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Interview: Danny Choo


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Past



Joined: 14 Feb 2006
Posts: 3121
Location: Seattle bound (soon)

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:18 am Reply with quote
Wow this interview is a nice surprise. I think Danny Choo is great. He's a Westerner (from England actually) who has followed in the footsteps of other pioneering foreigners who found success in the anime industry in Japan. But Danny Choo has stumbled on it in an interesting day and age. He has all the makings to make this possible; he knows how to run a business, has exceptional drive and motivation, fluent in Japanese and is a true anime fan. But at the same time there are many obstacles because of the difficulties in current events we have all come to be familiar with. Fortunately for him, and he constantly acknowledges this, the advantages of the internet can potentially be a catalyst for reaching his goals. It is a tool that will always provide ways to find opportunity through networking and finding resources needed to get the job done. No doubt the talent is out there.

Thanks for the interview.
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CareyGrant



Joined: 18 Nov 2009
Posts: 451

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:24 am Reply with quote
Interesting, but not terribly revelatory considering what else we've heard already on AnnCast.

He's definitely got Corporate/Government Communication aka "The Dodge" down pat: how to answer a question without answering the question. He dodged or gave a soft-touch to Gia's more direct questions about anime pandering, the moe glut, making anime more globally palatable/mainstream, and the loli ban.

Indeed, Danny Choo knows how to play the Marketing/PR/Pitch game.
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Past



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:36 am Reply with quote
CareyGrant wrote:
Interesting, but not terribly revelatory considering what else we've heard already on AnnCast.

He's definitely got Corporate/Government Communication aka "The Dodge" down pat: how to answer a question without answering the question. He dodged or gave a soft-touch to Gia's more direct questions about anime pandering, the moe glut, making anime more globally palatable/mainstream, and the loli ban.

Indeed, Danny Choo knows how to play the Marketing/PR/Pitch game.
Since when are loaded questions like the one's Gia asked a prerequisite for a good interview? A good interviewer will do a little research and ask questions more pertinent to the guest and what he's about. It's very easy to default to hot topics of the day such as the ones you described and unfortunately put the guest on the spot. His answers were sufficient and to go into further detail would have only derailed the whole purpose and intent of the interview.
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_V_



Joined: 13 Apr 2009
Posts: 616

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:58 am Reply with quote
EDIT: I originally wrote a long complaint about Danny Choo in general...which I wrote in anger after initially reading through the interview. That, and I wrote my post at 1 AM so I wasn't in full command of my cognitive faculties...

it was pointed out that I was straying from topic and had already loudly voiced complaints about Danny before in another thread, so I rewrote it to a new, concise version.

I have done this so that my original, angry post, will not spark further conflict:


*I'm not really sure Danny Choo is an expert on Japanese pop culture and I have been critical of him in the past

*I think ANN's interview itself was well conducted, asking logical questions.

*I am very critical of Danny's responses, which wander off topic and don't really provide information about "the anime industry"

*Specifically, Danny's anime project is self-admittedly not even begun; he is in the process of putting together a production team and gave no definite details on this.

*What he did say that was "of substance" is that he wants to fund/produce an idea for an anime series...and that he thinks licensing merchandise is very important, so he's already got prototype figurines. At no point does he actually go into detail about meeting with studios, talking to animators, etc. Therefore, while Danny does know several of these "industry" groups from interviewing them/working IT stuff on their websites...functionally, in his answers right here at least, i feel he did not provide even basic information about how this project will proceed, or what his "plan" is.

*If Danny *can* get an anime series produced....more power to him, really. Good, old-fashioned, shoestring budget third-party indie TV series. I'm not criticizing that.

*What I was shocked about was that I read the article, and he seemed to have no real details on it yet...making me wonder why he chose to talk about it at length, when there's really nothing going on yet. At the moment, its just an April Fool's Day joke idea that he's said he really wants to move forward on. Okay...but I won't be encouraged until there's more progress than hopes.

*A major reason I'm reacting so critically, is because repeatedly at anime convention panels, R1 industry insiders have warned that "NO ONE goes to Japan and actually manages to work 'in the industry'". Literally the only person, held up as an isolated example, who managed to do this, is Jan Scott-Frazier.

