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Answerman - What Happened To World Masterpiece Theater And Shows Like It?


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Dop.L



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 554
Location: London
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 3:22 pm Reply with quote
A friend of mine remembers watching the WMT version of "Heidi" dubbed into German when she was a girl.

I think the nearest thing to that recently would have been "Sanzoku no musume Ronja" (Ronja the Robber's Daughter), which despite the CG was pretty good.
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Parsifal24



Joined: 20 Apr 2010
Posts: 873
Location: Holland MI
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 3:29 pm Reply with quote
It's a pity World Masterpiece Theater never found a fan base in The West as haveing watched a video on Progression in Akage no Anne by a reviewer I follow on Youtube made me want to at least hunt it down. But from what I can find fansubbers don't even want it. Heidi, Girl of The Alps would be another one but it's 52 episode Anime from 1974 and even having been directed by Isao Takahata I don't it would ever get released here.

It's shame there is some real good talent in the "classic" series but barring someone willing to Kickstart something I don't think any of them would ever get released. I guess it's one of those things where there who care about it but not enough to make it commercially feasible to release it.
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thekingsdinner



Joined: 25 Sep 2010
Posts: 811
Location: Terheijden, Netherlands
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 3:40 pm Reply with quote
People having no more interest in these kinds of shows is and unfortunate truth. The people and anime have moved on and I don't expect to see the WMT back ever again. That would be far too good of a thing to happen.

I'm a huge fan of the WMT series. Yes, they're slow, but every WMT show I've watched picks up at some point (whether it be early or in the middle) and they don't always look so good, but usually they still manage to get me hooked (Perrine is a good example).
Akage no Anne is my second favorite anime ever. Some of them like Lassie I've watched RAW because there exist no subs for them.

There also used to air quite a few of these shows in my country. Especially Heidi is still fondly remembered here as a classic and still makes its way on TV on kids' channels.

I'd love for WMT shows to ever get licensed but I won't hold my breath for it.
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FenixFiesta



Joined: 22 Apr 2013
Posts: 2487
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:06 pm Reply with quote
As always, it is about money and recovering production costs, ignoring pure passion projects that are effectively money sinks or animation demos, it simply is not feasible to see a modern anime production company to regularly make mini-movies adapting foreign stories and make an actual financial return.
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Afezeria



Joined: 20 Aug 2015
Posts: 507
Location: Malaysia, Kuantan.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:08 pm Reply with quote
Most of the shows are very old by now and probably, most people might faced difficulties in trying to track down the sources in order to watch these shows, not to mentioned that the amount of episodes might turned a lot of potential watcher away. These days, teens and younger kids probably doesn't have interest in watching things that are too old and outdated to them, and most adults perhaps were too captivated in their line of work to have the time to watch WMT (World Masterpiece Theater) even if they wanted to. I believe WMT easily fell into the "G" rating category and hence, making it a kid's show (even with all that suffering and sadness but Grave of the fireflies are G rated after all) and like most G rated anime for example Time Travel Girl last season, the internet anime community would probably shrugged it off and almost nobody would watch or pay any sort of attention to it, 2014 Sanzoku Musume Ronja for instance comes to mind as older example. The show was adapted from a children's book, done by Ghibli too, which should definitely garnered a few watcher due to their reputation any way but in the end, there's not many that left behind to try and kept up with it, though then again, people might be put off by the CGI. Anyway, with the fact that there's huge lacking interest with everything children related among the online anime community and being what everything that was said already in the article, there's no chance for WMT to make surface anytime soon. I might not watch it as well even if they miraculously start making this again because works and studies altogether doesn't allowed much chance for watching a show with 50 episode.
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DmonHiro



Joined: 06 Jan 2007
Posts: 3066
Location: Romania, Bucharest
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:11 pm Reply with quote
On the bright side, most of these can be seen without too much Japanese knowledge.
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Primus



