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Old 2012-06-14, 03:47   Link #141
aohige
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Sigh, apparently my post got completely ignored.

If anything, shounen manga has become more and more towards "for boys" than anything.
In the early years of shounen manga, they were actually rather closer to what you see in "Young" line-up seinen manga of today.
Even though it was published for boys, they included many mature content, and clearly entertaining to broader spectrum than simply young boys.

Even though the appeal of the shounen magazine has stayed broad, market research has geared its content more and more towards its original target audience: children. This is a natural development.
Also, appeal to girls is not a recent thing. Even in the 80s, there were many rabit fans of Saint Seiya and the like. Around... I think the hit of Sailor Moon and Evangelion in the early 90s, it feels like artists of shounen manga has started taking notice of their female audience more. Due to this fact, yes, infact, more titles started developing fan service aimed for girls. However, the category in general has always stayed true to its demographic, and provided far more focus on "contents for young boys".

When I was a child, I read Jump mostly for Dr. Slump and Kinnikuman.
KoroKoro comic, as well as Shogakukan's "First grader" through "Six grader" magazines had far more appeal to me overall, especially due to its obvious gear towards my age group, as well as the existence of Doraemon and other notable classics.
Due to the progression of shounen manga to more accurately cater towards its demographics, these magazines slowly vanished from the market. Specifically, the grade-separated elementry school magazines from Shougakukan.

I'm not talking out of my ass, if you heed my words, I beg you.
I've been observing this market far longer than most likely many here have even been alive.
With the exception of V.
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Last edited by aohige; 2012-06-14 at 06:16. Reason: eh, "specifically" not "especially". grammar nazi.
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Old 2012-06-14, 04:31   Link #142
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With the exception of V.
I lol'd.

Well, we can't really criticize the casuals for their opinion. It is when they've decided to dive into the world of anime fandom (rather than simply dipping one's toe into the pool water) that we should "fix" their misconceptions.

Hopefully, most of us are already knowledgeable enough.
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Old 2012-06-14, 11:55   Link #143
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus H. View Post
I lol'd.

Well, we can't really criticize the casuals for their opinion. It is when they've decided to dive into the world of anime fandom (rather than simply dipping one's toe into the pool water) that we should "fix" their misconceptions.

Hopefully, most of us are already knowledgeable enough.
Actually, we *can* criticize/correct people who are completely misusing terminology. They claim to be fans of "anime and manga" (japanese pop culture)... and even that is somewhat incorrect ("toe in the pool" as you say ). They're fans of a particular subset of story content within the anime/manga sphere which is a fractional part of the totality of what the publishers who self-identify as "shounen" publish. This thread is a poster child example of such fans persisting in a belief that this little circle is the whole world of what shounen publishers offer despite the ocean of information that says otherwise. As several posters have asked, are they even *reading* other posts?

If they're calling a head gasket or radiator "the Ford Motor Company" - then they and we aren't really having the same conversation, are we?

But they have a legitimate concern under the cloud of their confusion: is the production of the kind of story content that is a subset of the domain of shounen publishing that they like diminishing?

I propose it isn't diminishing so much as the number of those kinds of stories (proven franchises) is relatively static while the rest of the shounen publishing line is increasing in numbers of titles. But there's a fairly fundamental difference lost by just counting titles:

I've got hundreds of episodes of Action Series X, but I'm lucky to get 12 episodes of Romance Z or comedy W (also both shounen offering)... never mind the 24 episodes we used to be able to count on for a title til recently. So the *number* of different titles may be huge... but they're mostly "short reads" and underdeveloped - unlike, say, something like Bleach or LotGH or Gundam.

So the sense *I* get is that the "action, power, true buddies, etc" stories mostly rely on proven franchises - a few titles get dozens or hundreds of episodes, while many subsets of other story content have hundreds of titles but the number of episodes is small (24eps or less.... with the omnibus format recently popular in boy's romances sometimes a story gets 1 or 2 episodes).

