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Old 2004-02-04, 05:07   Link #1
Quarkboy
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Predictions!

Ala "The Maclaughlin Group"....

Post your predictions here!

My prediction:

In five years, at least one major Japanese animation studio will have been accquired by an american company, e.g. Pixar (now no longer tied to the Disney leash) might buy out Gonzo...

Because of this and an emerging market for anime in america, more and more anime will be produced with an international (read: american) audience in mind. This "Westernization" of anime will be offset, however, by a suitable increase in smaller, independent animation studios that will be made possible by the complete digitization of the production process.

More and more people will download fansubbed anime, however the growth will be tied directly to the growth of number of households with high-speed internet connections, and thus will represent only a fictitious growth in the overall popularity of fansubbing, and will eventually level off at around 100,000 downloads for the most popular shows.

The time from an anime's licensing to DVD will not decrease, nor will the speed at which shows are licenced (as both are primarily market effects), however pre-licensing will become more and more prevelant as more and more shows are co-produced by american companies.

And that's all my predictions so far... Discuss!

And my answer to the first three replies are:
1."Wrong!"
2."Wrong!"
3."Wrong!"
The answer was "California will be contestable by Bush in 2004, because of the recall election."

Bye Bye!
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Old 2004-02-04, 05:33   Link #2
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Note: renamed the thread with a more relevant title (was: Predictions!).
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Old 2004-02-04, 05:35   Link #3
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Thanks for cooking up a decent thread ^_^

hm, Gonzo... Pixar can have Gonzo. Gonzo makes money but I don't find their work to be ambitious really.

"International" anime is already being produced. The examples are all those shows which ooze into American Saturday mornings - Pokemon, Digimon, I don't keep track anymore. These shows are carefully crafted to bring upfront commitments from American TV.

One prediction I will make is that in the next 5 years Korea and China will step out of the shadow of Japan and compete on the world market with animation series produced in their native languages. A stopgap measure would be to have Chinese content produced in the Korean studios.

American ownership of a Japanese studio could bring about internet sales of streamed or downloadable subtitled anime series in a medium-quality media format. One way to create demand would be to pre-sell subscriptions to upcoming titles and give plenty of advance notice in English on a studio website.

I also predict that in 5 years the American market for all things anime will be in a fairly deep rut caused by a combination of steadily declining product quality, bad marketing and general burnout.
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Old 2004-02-04, 14:44   Link #4
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okay okay okay.. first of all.. NICE PREDICTIONS... i would have to agree w/ Quarkboy but with some changes...

~anime will become even MORE popular then it is today, because everyone will relize it's coolnest. And it is part of our generation...

~They will finally figure out that having the world downloading there anime is bad for them, because they are not making money from there hard work, so they will devlop a very good system, that will be hard for people to hack.

thats really it that is on my mind right n0w... hehehehe
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Old 2004-02-04, 14:47   Link #5
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The anime industry in Japan is in its late "bubble" stages.
Be forewarned - it'll pop soon, much like the economy did in 1990.
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Old 2004-02-04, 16:47   Link #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kj1980
The anime industry in Japan is in its late "bubble" stages.
Be forewarned - it'll pop soon, much like the economy did in 1990.
Can you be more specific? What exactly do you think will happen because of the "pop"?

Will the studios consolidate, and focus on producing less, but higher quality shows?
Or will we simply see less new anime, and lower quality shows?
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Old 2004-02-04, 19:11   Link #7
kj1980
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quarkboy
Can you be more specific? What exactly do you think will happen because of the "pop"?

Will the studios consolidate, and focus on producing less, but higher quality shows?
Or will we simply see less new anime, and lower quality shows?
Fair enough:

Currently, there are close to 60-70 animes showing here in Japan right now.

What can be said in term of anime business as a whole is "we have too much supply of anime against the actual demand for it." (Watanabe Takashi, editor-in-chief, Newtype Magazine).

