its not entirely impossible. More than an actual 'crash' the economic downturn has probably just emphasized the flaws that were already in the industry. Yes, there is need of some major re-evaluation, yes, a new business model might be necessary. From what i've read and seen, the anime industry has always had a lot of the problems like the ones shown in the article, bad working conditions for animators, with the state of things obviously itd get worse now. the point is however, that this isnt anime exclusive, even if it becomes ( i really dont have the data to say whether it is or isnt, though i highly doubt it) one of the worse affected industries. However, just like other industries if something is *not* done about it, there will be consequences. We'll just have to wait, and see, and hope that it reacts well in the face of adversary. well, not that i condone sitting idly either, if we , as fans can do whatever little to help stimulate this industry, we should try atleast.. not that i know apart from actually buying products, the best way to go about that would be.
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Old 2009-03-05, 18:12   Link #40
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hm... i might have to start going to therapy sessions for anime addiction
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