I'll also point out that *all* the various story content themes are evolving... just like any form of entertainment does as the tastes of its *primary* audience evolve (and the primary audience lives in Japan - they spend most of the money to support the product). Romance, comedies, action, drama --- are all "not exactly the same" as they were 10/20/+ years ago. Except high school settings... I'm so damn tired of high school settings

Last edited by Vexx; 2012-06-14 at 16:57.
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Old 2012-06-14, 16:13   Link #144
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
I have more confidence in market forces than in the strength of my own opinion and value judgements.
Man this line right here really doesn't cast anything you say afterward in a very good light (especially since without it there's nothing inherently wrong with the argument you make) and I think the dangers of such an outlook are more than obvious. You need to look no further than the current financial crisis' plaguing the world's economy to see how the so-called "invisible hand" and market forces don't always guide industry in a positive direction. They can just as easily lead to ruination as they can to prosperity if left completely unchecked and with nobody to make quality judgement calls on how to influence them.

Also blind faith is just never a good thing and should never ever at any point be put ahead of one's own sound judgement....although a second opinion never hurts to have as well.

Last edited by Kaioshin Sama; 2012-06-14 at 16:24.
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Old 2012-06-14, 16:22   Link #145
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Mm, normally as a Libertarian, I'd just go with it, but I guess in the current times it's a bit rough given the global situation. :S
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Old 2012-06-14, 16:22   Link #146
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
I have more confidence in market forces than in the strength of my own opinion and value judgements. If they're heading down a bad road, the market will react, and they'll have to change course. As I said, it's an action and a reaction. Things that are less successful will die, and things that are more successful will live. So in that sense, evolution is necessarily a "positive direction" because it's driven by the will to survive (and thus I have more confidence in those whose survival is dependant on this medium's continuance than the opinions of individual fans with little at stake but their own enjoyment). And while we're in the middle of the process, it's hard to judge the net effect of any given trend anyway. Only time will tell where all this leads.

Besides, what can you as a fan do but adapt or die? It's not like the execs at these companies are reading this forum and going "man, these kids have so much insight into the anime industry!". If anything, they laugh at our arrogance despite not actually knowing anything at all. We shouldn't think of ourselves as higher than we ought to.
Oh c'mon now. You cannot be serious about this. Why have faith in your opinions and judgement at all? Sorry this sort of reasoning is something that would promote devolution of the human race in general, not evolution.

Anyways, besides the point. What I was saying why are you so damn sure that what the industry is doing is correct in what they're doing? Your argument falls along the lines of "you're not qualified to raise any objections to their actions." Why are you qualified to defend them then? I'm just saying that the practices of the industry aren't infallible despite what you might say and there is no reason to assert that people taking issue with what they're doing is simply a matter of inability to accept different things.

So no the execs aren't reading this of course. The execs probably care little of what foreigners in general think of anime (Something I think is not good by the way), but why is that point relevant? We're just commentating on perceived trends and giving opinions on whether they're good and bad. I doubt that even most of the industry officials are knowledgeable enough to give a wholesome analysis on what are the actual problems, should they can it too?
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Old 2012-06-14, 17:13   Link #147
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
I have more confidence in market forces than in the strength of my own opinion and value judgements. If they're heading down a bad road, the market will react, and they'll have to change course.
You're right that the market will react. However, it doesn't necessarily mean that anime makers have to change course.

It's important to remember that creators, producers, and writers are humans too. They have their own tastes and preferred styles. While I'm sure most professional writers write in the hopes of their works selling well, there's no question that some will write (at least in part) to please themselves. In other words, they'll write stories that they themselves would consider entertaining; they'll write characters that they themselves find compelling.

And I'm not even begrudging them this, as I can certainly understand people wanting to find enjoyment in creative endeavors, even if that's also their livelihood.

But this does mean that the tastes of the creators can cut both ways - When it's nicely aligned with the audience of the day, megahits and even entertainment phenoms can occur (i.e. Star Wars, Harry Potter, NGE, etc...).

But when those tastes are largely out of synch with the audience of the day, it can hold an entertainment form or medium back. This doesn't necessarily mean it gets corrected, because it might still sell just enough to keep the industry chugging along (even when a different approach used to sell better than what we're seeing now and/or a different approach might have sold better today).

A good example of this is the comic book industry. The comic book industry has never recovered to its 80s and early-90s level of popularity and sales.

