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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Wired News: Anime, the Next Generation

Wired News:
For starters, as more U.S. distributors compete for the hottest titles, the costs to license the series from their Japanese creators are increasing. And fans are paying the price -- anime DVDs are some of the most expensive on the market, at an average price of $26 each.

At Otakon this year, they sold out of weekend passes early Saturday morning. There were almost 25,000 anime fans at the convention, from all over the country. Many of the folks I talked to hadn't heard of the classic anime series like Evangelion or Ranma 1/2 -- very few got the Panda reference I was trying to make. Anime has definitely gone mainstream, with shows from Cartoon Network and Fox dominating the pack. I tend to think that, like any other fandom that gets some mainstream lovin', the anime fandom is shallower for it.

Now, don't flame on yet; that's not the end of the world. Things always get watered down when they become trendy. But what happens is that some people are introduced to the darker depths of the fandom because they found it through mainstream channels. Somebody watches Naruto on Cartoon Network, Googles it, and three years later is downloading that last Hellsing episode off IRC. Hey, it could happen, right?

I'm hoping the direction that mainstreaming anime will take is to increase the general population of core anime fans, once the trendy, outside crowd finds something new to do. Hopefully, with an increased population of interested fans, the depth and breadth of the anime kingdom will increase a little bit. Right now anime fans are heavily concentrated towards younger folks (in the 13-23 range), and a large population is dedicated to the livejournal / Gaia-type people. I'm hoping the mainstreaming of anime will help iron out some of those wrinkles, so the fandom can become a little more diverse overall.

I don't think the mainstreaming of anime will ruin the fandom. Though I constantly curse companies like Funimation or ADV for licensing and ruining good shows like One Piece, there is a lot more good anime coming out than licensing corporations can keep up with. The fandom is huge, and hopefully with a mainstream incoming person-flow, it will get a little more interesting to boot.

Technorati tags: anime, mainstream


Blogger Morganlefay83 said...

See? That was my big complaint with Otakon. There were LOTS of people there who only knew anime as "them crazy perverted japanese cartoons that comes on late nights on toonami." It was REALLY obnoxious to listen to them saying "what's that?" and "i don't get it" to every common ass anime refference throughout the Megatokyo panel and a few others. Seriously, what are you guys doing here? because if you actually wanted to learn anything you'd have to shut your mouth for 5 mins. and stop asking the speaker stupid cartoon network questions that don't make any sense. Oops, i'm rambling. Anyway, Those people could easily be picked out as the ginourous group of retards doing the electric slide at the dance. By people showing so much support for the crap on tv, it just drives up the demand for more butchered crap on tv to the point where producers like FUNimation say "screw you hardcore fans, we're making WAAAAAY more money playing Naruto on cartoon network than releasing quality DVDs." I think there was a point to that, but i forgot it.

But i will say that though your panda suite was really nice, i owned 3/4 of Ranma 1/2 on VHS 8 years ago, i wouldn't have gotten it as a Genma refrence either 'cuz the eyes and color patterns weren't correct. But if you haven't even heard of Evangelion, you have no buisness being at an anime convention. Did you notice that almost all the screenings were dubbed? They're why. Feel free to google anime before you take con space away from actual fans. I should really compose my thoughts before i write them.

Also, i don't think this will ultimately improve the fanbase at all. Stupid people have stupid friends. Stupid people have no desire to learn more. And stupid people will just get their stupid friends into stupid fox kids anime and the stupid will multiply. Maybe a few people will care enough to learn more about anime and actually turn into fans, but i doubt that number of people will compare to the amount of idiots who don't. I'll stop now.


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