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Hey, Answerman! - Dollars and Censorship


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gwern



Joined: 05 Nov 2009
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:22 pm Reply with quote
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Of course, in both of those cases the averages are decidedly skewed by the number of votes; the reason that Steins;Gate ranks as highly as it does at the moment is because it has a (relatively) small number of votes compared to Cowboy Bebop, and the people who've voted on it obviously ranked it very highly. This is all pretty basic Bayes Estimation 101. It's very smart mathematics, even if it is poor artistic criticism; it's far from the best way to estimate the appropriate artistic "value" of something, but it *is* a great snapshot into the way we, as a society, place our collective, consensus opinion on these things.


Bayesian statistics? In my ANN columns?

/updates

It is more likely than I thought prior to reading it.
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Ryusui



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:26 pm Reply with quote
I subscribe to Shonen Jump Alpha for the Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. >_>
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DrizzlingEnthalpy



Joined: 13 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:57 pm Reply with quote
I was the one who asked the question about licensing and marketing anime for children. Justin's response made a lot of sense, but what I was really thinking of in terms of films wasn't the theatrical market but direct-to-video, which is how most anime films were and still are distributed in the US. For example, I would suspect enough children love dinosaurs to make You Are Umasou worthy of licensing and advertising for home video, and a PG rating would likely keep it from attracting too much controversy over the predator/prey issues. It tackles sticky grey morality more than works of its sort made in the US would, but it's not exactly Ringing Bell (which is the sort of thing I'm surprised ever got licensed). If I had to guess, I'd say the big barrier is the decline of brick-and-mortar video stores?

I didn't call Summer Wars a children's movie; I said it's a child friendly title with family appeal. I didn't mean to say children are the primary intended audience as far as Hosoda and Madhouse are concerned, just that most parents would consider its content child appropriate and that many children would probably enjoy it even if they wouldn't understand all of it. The US certainly has a market for animated entertainment advertised for children but written more for older audiences.

I do feel like Summer Wars might have had a real chance with a good theatrical release since it would have come out during that big window when Gnomeo & Juliet was the only family movie in theaters for months...
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walw6pK4Alo



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:24 pm Reply with quote
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The creators behind them wish to make money and be successful, and in that case that means certain sacrifices as far as content.


Why can't the creators sincerely love what they're doing, and not out of some begrudging willingness to "lower" themselves in order to make more money? Inazuma draws straight up porn, I don't think he takes issue with having to put tits and cleavage into Highschool of the Dead. TLR's Yabuki seems to revel in sneaking lurid "fly-by censors" easter eggs into his manga images that the fans love. He does it often and creatively. I'm of the believe some creators and animators know damn well what they're doing and they love doing it, regardless of the need to make money and move product. Some of them just like being perverted.

More to the point of censorship, that still exists regardless of where a mangaka chooses to be published by. The Japanese law regarding visible genitalia is steadfast, so there will always be a barrier on what be shown in Japan. Doesn't exactly stop them from drawing it, but little black bars or whole mosaics will be added unless they want to face the police.
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Tuor_of_Gondolin
Get off my lawn!Get off my lawn!


Joined: 20 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:33 pm Reply with quote
Self-censorship is still censorship if it impedes the story/picture/film that the author/artist/director wants to tell. The main difference is that it is censorship for monetary reasons rather than "moral" ones.
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Sewingrose



Joined: 11 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:35 pm Reply with quote
Tuor_of_Gondolin wrote:
Self-censorship is still censorship if it impedes the story/picture/film that the author/artist/director wants to tell. The main difference is that it is censorship for monetary reasons rather than "moral" ones.


But the choice is left with the creator, and they are the ones to make it, so on some level they have to be okay with this being the story that they want to tell.
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jsevakis
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:42 pm Reply with quote
DrizzlingEnthalpy wrote:
I was the one who asked the question about licensing and marketing anime for children. Justin's response made a lot of sense, but what I was really thinking of in terms of films wasn't the theatrical market but direct-to-video, which is how most anime films were and still are distributed in the US. If I had to guess, I'd say the big barrier is the decline of brick-and-mortar video stores?


That's a big part of it, and also that places that stock children's home video product (Toys R Us, Target, Walmart) have RIDICULOUSLY high barriers to entry, requiring a huge library, a giant returns risk, and an unreasonable marketing spend to even get shelf space, unless it's something with a huge merchandise tie-in (like, say, Pokémon). It's pretty much a market owned by 3-4 companies and it's nigh impossible and high risk for a smaller publisher to get in there. In order for it to be worthwhile you'd have to sell a ludicrous amount of product, and that's probably impossible this market no matter how much you spend on marketing.