So, going by your logic (if we simply apply it to comic books), this shouldn't be possible. If "market forces" alone are enough to push a medium forward (in a "positive direction") then comic books should have recovered over the past, oh, 20 years or so. But they haven't. They might get a bounce here or a bounce there, but to the best of my knowledge, they're nowhere near the level they were at in the 80s and early 90s.

And comic books is not the only entertainment form/medium that I've seen this occur with.

I'd certainly value the opinion of someone actually working in the anime industry over your random anime fan. But that doesn't make the people working in the anime industry infallible. They can make mistakes, just like all of us can. And sometimes, by the time those mistakes are recognized by the people in charge (if they ever are recognized), it might be too late.


Edit: Now, that's different from this whole shonen discussion though. That's based on foreign fans mistaking a demographic for a genre. Here is where informing more fans is what's most important, imo.


Quote:
Besides, what can you as a fan do but adapt or die?
I don't see any harm in people pointing out directions that they're not fond of. Critical consumer/customer feedback is just as valuable as supportive consumer/customer feedback, at least from a market research perspective. In fact, critical consumer/customer feedback is arguably more valuable because it tells you where you have growth potential and how you might be able to achieve that growth (you already have the people that are pleased, you don't fully have the people who aren't pleased).

Now, sometimes people are just on the wrong side of what's popular, and that's certainly true of fans too. It happens with just about all of us at one time or another, I'm sure. But the industry can tell this through simpe sale figures.

<Semi-fictional example>If the new Harry Potter novel is selling as well as the last one, then maybe the people raging over it are simply a vocal minority that Rowling and her publishers can safely tune out. But if the new Harry Potter novel sees a 30% drop in sales compared to the sales for the most recent previous novel, then maybe those raging fans are indicative of something more than just a vocal minority (in which case, Rowling and her publishers might be wise to really consider what they're saying).

Without those raging fans, Rowling and her publishers have less to go on to try to determine what caused the 30% sales drop. With those raging fans, they might have a bit more of an idea of what caused it. </Semi-fictional example>


Sometimes the critical fan is right and the industry is wrong. Not always, probably not even most often, but sometimes. And it's only through critical fans speaking up that an industry can know where it might be going wrong at times.

If you "adapt" to mistakes all you're going to get is more mistakes.


Quote:
It's not like the execs at these companies are reading this forum and going "man, these kids have so much insight into the anime industry!". If anything, they laugh at our arrogance despite not actually knowing anything at all. We shouldn't think of ourselves as higher than we ought to.
I don't think that's entirely fair of you.

Many of us follow anime DVD/Blu-Ray sales figures. We know when shows do well, and we know when they bomb. Many of us, including myself, have spent some time and thought trying to figure out what makes anime shows sell and what doesn't, based in large part on those sales figures and trying to pick out patterns.

We're not completely ignorant, as your wording implies.
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Old 2012-06-14, 17:53   Link #148
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In the end, it's majority opinion that will hold the most sway. Whether it's labelling a term as a genre or demographic, or deciding which direction a medium evolves, the one to prevail will be the perspective that is shared by a larger portion of the consumer base. Opinions and judgements are fine and all, but it does not hold much water if it isn't shared by anyone.

Of course, that's under the assumption that the industry's primary goal is profit, as opposed to being artistic.
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Old 2012-06-14, 18:09   Link #149
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This thread turning into another merry-go-round The thing is no matter what the critical fans(myself included) think or say it's the paying fanbase that decides what is produced and what isn't. After all the industry is all about making money and no matter how much we may want it to change it isn't happening.

@Triple_R - The problem with your hypothetical example is that those 30% consumers are part of the raging fans - whereas in the case of anime the paying fans who aren't satisfied with what's being produced is way too low(otherwise we wouldn't be seeing the trend that's going on right now)
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Old 2012-06-14, 19:22   Link #150
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Originally Posted by Eragon View Post

@Triple_R - The problem with your hypothetical example is that those 30% consumers are part of the raging fans - whereas in the case of anime the paying fans who aren't satisfied with what's being produced is way too low(otherwise we wouldn't be seeing the trend that's going on right now)
Well, my point was a general one. My point wasn't that the anime industry is getting it wrong now. Maybe they're not. Maybe they're mostly/entirely getting it right. Yeah, DVD/Blu-Ray sales for anime have been great lately. There's no denying that.

