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CNN article on the decline of the anime industry in Japan.


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hissatsu01



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:10 am Reply with quote
I found this CNN article on the decline of the industry to be surprisingly well written, though it is CNN Asia.

http://www.cnngo.com/​tokyo/​play/​decade-​anime-​682165

Of course I imagine the part on the rise of moe will likely draw the ire of fans outside Japan who confuse online popularity with real world marketability, though it's a spot on criticism as far as I'm concerned.

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Because said demographic consists almost entirely of eternally single, socially awkward men, their tastes tend towards wish-fulfillment fantasy plots starring beautiful young lolitas -- who are willing to hang out with eternally single, socially awkward men. This fetishization of girlish naiveté and innocence is soon known as "moé," and it will dictate the industry's path for the remainder of the decade. Critics, however, believe that the development will potentially hamper Japan's ability to export anime, as the moé concept comes across as utterly creepy to most foreign audiences.
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GeminiDS85



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:25 pm Reply with quote
Very fascinating article although, I believe the author is plainly bias against moe shows and is directly putting the blame onto them instead of looking at other larger issues. The popularity of the moe show is not the major reason why the anime industry is suffering. However, I do concur that the marketable of the moe show outside of a small demographic is a concern for Japanese animation companies. Sex will always sell in any medium but using adolescences as sex symbols does put off many viewers. While I have enjoyed a few moe shows such as Lucky Star, Clannad, Kanon and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, the moe show model is now becoming stale and forgettable. That being said, the popularity of the moe show will likely produced a new wave of great animation from those animators wishing to distances themselves from the stagnant popular trends. American television experienced a similar transformation about a decade ago when the reality show craze had taken over. In the aftermath of the explosion of reality shows, many of the wonderful television programs of the decade emerged. The audience could only take so much of any popular trend before they began to resist, hopefully, the moe craze will spawn the next Evangelion from an animator sick of the crying little Lolita.

Last edited by GeminiDS85 on Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:54 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Zalis116
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:32 pm Reply with quote
GeminiDS85 wrote:
Very fascinating article although, I believe the author is plainly bias against moe shows and is directly putting the blame onto them instead of looking at other larger issues.
No, I think he's taking Mike Toole, Zac, and the ANN review staff as representative of the views of "most foreign audiences" on moe.
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GeminiDS85



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:03 pm Reply with quote
Hmm… For me, who is inexperienced compared to the collection of critics of ANN the moe show model has always existed in the anime I have watched. I can see how the veteran anime fan might perceive this moe trend to be a detriment to the popularity of the anime industry worldwide because of the types of shows that popularized the anime industry in the late nineties. The drastic switch from complex dramas such as Serial Experiments Lain and Neon Genesis Evangelion to the fluff of today’s anime like K-ON!, definitely should leave a sour taste in many critics mouths. The author of this article is from the same class of veteran anime fans whom have watched the progression of this genre and finds the new shows inferior to wonders of the past. While I definitely agree that shows such as Lain or Evangelion should not be considered even in the same class with K-ON!. The moe show is still very popular and introduces many people to the wonder of Japanese animation. I think the coincidence of the popularity of the moe show coinciding with the decline of DVD sales overseas might be just that, a coincidence.
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hissatsu01



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:28 pm Reply with quote
GeminiDS85 wrote:
The moe show is still very popular and introduces many people to the wonder of Japanese animation.


That's is going to be one hell of an uneventful introduction. Shows like Kanon, Clannad, K-On, etc are aimed at hardcore otaku audiences that buy DVDs in Japan. That's fine, and it doesn't even say if they're good or bad, but they're terrible at expanding an audience (even in Japan). If shows like that had been my introduction to anime, I would have never gotten into it at all.

Name one moe show that has been a big hit outside of Japan. If you're going to say Haruhi, note that it's a show that contains a moe blob, but doesn't revolve around moe. The big sales numbers given for Haruhi in the US were always fishy (around 70,000), given that 2 years after its release both the regular and special editions are still all over the place, long after the complete series release. They've shown up in Right Stuf sale specials. That's not where big sellers usually wind up, but smells exactly like a lot of unsold stock.

Quote:

I think the coincidence of the popularity of the moe show coinciding with the decline of DVD sales overseas might be just that, a coincidence.


The decline in overseas sales can probably be attributed mostly to easy access to fansubs and bootlegs and decline in the global economy. But moe shows don't help one bit. You're not getting them on TV in the US, which is what most anime hits did, so forget about building an audience like that.