Let me clarify that there are two types of anime, on basis of Video Research (comparable to Nielsen in the States?) Ratings:

To simplify, I'll use Mr. Watanabe's "60 anime shows total in a week" as a reference
A. Only 10%~15% of the anime that is being aired right now actually gets VR-ratings of over 10% ("Doraemon," "Sazae-san," "Chibi-Maruko-chan" "Crayon Shinchan," "Inuyasha," "Detective Conan," "Naruto," "One Piece.") - Video Research
B. The rest 90%~85% of the animes, in general, get VR-ratings as low as 0.1%~5% ratings. - Video Research
Each anime costs around USD$300,000 per episode to make.
A 10%-and-above MR-rating anime can easily get multi-billion dollar corporations like Lotte, Glico, and House Foods as sponsors, and the studios can easily get loans from banks as these animes has already proven themselves that they are "money makers" by the amount of manga that is being sold. Hence, these animes also get the "golden time" slots of 6:00~8:00PM on weekdays on a regular VHF channel

On the other hand, you have the rest of the anime, which have good stories and high qualities as well, will never see the daylight as the animes noted above. Why?

1. Though more and more animes here as well are becoming based on a manga or a novel, compared to the "best-sellers" they are rather dim and dull. If a bank and a corporate sponsor had to choose between funding an anime which is based on a manga that sells more than a million copies ("Inuyasha," "Meitantei Conan") to something that sells barely above the 200,000 mark "Chrno Crusade" "Maria-sama ga Miteru," of course the they are going to chase after something that can rake in more money.

2. Most of these animes are made not toward "the casual viewer," but toward "older anime fans." While animes like "Doraemon" and "Sazae-san" are national icons that are watched by old and young generations alike, it is hard to see something like "Maburaho" becoming an anime that is to be viewed while eating dinner.

Hence, these animes are shoved into obscure timeslots like 1~3AM in the midst of the night, and shown on "minor local" UHF stations or BS/CS satellite channels.

Then who sponsors these animes? I noted myself on a different thread that many of the sponsors who fund these types of animes are anime-related companies (i.e.: Lantis, Bandai, Broccoli, etc). These animes will never get the ratings as "Doraemon" and "Sazae-san," so they are less likely to be funded by multi-national banks and corporations. These animes are made by many different anime companies funding each other. Their profit mainly comes from DVD and goods sales. At USD$300,000 per episode, the anime companies need to do whatever it takes to rake in a profit...hence you have very expensive DVD costs and abundance of goods and items. They are also most likely to sell their licenses to reduce the amount of profit they need to recover. That is how these smaller, anime companies did to survive.

However, as more and more animes get made as more and more minor anime companies jump on this bandwagon in such a style, they are just spiraling themselves as a whole to death.

If there was only a few of these types of anime raking in 5% ratings each, then they would still be profittable and be afloat. But as you have more than 40~50 of these types of "minor animes," they are just cutting into the minority "anime lover" population...which only cuts back that 5% each into smaller and smaller ratings distributed to more anime shows. As these anime shows get harder and harder to profitize, they will end up producing more and more goods and DVDs, licensing them to the States at a higher and higher cost to attract the buyers.

But the demand is limited. The "anime lover" population that these animes are catered to are limited. Even "anime lovers" have their own life to worry about. They cannot watch seven different shows on seven different channels at 1~3AM in the night everyday....they have to go to work and/or school the next day. The point comes to the issue "it's great that there is so much anime, but so little time." Less time means lesser viewers divided upon more and more anime shown at such time. Lesser viewers means, lesser profits, lesser profits means more and more goods and DVDs at a higher price.

The way of these types of animes are going exactly the way of real-estate and finance escalations in the 1980s and early 1990s in Japan. Inflation of prices and monstrous outcroppings of banks and real estate agencies, more and more writs of bad loans, to a point where demand itself disappeared. What happened was a huge financial crash that left Japanese economy in ruins and a decade-and-counting economic recession that Japan has yet to recover from.