Quote:
I didn't call Summer Wars a children's movie; I said it's a child friendly title with family appeal. I didn't mean to say children are the primary intended audience as far as Hosoda and Madhouse are concerned, just that most parents would consider its content child appropriate and that many children would probably enjoy it even if they wouldn't understand all of it. The US certainly has a market for animated entertainment advertised for children but written more for older audiences.

I do feel like Summer Wars might have had a real chance with a good theatrical release since it would have come out during that big window when Gnomeo & Juliet was the only family movie in theaters for months...


You are incredibly wrong about this, sorry. It's an esoteric film that takes place in another country and has a lot of cultural baggage. It has the death of a central character, complete with funeral and crying. It requires at least a facile understanding of social networks and the internet. All of which kids can deal with but send parents running for the hills. I am pretty confident Funimation got pretty much all they could out of it. It's a good film, but absolutely a niche play.


Last edited by jsevakis on Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tuor_of_Gondolin
Get off my lawn!Get off my lawn!


Joined: 20 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:42 pm Reply with quote
Sewingrose wrote:
Tuor_of_Gondolin wrote:
Self-censorship is still censorship if it impedes the story/picture/film that the author/artist/director wants to tell. The main difference is that it is censorship for monetary reasons rather than "moral" ones.

But the choice is left with the creator, and they are the ones to make it, so on some level they have to be okay with this being the story that they want to tell.

I was referring to when the creator wants one thing and the publishing company (or whatever corporate guys are footing the bill) wants something different in order to satisify various groups or organizations (such as the government, the PTA, etc.).

If the actual creator is simply doing what they want to do, then I'd still call that self-censorship, but my condemnation of it is far less (though not zero).
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Animegomaniac



Joined: 16 Feb 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:43 pm Reply with quote
DrizzlingEnthalpy wrote:
I was the one who asked the question about licensing and marketing anime for children.


Oh so you're the one who said:

"But that seems to have stopped since anime entered public consciousness and became known under the label of anime."

Anime isn't anything more than Japanimation, if not shorter and for some reason French which is animaton from Japan.

Anyways, it's stopped not after the grand product anime entered the public consciouness but after anime became extinct on noncable television. VHF {look it up} to UHF {again} to first rate cable to second rate cable to, goddammit, late night viewing after midnight once a week on one channel. That was my own anime progression and after it entered the "public consciousness", it disappeared. Because it disappeared from television. Except for Naruto and Dragon Ball, of course but those don't count. I guess.

Regardless, this is just another form of the "anime is awesome, why won't they look?" question which just drives me nuts. Animation is awesome, nobody takes it seriously. Well, there's Leonard Maltin but he's a nerd.

Anime's no different and it's not special.
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RAmmsoldat
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:50 pm Reply with quote
I hate when people blame their age for a loss of interest in things. Sure people get tired of things and move on but don't try to make it sound like its something that happens naturally to all people.
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yuna49



Joined: 27 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:16 pm Reply with quote
jsevakis wrote:
[Summer Wars] is an esoteric film that takes place in another country and has a lot of cultural baggage. It has the death of a central character, complete with funeral and crying. It requires at least a facile understanding of social networks and the internet. All of which kids can deal with but send parents running for the hills. I am pretty confident Funimation got pretty much all they could out of it. It's a good film, but absolutely a niche play.

I also wondered why Summer Wars got so little attention when it was released. While I do not disagree with your arguments, it made me think a bit about the whole structure of films for children. It does seem like there is, in the US at least, a giant hole in the middle of the age range. There are films that can be marketed to the 6+ audience and films appropriate for teens 15+. That middle range of 9-14 year olds seems remarkably underserved.

I can think of a few films like Fly Away Home or October Sky that tell stories for older kids and younger teens, but both of those films are over ten years old. Now that my daughter is grown I don't follow that portion of the film industry as closely as I once did, but that "coming-of-age" genre that both those films represent seems to have largely disappeared. I don't have a lot of experience with children's anime, but my sense is that there are also few shows like Dennou Coil or Kemono no Sou-ja Erin which target this same audience.

Harry Potter is obviously a counter-example to this argument, but that was a unique phenomenon and not really representative of modern story-telling for kids.
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jsevakis
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:42 pm Reply with quote
yuna49 wrote:
I also wondered why Summer Wars got so little attention when it was released. While I do not disagree with your arguments, it made me think a bit about the whole structure of films for children. It does seem like there is, in the US at least, a giant hole in the middle of the age range. There are films that can be marketed to the 6+ audience and films appropriate for teens 15+. That middle range of 9-14 year olds seems remarkably underserved.