Last edited by hissatsu01 on Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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dtm42



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:31 pm Reply with quote
Although I do think Moe is an important reason why Anime is in trouble, I also wish that the article had at least mentioned the impact of digital fansubs. But it did analyse how the outsourcing of animation to other countries can erode the skill base back in Japan, so that was nice.
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BES Null Core



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:00 pm Reply with quote
hissatsu01 wrote:
Name one moe show that has been a big hit outside of Japan.

Cardcaptors, probably the show that brought fetish of underaged girls to the mainstream. It's not an accident that Madison likes to dress Sakura in a different frilly costume and film her every adventure, then watch the tapes repeatedly while alone in a dark room.

An increase in the percentage of moe does not imply a decline in the absolute number of other types of shows. Given how few hit shows there really are in a given year, there should be plenty of material to choose from, in which case it's the licensers' poor choice that's the problem, not what the Japanese industry is producing.
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hissatsu01



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:37 pm Reply with quote
BES Null Core wrote:
hissatsu01 wrote:
Name one moe show that has been a big hit outside of Japan.

Cardcaptors, probably the show that brought fetish of underaged girls to the mainstream. It's not an accident that Madison likes to dress Sakura in a different frilly costume and film her every adventure, then watch the tapes repeatedly while alone in a dark room.


I have a hard time reconciling CCS as a moe show because it was a magical girl show aimed at young girls, broadcast on NHK during the day that otaku happened to latch onto, versus a show like Nanoha which is a magical girl show broadcast late at night aimed squarely at otaku. Additionally CCS was only available unedited on DVD and this was before fansubs became huge, so I'm certain that helped with sales.

Quote:
An increase in the percentage of moe does not imply a decline in the absolute number of other types of shows. Given how few hit shows there really are in a given year, there should be plenty of material to choose from, in which case it's the licensers' poor choice that's the problem, not what the Japanese industry is producing.


But there has been a marked decline in the number of shows produced compared to a few years ago. And of shows being produced now, a higher percentage are moe. You seem to be saying that licensors just aren't bringing over shows that would be hits, but what sure-fire hits do you think they're ignoring? Besides, I didn't claim that moe has been the main cause of decreasing sales (though I don't think it helps). As I said before, I'm pretty certain it's mostly due to fansubs/piracy and a slumping economy.


Last edited by hissatsu01 on Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ggultra2764
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:39 pm Reply with quote
I think with the downturn in the economy that's taken place, animation studios have taken to development on titles with scenarios and character types that have been done before which are easier to cater to anime fans as taking unconventional or original premises would be risky for most struggling studios. In other words, more moe, romantic comedy and dating sim spinoffs appear to be the norm with studios at the moment.
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Aylinn



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:40 pm Reply with quote
BES Null Core wrote:
hissatsu01 wrote:
Name one moe show that has been a big hit outside of Japan.

Cardcaptors, probably the show that brought fetish of underaged girls to the mainstream. It's not an accident that Madison likes to dress Sakura in a different frilly costume and film her every adventure, then watch the tapes repeatedly while alone in a dark room.

Was Cardcaptor Sakura successful because it has girls that can be considered moe? I don't think so.
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Zin5ki



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:09 pm Reply with quote
hissatsu01 wrote:
Of course I imagine the part on the rise of moe will likely draw the ire of fans outside Japan who confuse online popularity with real world marketability, though it's a spot on criticism as far as I'm concerned.

In this day and age, it is only to be expected that online popularity may not correspond to DVD sales. One questions whether such a trend is more prolific in the case of moe though. Of course, I can't expect my KyoAni favourites to be quite suited to American television in the same way certain other shows can, but are moe fans always more likely to stick to fansubs than aficionados of other sub-genres?
Alas, even if this is to be answered in the affirmative, I cannot expect R1 companies to rely on a closed fanbase in the same way they would for a show with 'universal appeal'. In spite of the popularity certain moe shows have received, the profits resulting from the licensing of such titles will be restricted by the many consumers averse to them.

I'll remain optimistic though. As GeminiDS85 mentions, something very different may eventually be made, something that provides R1 companies with a long-lasting financial boost. The companies will get their money, and with hope, I'll still get to see the less profitable shows for which I have an inclination.
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Keonyn
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:30 pm Reply with quote
I think some people just have an unrealistic expectation of how moe will be viewed. The arguments often seen here plainly show that, even amongst anime fans, there's often a huge split and rift between those that are fans and those that are not. To be honest, I agree with much of what the article says, and if you don't think people will see moe and find it at least somewhat creepy then you are fooling yourself.