*So I'm so shocked, because North American distributor reps have repeatedly emphasized how impossible it is to "go to Japan and make your own anime", and Danny is now saying he wants to start a project....which is well and good....but given how hard it is, he didn't really give many encouraging details. He's got some merchandising prototypes and a plot. So does every dedicated crafty kid at the local college scifi club. Does he have an animation team set up? Studio? Editing? In-betweeners? No details were given, so it seems quite "ambitious".

*If he actually manages to get real progress on this, I will change my tone dramatically. But right now it seems like he's casually confident that he's going to succeed where so many before have tried and failed, and yet offered few concrete details.


I would recommend this fine article by ColonyDrop.com, aptly titled "This isn't Mecca, its Disneyland for Manchildren: the Myth of Akihabara".

P.S. I have greatly enjoyed and respected Gia's insightful interviews with other, professional "industry insiders" here on ANN (and other sites). Gia's actual questions in this interview are professional and entirely what I would expect of ANN. Its Danny that really failed to answer Gia's basic, logical questions. In no way does my frustration with Danny here reflect on the interviewer...only on the interviewee.


Last edited by _V_ on Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:56 pm; edited 12 times in total
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OtakuExile



Joined: 16 Jun 2010
Posts: 201
Location: UTENA-SAMA!!!

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:58 am Reply with quote
You got my full support Danny. Let's get Murai Fusion, as well as Chinka up and running. I even made some wallpaper when Danny first released the video.

Aka Wallpaper

all characters wallpaper

They are still in PNG format so you can mess around with it.
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Past



Joined: 14 Feb 2006
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Location: Seattle bound (soon)

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:11 am Reply with quote
_V_ wrote:

His "production company" *self-admittedly* consists of only two people.
I call that being humble, a highly respected trait in Japan. Just ask Hayao Miyazaki himself about his production company, he'll point out how lackluster and disorganized it is.

That's all regarding your post I care to respond to. I have no need to waste time to stoop to your level.
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_V_



Joined: 13 Apr 2009
Posts: 616

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:17 am Reply with quote
....only two people is quite small for an entire anime series.

I am willing to ignore that, lets put that entirely aside...lets give him a freebie on that...

...no actual progress has been made on this. Production isn't even in...in the pre-planning phase. They don't even have a team together.

Is this series being "produced"...at all? Danny was quite vague on this point.

For an interview which was devoted to this "new project" he's allegedly "producing"....he was surprisingly evasive, and preferred to proffer his ponderings on moe.

Where was the actual information on "the industry side of things" other than that this is a story he wants to make, a guy who isn't "a studio" and hasn't made anything before?

further, he says he didn't actually write or create the series; he's just "producing" it -- forking over cash -- and yet he devoted a substantial amount of time talking about licensing it. Devil's advocate, that's how money gets made back these days....and its a little jarring that he already has figurines based on an anime that hasn't gone into production yet....though I guess he just has the prototypes...

Again, I saw no actual discussion about "the anime industry" in this, other than that moe and licensing merchandise are apparently more important than hiring a production team to physically create the series.

have we fallen so low?

Again, how is this different, really, from last week's "New Voice Productions"?
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Chunx



Joined: 20 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:23 am Reply with quote
To _V_:

Personally, it doesn't matter none to me. I take the Chinka announcement at face value and say, "OK, we'll see how that turns out." Thrilled perhaps, but not overly excited. Maybe you are simply peeved at the way the interview was conducted?

But it does strike me a bit odd as to the way you are putting it down. From what I understand, Danny Choo is a successful web programmer that networked himself into various companies that are part of the pop culture industry, namely Bandai and Kotobukiya who produce and sell anime/manga/games merchandise. He helps them set up and maintain websites and also helps promote whatever might be the current trend. Since he obviously likes what he is doing, he blogs about it. And seeing that the blog seems to generate a lot of views like any successful blog, it is a chance to go somewhere further with it, especially when one networks a horde of contacts on related businesses.

In other words, he is a successful person who wants and gets to do whatever he likes. I haven't been following his blog for very long (I met him in person once, but I seriously doubt he remembers me), but so far he is one window among others that offer a daily look on the Japanese side of things, with very colorful pictures too. He is free to announce whatever he is doing, or opine on anything related to J-pop culture. He is a blogger living and breathing in Japan with a ton of Japanese associates. People like him. Sure, he blogs a lot of silly stuff, but the core thing is that he blogs to entertain people and of course himself. And people like to be entertained, don't they?