I can't really complain about that, since that seems to be the age at which a lot of kids discover anime. Very Happy

But seriously, that's also the time kids discover all the teenybopper stuff on Disney Channel, and also get into mainstream Hollywood superhero-and-explosion movies. In fact, you could argue that 90% of Hollywood tentpoles are made for that age group, and the adults are basically just still watching it. That's why it's so critically important for every major movie to get a PG-13 rating these days, so that exact age group can go see it.
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DrizzlingEnthalpy



Joined: 13 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:46 pm Reply with quote
jsevakis wrote:
You are incredibly wrong about this, sorry. It's an esoteric film that takes place in another country and has a lot of cultural baggage. It has the death of a central character, complete with funeral and crying. It requires at least a facile understanding of social networks and the internet. All of which kids can deal with but send parents running for the hills. I am pretty confident Funimation got pretty much all they could out of it. It's a good film, but absolutely a niche play.
I can definitely understand those things being a barrier, but... what parent really wanted to see three Chipmunks movies? From my experience parents are hard up for films they can take their not-PG-13-ready-yet children to and consequently go to movies that they don't expect to enjoy themselves. The trick for animated family movies that aren't made by Pixar is usually to convince the children that they want to see the movie by playing up action, bathroom jokes and slapstick in the trailers (and even Pixar trailers usually focus on those things), then make sure the parents who take the children don't hate the movies so much they warn all the other parents away. A tie to an established property is a big, big plus, but I still feel like Summer Wars would have had a chance to make an OK enough amount of money with such positive critical reception and limited competition.

Unless Americans are really that xenophobic and really that convinced that 2D animation no longer belongs in theaters. Which I can certainly buy, I guess I just... have such a hard time relating to it that it's weird picturing it as the status quo.


Last edited by DrizzlingEnthalpy on Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Chagen46



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:50 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
I also wondered why Summer Wars got so little attention when it was released. While I do not disagree with your arguments, it made me think a bit about the whole structure of films for children. It does seem like there is, in the US at least, a giant hole in the middle of the age range. There are films that can be marketed to the 6+ audience and films appropriate for teens 15+. That middle range of 9-14 year olds seems remarkably underserved.



The reason fo this is that American culture basically acts like 9-14 year olds cannot comprehend anything more mature than PG stuff. We act like these kids need to be sheltered and cannot handle anything while they make rape jokes in-between classes and play GTA.

Just look at Shōnen manga. Stuff like Naruto, Fairy Tail, Bleach, One Piece, and the like is marketed to the 9-14 range in japan but here it's teen stuff, because execs think that cannot handle things like an actual plot with continuity, blood, fanservice, and the like, when they mostly can.

Hell, let's just say that execs think everyone is as dumb as a sack of bricks.

Quote:
Unless Americans are really that xenophobic and really that convinced that 2D animation no longer belongs in theaters. Which I can certainly buy, I guess I just... have such a hard time relating to it that it's weird picturing it as the status quo.


They are. They really are. Some of us STILL won't shut up about Pearl Harbor and not having white people as the main characters basically destroys Summer Wars' chances of ever being mildly mainstream.
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jsevakis
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:57 pm Reply with quote
DrizzlingEnthalpy wrote:
[I can definitely understand those things being a barrier, but... what parent really wanted to see three Chipmunks movies? From my experience parents are hard up for films they can take their not-PG-13-ready-yet children to and consequently go to movies that they don't expect to enjoy themselves.


Oh you bet. But it's not about what the parent will enjoy or necessarily wants to see. For some reason (and I don't understand why this is, myself), American parents try like hell to protect their kids from:

1. Nudity, even unexploited innocent nudity

2. Sad emotions (Goku's father dies? Better digipaint over those tears!)

3. Things the parent doesn't really understand, because that's embarrassing when the kids ask

Something like Toy Story 3 can (barely) get away with #2 these days. I think that slipped under the radar because nobody actually cries real profound tears in the movie itself. And it's Pixar, so everyone agrees it's good already, and no actual thought has to go into the decision to go to a Pixar movie. But normally, parents will go through such lengths to avoid it, it's pathological. I have no idea why this is, but it is part of our culture -- when Astroboy came out here, there was actually a PTA campaign against it because it was too emotional.

And parents would actually rather sit through dribble like the Scooby Doo movie than have to try to explain why everyone is sitting on the floor at the dining table, and why all the doors slide from side to side. I think a lot of people get very insecure when confronted with their own ignorance, especially in front of their kids.

If I sound cynical it's because this year is my 20th anniversary of trying to get "normal" people to watch anime. My life is a gigantic failure. Surprised
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