It's simply not that marketable, and has little potential for tapping markets that aren't already tapped. On top of little room for expansion, there's also a large possibility that a focus on such a genre would only drive away fans who have no interest in it. Honestly, there's already been a shift in the types of shows that get brought over compared to 2+ years ago. This shift is also the primary reason why my annual anime spending has all but dried up. If moe were to dominate domestic releases, I probably wouldn't even spend a dime on anime anymore.
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ikillchicken
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:35 pm Reply with quote
Keonyn wrote:
I think some people just have an unrealistic expectation of how moe will be viewed. The arguments often seen here plainly show that, even amongst anime fans, there's often a huge split and rift between those that are fans and those that are not. To be honest, I agree with much of what the article says, and if you don't think people will see moe and find it at least somewhat creepy then you are fooling yourself.


I think the error stems from people's tendency to view is solely from their own perspective as a moe fan. They see them self and other moe fans and conclude that people like moe. As you said though, there's no more poignant indicator than just how divided the hardcore fans are on moe. In my observation at least half the fanbase has no use for the stuff. (Or worse, finds it downright weird and really hates it). If this is the response from people already quite familiar with anime and all it's quirks and weirdness then what hope does it possibly have as we move into the more mainstream market? How many people are there that are only slightly familiar or not familiar at all with anime that are going to see a moe show and go 'Hey, this is neat. I'd like to see more'. It's just not going to happen. Now I don't see anything inherently wrong with otaku focused shows. It seems like they're profitable from the hardcore base alone. But it's becoming increasingly clear that the existing base is too small and shrinking. We need more shows like Cowboy Bebop or Evangelion or really, anything from the past. It's not even a question of quality. It's one of genre. Even with some of those awful, ultra-violent 80's OVAs there's still some apeal to your average person. We need more shows that you can show to pretty much anybody and still have a chance of them saying 'Hey, that's cool. Show me more'.
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Tuor_of_Gondolin
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:12 pm Reply with quote
So, what I got from this article was that Alt believes that the decline of Anime is in large part due to:

1. Making shows aimed at the otaku culture rather than a broader demographic. Moe is used as an *example* of this, which means he belives moe shows to be a symptom, not the cause.

2. Outsourcing anime work to other countries. This leads to a future shortage of experienced animators within Japan.

As for #1: I don't mind Moe, but it's not something I look for. I guess I'm one of those rare souls that's fairly neutral about it. But I do agree that creating anime aimed at otaku will lead to stagnation within the industry (and probably has already done so), and that stagnation leads to decay.

As for #2: it might be financially beneficial to do it, but in the long run it will create much bigger problems for the industry. I understand that the current economic climate is itself pressuring companies to do this sort of thing to turn a profit, but I wish companies in general would think a little more long term.
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GeminiDS85



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:50 am Reply with quote
I just found this article to be very unfair to suggest moe or otaku themed shows are the catalyst for the decline of the anime industry without addressing fansubs, piracy or even the global economy. Moe or otaku themed shows definitely have their problems translating to other cultures and by no means, do I believe SyFy or Adult Swim is going to pick up Clannad After Story anytime soon. However, Clannad After Story does occupy the number two position on the 10 Top Best Rated list on ANN, suggesting maybe foreign audiences can embrace moe themed shows. Romantic comedies have always been a tough sell to the 14–30 male demographic, so it is understandable why moe themed shows are not aired overseas. Shows like Clannad, Kanon and Air are amazingly beautiful stories, which deserve all the praise they receive. I am truly grateful that the anime industry was able to produce such wonderful shows, that being said, there are tons of garbage moe themed shows that do produce a very creepy vibe.
Yes, it is possible these types of shows might be causing a slight decline in anime popularity worldwide but it also might be creating an increase. If you visit other anime forums, shows like Clannad or Air are often recommended first over masterpieces like Neon Genesis Evangelion. Even Netflix highly recommends moe or otaku themed shows over the typical generic action anime. Are these types of shows going to create a whole new worldwide anime phenomenon, definitely not. But to suggest that moe or otaku themed shows are the primary reason why anime is decreasing worldwide is unfair without discussing the other major issues.
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