It maybe great that we have so much anime to choose from. But with so much anime to watch, it only makes these anime companies harder and harder to profitize....(point taken in strong contrast to this board). Once the point comes where profit is unavailable with a dramatic drop in funds....the bubble is going to "pop."

Frankly, as an anime watcher since the 1980s, this anime abundance is very scary. Back when I was a child, there were only seven channels on VHF (plus some minor ones on UHF) that I can watch. Limited channels means only the anime that were "worth showing on TV" were aired.

Now we have several additional channels on BS satellite, over 500 channels on CS satellite in addition to the VHF and UHF channels. With an abundance of channels, animes "that aren't profitable by regular means" can have their shows aired on an alternate channel.

But as you can see....more only leads to "slowly strangling yourself to death"

Last edited by kj1980; 2006-03-22 at 20:05.
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Old 2004-02-04, 19:27   Link #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quarkboy
Can you be more specific? What exactly do you think will happen because of the "pop"?

Will the studios consolidate, and focus on producing less, but higher quality shows?
Or will we simply see less new anime, and lower quality shows?
I'm sorry, I read your post once more again, and I realized you wanted to know my premonitions on what going to happen AFTER the bubble bursts.

Well, if anyone knew that it would take over ten years and counting for the Japanese economy to get out of the recession, we would have runaway suicide rates for the past several years here...

If I corrollate with what happening to our economy with the state of anime in Japan, then:

A. mergers (domestic and foreign)
B. government protection
C. export anime production overseas (even more so that right now)
D. bunkruptcies and insolvencies of small "ineffective" anime studios
E. lesser anime, more-or-less same quality
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Old 2004-02-04, 20:09   Link #9
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My prediction(actually, it isn't a prediction. I just hope it becomes true):

There will be more Lupin The 3rd movies!!!!

Lupin rocks!
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Old 2004-02-04, 20:10   Link #10
kj1980
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichMan
My prediction(actually, it isn't a prediction. I just hope it becomes true):

There will be more Lupin The 3rd movies!!!!

Lupin rocks!
I don't know about movies, but Lupin III TV specials have become an annual thing for the past several years.
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Old 2004-02-04, 20:56   Link #11
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Interesting. Do you feel that the increased consideration given towards the "marketability" and "commercial feasibility" of an anime series before it is put into production will negatively impact anime as an art form?

Many would argue that, in today's environment, we are already beginning to see stagnation in terms of concepts and ideas. As you so aptly put it, kj1980, only a very small percentage of what gets put to market now is truly commercially successful. Most of the rest survives in a niche market, and is barely able to break even as it stands. This is roughly similar to the video game industry, where 5% of the titles generate 95% of the sales (or something like that).

One could argue that the death of the smaller, less successful companies will have a negligible impact on anime as an industry (since they were already "less successful" anyways). However, if you look at anime as an "art form", over-commercialization could result in less creativity, less quality, and an increase in formula-driven carefully-constructed market hits. As a fan of anime, do you find this concerning, or do you think we're already there anyways?

In other words, if the "bubble bursts", will that mean the beginning of the end of the anime art form, or just the beginning of a new chapter?

Sorry for the tough questions; this is a very interesting topic.
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Old 2004-02-04, 22:46   Link #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kj1980
A. mergers (domestic and foreign)
B. government protection
C. export anime production overseas (even more so that right now)
D. bunkruptcies and insolvencies of small "ineffective" anime studios
E. lesser anime, more-or-less same quality
A. Your critique of the current state of anime is actually why I made my prediction above.
B. Government protection? For ANIME? Now government subsidies for banks to keep solvency I can understand but... Are you seriously suggesting that the Japanese government will start subsidizing anime studios to keep them from going bankrupt?
C. No different then any other job (tech-support, for example) that can be outsourced, basically a function of globalization. This would occur even with a growing demand for anime (since it is simply a good buisiness decision).
D. Most of the companies will probably not go bankrupt, but will return to doing what they did before branching out into anime (making h-games or something). Actually, I wonder what will become of the people making these shows for smaller companies when they get fired? Will they form their own groups and start again? Or maybe just go back to being unemployed.
E. This might be offset by more anime-style shows from Korea.