But back in 2008 and 2009, things weren't looking quite as rosy. Since then, anime has come out with Madoka Magica, AnoHana, Steins;Gate, and a lot of other shows that were both critically well-received and commercially well-received.

The anime industry's direction improved, imo. That doesn't mean it always will, or that it's perfect right now. But credit where credit is due.
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Old 2012-06-14, 20:23   Link #151
Random32
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Originally Posted by Kaioshin Sama View Post
You need to look no further than the current financial crisis' plaguing the world's economy to see how the so-called "invisible hand" and market forces don't always guide industry in a positive direction. They can just as easily lead to ruination as they can to prosperity if left completely unchecked and with nobody to make quality judgement calls on how to influence them.
If the market is a circlejerk fueled by false assumptions that are false and very important, things will be left unchecked and bad stuff will result.

I don't think the anime industry is that though. A simplified version of what happened to the world economy was that everyone assumed it would keep getting better and made absurd risks based on that. The anime industry keeps trying to figure out what its fans want, and on some rare occasions, what non fans would want to watch so they can be dragged into the fandom. When it makes a false assumption, and the assumption is revealed as false, the anime industry doesn't just plow forward. If something is a sales flop, they try to figure out what went wrong, and adjust for next time.

Quote:
Also blind faith is just never a good thing and should never ever at any point be put ahead of one's own sound judgement....although a second opinion never hurts to have as well.
It assumes one's own judgement is sound. Some people have much more qualified opinions than others.

People with computer problems post on the tech support board, executives run companies instead of assembly line workers, companies hire consultants instead of relying on less qualified internal opinions.

I don't think its blind faith at all to put a more qualified opinion in front of your own.

Quote:
The execs probably care little of what foreigners in general think of anime (Something I think is not good by the way),
I think that is awesome, so those hairy gaijin don't corrupt my animu.

In all seriousness, I enjoy anime because its Japanese. If I wanted to watch western tastes, I would turn on the television.

But that is my opinion, and a pretty unqualified one at that. If the western anime market ever jumps back to the point that there can be profitable anime catering to it, the industry will respond with anime catering to the west.

Quote:
This thread turning into another merry-go-round The thing is no matter what the critical fans(myself included) think or say it's the paying fanbase that decides what is produced and what isn't. After all the industry is all about making money and no matter how much we may want it to change it isn't happening.
The critical paying fans are listened to.
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Old 2012-06-14, 20:59   Link #152
Akito Kinomoto
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Originally Posted by Random32 View Post
It assumes one's own judgement is sound. Some people have much more qualified opinions than others.

People with computer problems post on the tech support board, executives run companies instead of assembly line workers, companies hire consultants instead of relying on less qualified internal opinions.

I don't think its blind faith at all to put a more qualified opinion in front of your own.
...Why can't we have both the opinion of the customer and the thoughts of the producers and weigh them differently depending on the situation? Sounds a lot more dependable than setting a permanent credence either way.
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Originally Posted by Random32 View Post
In all seriousness, I enjoy anime because its Japanese. If I wanted to watch western tastes, I would turn on the television.
Methinks most western otakus enjoy anime for its versatility. In which case, a narrow range of content doesn't lend itself to any of that. I think what he was getting at was that the industry couldn't care less about what the western fanbase thinks so long as the Japanese buyers enjoy eating their favorite cereal every day for every meal.
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The critical paying fans are listened to.
Depends on how many paying fans go "shut up and take my money" over "shut up and listen to my concerns."
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Old 2012-06-14, 21:59   Link #153
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Originally Posted by Akito_Kinomoto View Post
...Why can't we have both the opinion of the customer and the thoughts of the producers and weigh them differently depending on the situation? Sounds a lot more dependable than setting a permanent credence either way.
I agree. Just with that quote, I assumed that it was about the direction would be best for the industry to stay alive/thrive. Which, the opinion of the producers has more weight than an individual fan.