Perhaps I understand where you are coming from, that Danny Choo may not have the credentials to say things on the anime industry. He might have said "I'm not in a position to say..." then that will be that, wouldn't it?


Last edited by Chunx on Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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diligent sesame



Joined: 29 Jun 2009
Posts: 56

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:06 am Reply with quote
Ohhh I remember this troll.
Yeah, he was the first post in the Anime Expo Opening Ceremonies forum and just talked about how he had never heard of Danny Choo until recently, and didn't like him and blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah
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ninjaclown



Joined: 17 Dec 2008
Posts: 194

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:23 am Reply with quote
_V_, do some research on a guy before you feel you have the right to put him down. You can't think I haven't heard of this guy, therefore he's a nobody. That's not how it works.
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Zac
ANN Executive Editor


Joined: 05 Jan 2002
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Location: Snake Mountain Cocktail Lounge

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:32 am Reply with quote
Just a side note, Danny didn't call us up and ask us to interview him.

He was a guest of honor at Anime Expo. This interview was conducted during the AX 2010 press junket.
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oranjeoranje



Joined: 16 Jul 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:34 am Reply with quote
Hello

There are other, fringe voices out there that have tried exposing Danny's way of business. Some snippets from a blog called The Otaku Elimination below:

Quote:
Danny choo will subtly sell you the idea through his blog that ‘otaku’ is buying x, playing y and watching z but he would, he’s a good businessman (business otaku maybe?) so it’s natural.

Quote:
In other words, these so called ‘otaku’ blogs that are spreading all kinds of crap are ruining the scene and the corporate giants are moving in and using it as a marketing technique to earn some quick cash (See: Danny Choo’s relationship with GSC). Books like ‘Otacool’ and ‘The otaku encylopedia’ are not just bullshit, they’re also ruining the original Akiba spirit by compartmentalising fans and encouraging the big cash-cows to overtake the smaller, more unique shops in Akihabara with their wallet-milking, soulless merchandise.


... I guess you would have to read the whole thing if you wanted to get a good feeling why Danny Choo is frowned upon that site.
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BorgmanJayce



Joined: 11 Feb 2004
Posts: 298
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:24 am Reply with quote
[Attack on another forum member removed. -t]

I thought the interview was interesting, to be honest as I'm a regular visitor to his blog plus I've spoken to him a couple of times via his Facebook page and he's actually said that he's interested in making an appearance at a anime con or a event like the MCM Expo in London if he was invited by the organisers.
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4nBlue



Joined: 28 Oct 2008
Posts: 350
Location: Finland

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:41 am Reply with quote
_V_, I don't know why you seem to have such deep hatred for Choo and Akihabara, but you should try to do some research before posting.

Just look at this post (I haven't really visited his site lately so I just picked this post randomly).
- he is making a TV program with Satomi Satou
- he knows important people from Cospa and Good Smile (I own products from both companies)
- he has exclusive footage from Black Rock Shooter
- his mascot is being made in to a figma
- he is producing an anime (sure the only thing we have seen is a short promo, but small scale anime productions usually take several years to make)

And that's what I found out from one blog post, and you have problem understanding why he was interviewed.
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Albright



Joined: 20 Sep 2004
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:55 am Reply with quote
Quote:
Here's one example: there's an American base set up in Okinawa, and then the president who is... the guy who is running... it was election time, and he said "if you vote for me I'm going to get rid of this, I'm going to get rid of these Americans" and everyone said "yes yes, let's vote for him". Ultimately he wasn't able to do it and he resigned.


Wow. That must have been one of those moments where you start on a conversation thread that you know nothing about, but you're too proud to cut it short, so you just keep babbling something semi-coherent and hope that your audience won't know any better.

I won't expend as much effort as _V_ saying so, but yes, Choo strikes me as a huge weeaboo highly skilled at self-promotion as well. By his own admission, this production he hopes to make is all vapor at this point. The odds are against him… maybe once animation actually starts, this will be a more newsworthy story. At this point, it's nothing more than an April Fool's joke which has gotten a little out of hand.
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