Here's another, more out on a limb prediction:

In 5-10 years, american anime fans will look a lot like the japanese fans do today. Fansubbing and other quick transfer methods will continue to split the fanbase here into two groups: Those who watch shows as they are broadcast (approximately), and those who watch the shows when they come on american television (or on DVD).
The most popular animes (those that get the higher ratings in Japan) will be shown on the networks or the most popular cable channels, whereas the niche anime will only be available on DVD. Because of no TV time and poor DVD sales, less and less niche titles will be licensed to be brought over here. And the fans won't care since they already have perfect quality MPEG5 subs of them anyway. This might have a backlash effect on the anime studios themselves, who had begun to rely upon the revenue from international licensing to remain profitable.
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Old 2004-02-04, 23:00   Link #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quarkboy
B. Government protection? For ANIME? Now government subsidies for banks to keep solvency I can understand but... Are you seriously suggesting that the Japanese government will start subsidizing anime studios to keep them from going bankrupt?
It does sound strange, but indeed has happened several times in the past. One recent memory is government intervention to GAINAX, which has problems with tax evasion. Another is a landmark case in which the government stepped in to take care who owns the rights to "Uchuu Senkan Yamato" (Nishiwaki v. Matsumoto).

And more so this is possible as in 2001, The Ministry of Cultural Affairs officially proclaimed "anime" as part of Japanese culture - which means it is eligible for government subsidies and protection from foreign competitors.
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Old 2004-11-09, 23:30   Link #14
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kj1980 said "Each anime costs around USD$300,000 per episode to make."

Is that the average cost? Is that for TV? OVA? Movies? I'm pretty sure Ebichu didn't cost that much per episode. XD
Where can you find that info? I want to know how much money it takes to make a TV episode.

I only know the cost of some anime movies.
SteamBoy ~ $24 million
Innocence ~ $20 million http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innocen...t_in_the_Shell
Street Fighter Animated Movie ~ $5 million
GiTS move ~ $3 million (?)

My prediction is that the anime bubble will burst only if America stops licensing the newer shows. When the anime fad is over in America, so will the crunch come to the anime industry.
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Old 2004-11-10, 00:10   Link #15
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Thanks to LK_LoA for resurrecting this thread!

Yes I agree with kj1980 there seems to be so many "niche" anime titles today.
I have been TV-less for the past 2 years, watching nothing but fansubs.

After working a 10 hour day, I go home, fire up the computer, catch up on 6 episodes out of the two dozen series I am following. Every day. Sometimes it might only be 3 new episodes but other times it will be 10 episodes. Thats 5 fucking hours in a night!

But there is hope for the industry. We have independents like Makoto Shinkai and I'm sure more of those like him will come by and while they may use off-the-shelf components, their techniques will be more personal, and hence, more revolutionary.

One-man (woman) animation studios and small groups, that will be good. Unless, of course, they become the 20-employee companies that compete with each other to pump out harem shows, that's a different story.

I question that US $300,000 per episode. That must include the cost of the voice acting and pre-production. I work at a farm-out studio myself and at most the client is only willing to cough up $45,000 for production work. And it isn't even anime, but more expensive, i.e. American cartoons.
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Old 2004-11-10, 00:18   Link #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LK_LoA
kj1980 said "Each anime costs around USD$300,000 per episode to make."

Is that the average cost? Is that for TV? OVA? Movies? I'm pretty sure Ebichu didn't cost that much per episode. XD
Way to bring up an old topic...

The average cost that goes into making an anime episode is roughly divided into two parts:

USD$150,000 pre-production and production
USD$150,000 post-production (including marketing, advertising, etc.) other variable costs

For a total of roughly USD$300,000.