Quote:
Depends on how many paying fans go "shut up and take my money" over "shut up and listen to my concerns."
Shut up and take my money fans are obviously happy. The way anime is produced and sold (low volume high prices) means that very very niche series can be made. The minimum number of fans that want something different it takes to get something different is relatively very low, so I would say the concerns of the paying customers are listened to pretty well.
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Old 2012-06-14, 22:24   Link #154
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
My point wasn't that the anime industry is getting it wrong now. Maybe they're not. Maybe they're mostly/entirely getting it right. Yeah, DVD/Blu-Ray sales for anime have been great lately. There's no denying that.

But back in 2008 and 2009, things weren't looking quite as rosy. Since then, anime has come out with Madoka Magica, AnoHana, Steins;Gate, and a lot of other shows that were both critically well-received and commercially well-received.

The anime industry's direction improved, imo. That doesn't mean it always will, or that it's perfect right now. But credit where credit is due.
This is more along the lines of what I was trying to get at.

Consider what I was saying in the context of the theme/message of this thread: a perceived problem that "shounen" isn't shounen enough anymore because it's being "infected" (so to speak) by elements the poster finds less desirable (in this case shounen-ai and bishounen). So, the issue is basically "I am not being well-served by the latest trends". That's totally fine, and a perfectly reasonable opinion to have! We're all customers, and our personal preferences and reactions to the trends impact the money we spend on this hobby. And the culmination of everyone's opinions and reactions is what ultimately impacts the bottom line. It's good to have opinions and to express them.

But, you (speaking in the general sense, not to you in particular) also have to think a little bit beyond your own point of view if you're going to take the leap and talk about industry trends and speculate about "what the industry needs to do". I mean, is it a problem to you, or is it a problem to everyone? What is the net impact of the trend? Are the amount of new fans being attracted by the trend being offset by those being turned away? Why did they think to try this trend in the first place? Who are they trying to please? What is the impact of the proposed counter-trend/change? What is the cost? What is the risk? Why might they not be going that way right now? Where does it seem like they may be heading instead, and why might that seem like a good idea to them?

So basically, it's complicated, but in my opinion it's rare that people really try to think of things beyond their own personal point of view, and/or have a really hard time escaping the "gravitational force" of their own bias.

It's in that context that I am saying I have more faith in evolution of the marketplace than in the opinion of disgruntled fans. Particularly when, as you say, the evidence we see points to the fact that domestic sales over these last few years are doing quite well. Some people talk as if they're so damn sure that they have their finger on the pulse of what's wrong with anime today... but I'm not so easily convinced.

I know that many people are trying to pitch this thread as a basic misunderstanding of what a demographic is or is supposed to represent (that it's not a genre and doesn't describe the content), but I don't think it's actually about definition of terms. I think it's more about encountering trends you don't like, and worrying that it's overtaking the types of shows/works/franchises you love. Eliminate terminology entirely, and the same basic issue exists. And that's why I say this isn't so unlike our previous threads about disliked trends. Of course, that's just my own take on it.


At the end of the day, I think many of you were putting more weight on the one statement I made outside of the context of everything else. Given the current state of the anime industry, I'm not so convinced when people speak about problems as if they're so obvious. And further, I'm not convinced that I have a better idea about how to guide the anime industry than those involved in it do. I'm sure if you take this and try to make it into an overriding principle that governs every aspect of life, it's not applicable. But I'm basically of the opinion that, the more you know, the more you realize how little you know. I've done a fair bit of studying of the industry and have been a big customer for many years (and have written a lot of guides about various things), but I think analysing large-scale trends based on personal preferences is fraught with peril. Most people have too much invested on a personal level to really give it a cold, hard look based on numbers and facts. (A lot of people don't want to be told that their preferences and opinions are, perhaps, on the way out.)


Edit: Regarding the comic book example, I want to say that I also believe that some genres/media/styles are cyclical, and some may just be destined to grow more obscure and perhaps eventually die. But it's interesting that, even though comic books themselves have never recovered, the companies involved are currently making a lot of money through feature film adaptations. So though the book side may never recover, they found a way to keep the franchises alive and to evolve (at least for now). I'm similarly not sure that anime as we know it today will be around forever. As technology continues to evolve and change, who knows if there'll still be wide interest in this style of art. When that happens, I'm not sure if it'll be because of any given bad decision or combination of bad decisions, or that there will really be any given thing to blame (though no doubt some will claim it so at the time!). But I do have faith that, if not anime as we know it today, there'll still be "something". I'm looking forward to seeing whatever that may be. This is why I'm not too worried about things like "bishounen in my shounen" -- a trend (if it even is a trend) isn't a destination, and the destination is always changing. We just have to keep enough interest and passion to stay on the ride.
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Old 2012-06-14, 22:30   Link #155
Akito Kinomoto
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Originally Posted by Random32 View Post
I agree. Just with that quote, I assumed that it was about the direction would be best for the industry to stay alive/thrive. Which, the opinion of the producers has more weight than an individual fan.
Not necessarily. A business and client relationship should work both ways for the good and bad times. Otherwise you might end up with, say, JP Morgan losing a gigantic bet. Real sound judgment those executives/businesspeople had eh?
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Originally Posted by Random32 View Post
The minimum number of fans that want something different it takes to get something different is relatively very low, so I would say the concerns of the paying customers are listened to pretty well.
It isn't a matter of different shows being made so much as it is enough of them being made to change general trends. Whether or not the face of anime will be completely different 5 or 10 years from now remains to be seen.
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Old 2012-06-14, 23:19   Link #156
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Key word is individual. The consensus of all the customers is pretty important for a company to listen to. But each individual customer, not so much.

I think in 10 years anime will be different. Still recognizable, but new trends and fads would have set in by then.
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Old 2012-06-15, 13:29   Link #157
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There's nothing wrong with girls liking things meant for guys (and the reverse).

I think anyone will find that quality is gender blind in it's appeal.
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Old 2012-06-15, 17:46   Link #158
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
There's nothing wrong with girls liking things meant for guys (and the reverse).

I think anyone will find that quality is gender blind in it's appeal.
Strawberry Panic, Kannazuki no Miko and Sasameki Koto are good shoujo-ai shows but I don't think women are watching them. They are obviously made by and for men. Women might feel awkward watching them, if not morally and sexually wrong. Same thing for men watching shounen-ai shows Togainu no Chi for example.

High School dXd is a good ecchi anime(for me) but I really doubt women are watching it. I also not yet see any women watched Yosuga no Sora except for Joyce_Steele, who is my MyAnimeList friend.

Yes women are likely to see moe slice-of-life shows like Lucky Star, K-On! and Channel-A than any shoujo-ai shows maybe because it had less lesbians. Yes women are just as homophobic as men are.

Do women read Yuri Hime Wildrose(smutty version of Yuri Hime)? I doubt it but it safe to say Yuri Hime Wildrose is exclusively made for men than women.
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Old 2012-06-15, 18:04   Link #159
aohige
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NK_500 View Post
Yes women are likely to see moe slice-of-life shows like Lucky Star, K-On! and Channel-A than any shoujo-ai shows maybe because it had less lesbians. Yes women are just as homophobic as men are.
I.... don't even know where to start with you.

You obviously have no clue on shoujo manga, and have never even read any magazine.
Yuri (girl on girl) is first of all, a term and genre spawned FROM girls' novels and stageplay.
It has been a very, very popular theme in girls' magazines.
In fact, there have been entire magazines with Yuri theme for girls.

In fact, ALL the famous, popular pioneers of this genre in field of manga were SHOUJO MANGA.

It had such a wide appeal among female readers, the theme was popularized in even major young girl magazines such as Ribbon and Nakayoshi, two largest manga magazines aimed at young little girls. And I mean YOUNG.

You are simply, utterly, 100% wrong on all facts.
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Old 2012-06-15, 18:04   Link #160
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I am not really a fan of yuri or yaoi, however I welcome a well written romantic relationship between male/male & female/female in a story I am just not into the fanboy/fangirl aspects of it.

And for the record I know quite a few girls who love Yuri stuff. Utena (which is definitely popular with a female fan base) had some Yuri elements but it was tastefully done. I also know a lot of girls who ship the Madoka girls together. Heck I can totally see it myself.

Anyways I think dividing stuff for men & women is just stupid. I especially don't like the tone in some of these posts that things that a woman might like are inherently bad or that women should stick to their women's things...I am sorry but WTH?


edit: I am not as familiar with classic shoujo as Aohige probably is but I forgot all about the yuri elements in Rose of Versailles (one of my absolute favorite series).
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