Suggested reading (no I am not going to translate someone's dissertation):
http://www.kochi-tech.ac.jp/library/...g7/1065076.pdf

Just because "an anime that looks like it didn't use much money" does not mean it was made with less budget - they all use the same underpaid and overworked genga (key animators) who are barely able to survive. The voices used in "Orusuban Ebichu" are prominent seiyuus (i.e.: Mitsuishi Kotono-san) which are considerably higher than paying a seiyuu without much experience.

As noted above, "anime" does not comprise of "just drawings." They also consist of the seisaku desk, sound editors, recording engineers, musical composers, lyric writers, marketing staff, producers - they all add up to the cost.
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Old 2004-11-10, 00:18   Link #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaFool
But there is hope for the industry. We have independents like Makoto Shinkai and I'm sure more of those like him will come by and while they may use off-the-shelf methods, their techniques will be more personal, and hence, more revolutionary.

One-man (woman) animation studios and small groups, that will be good. Unless, of course, they become the 20-employee companies that compete with each other to pump out harem shows, that's a different story.
Well...small independent studios are all well and good, but the problem is how to give these small-time productions enough exposure (especially to the audience outside of Japan). Like kj1980 said (wow, this thread had been hibernating for a long time), the vast majority of anime shows today are simply not getting enough audience. Sort of similar to the independent comicbook/sequential art scene of the U.S., there are a lot of gems out there; people just have a really hard time getting to them because they're just not getting picked up by the popularity radar - precisely due to the fact that these anime may be targetting a smaller audience group or lack traditional (read: cliched) materials.
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Old 2004-11-10, 00:53   Link #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kj1980

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pepperidge
You know, I kind of hope that the entire portion of the industry fuelling late night "otaku" anime collapses. Companies need to focus on creating original shows that have mainstream appeal and will work in primetime hours. That entire mentality seems to have dissapeared since the late nineties.
Ideally, yes - I agree with you.

Unfortunately, the mood of companies that sponsors such anime houses only care about profits - hence they all take the "safe path" in backing-up shows that was previously shown to be profitable (i.e.: games, mangas, novels, etc.)

"Original" shows are risky - they can either provide massive success or flop down the oblivion.

"Gensaku-tsuki" (based-on) shows are safe paths - it brings in the hard-core fans of original medium to buy the DVDs.
Yeah, it is unfortunate, and the fact that even shows based on popular shounen manga like Negima are getting the 1am treatment isn't promising in the least bit. And these constant h-game adaptations, regardless of their quality, is virtually the last thing the industry should be doing.

What sparked the movement of original series' from primetime to early morning anyway? Didn't it happen around the time Cowboy Bebop got cut short in its inital timeslot?
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Old 2004-11-10, 01:39   Link #19
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It's my thread! And it's ALIVE!
Anyway...

A new question to discuss... What effects do you think the exploding popularity of manga and anime in America will have (or IS having) on the state of the industry in Japan? Will series that maybe wouldn't have been made get made with American support? Will anime studios start producing anime directly with an American audience in mind? Does it have no effect at all?

I personally think that we might very well end up being the industry bail out that kj1980 suggested might be neccesary.
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Old 2004-11-10, 01:48   Link #20
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Not just American, but global licensing and co-productions.

Like Gonzo (GDH KK) set up shop in France to explore co-productions for European animations, just in time when Gankutsuou is airing.

Implications of anime "globalization" or maybe more appropriately, westernization:

* English / French / Italian / German / OP / ED themes and titles. --- Personally, I think they rock. Makes them more mainstream, not just a "wow lookee its a foreign language"

* Existentialism. YEAH. I love that philosophy, and it's showing up in more anime, not just in Last Exile. Like Elfen Lied, Kurau.

* more realistic settings -- although they tend to choose European feels more. But if it makes animation and backgrounds look good, that's a nice thing.
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