Joined: 01 Mar 2006
Posts: 2007
Location: Toronto
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:20 pm Reply with quote
It always surprised/confused me that neither of the Anne of Green Gables adaptations wound up on Canadian television. Apparently the first one even get an English dub!
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
Posts: 2034
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:25 pm Reply with quote
Made for a post war generation, so a product of their time then. So it sorts of makes sense that it wouldn't be made anymore. At a guess it could be that it didn't do well overseas, as it is far from what people look for in Anime.
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Topgunguy



Joined: 08 Dec 2015
Posts: 257
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:26 pm Reply with quote
Yes, instead people want obnoxious shonen battles that take forever to get anywhere. Where the bad guys spend a billion years talking about how awesome and tough and damaged they are at the same time and explaining how they're going to kill the hero before they throw a punch and then spend another billion years gloating and wallowing. Yeah, who needs story-driven stories when we can watch dust clearing and enemies stare and talk to each other and call it 'action'.
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angelmcazares
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Joined: 23 Sep 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:34 pm Reply with quote
I have watched some episodes from some WMT shows here and there, but most of them did not catch much of my attention; I doubt I would ever want more of it made. Though, I am curious about A Dog of Flanders, and it would be nice to own Heidi on disc.
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
Posts: 2034
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:34 pm Reply with quote
FenixFiesta wrote:
As always, it is about money and recovering production costs, ignoring pure passion projects that are effectively money sinks or animation demos, it simply is not feasible to see a anime production company to regularly make mini-movies adapting foreign stories and make an actual financial return.
Well if there's no audience, and I mean no audience, not in Japan or overseas, it's not a bad thing. They were made in the past, because they made money. You wouldn't make something that has no audience, it's not taking a risk, it is knowingly burning money.
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DmonHiro



Joined: 06 Jan 2007
Posts: 3066
Location: Romania, Bucharest
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:35 pm Reply with quote
Topgunguy wrote:
Yeah, who needs story-driven stories when we can watch dust clearing and enemies stare and talk to each other and call it 'action'.

Excuse you, but there are plenty of story-driven shows. Shounen is not the only anime genre.
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FireChick



Joined: 26 Mar 2006
Posts: 1246
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:53 pm Reply with quote
I honestly ADORE shows from the World Masterpiece Theater, with top favorites being Dog of Flanders, Les Miserables, Perrine, A Little Princess, Anne of Green Gables, Remi, etc. Unlike most people I know, I didn't see these when I was a kid, but as an adult, these anime really resonate with me and give me and others so much of what we want. Sure, the animation isn't top notch, and the soundtracks are outdated, but the shows totally make up for it in their storytelling and masterful character development. Now, reading this article, I understand the context behind their creation even more. It's a gosh darn shame that most don't appreciate what these shows have to offer, because these shows are darn good and deserve to be seen by everyone.

Actually, over the past several years, WMT anime have actually started to become more well known and respected in some places on the internet. A lot of those shows have been subbed to completion, with most of them being done by a group called Licca Fansubs, who do great work on the shows they work on. Unfortunately, they don't update as much anymore because of extenuating circumstances, but if it weren't for them, shows like Les Mis, Perrine, My Annette, Porphy's Long Journey, A Little Princess, and other shows would never have received the newly deserved attention that they've accumulated over the past couple years. Plus, I think shows like these need to be seen again, because nowadays, most people I've met both online and in real life resort to petty whining and being childish and weak in order to get what they want, and these anime empathize the importance of hard work and making do with what you have.
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EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 3212
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:57 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
The sad fact is, very few people want series like World Masterpiece Theater. That's definitely true in the West, and these days it's also true in Japan.
By that time, Japanese kids were far, far more interested in Shonen Jump and magical girl fare than in European kids suffering slowly over 52 episodes.


That's both true--Seventies anime barely knew what it was doing apart from marketing to the VERY youngest kids, and apart from animals, Doraemon, or wacky Tezuka concepts, there wasn't much to sell except for What Japan Thought Western Classic Stories were like.
And even the idea of bringing "isolated" children the literary riches of the gaijin West wasn't quite as much a novelty once home video let them watch more established Disney versions of the classics, than insanely cultural-misinterpreted ones.
(I remember seeing the WMT Peter Pan on fansub, and while the first season went through the anime-version of the original Barrie story, the second season went off onto...unique series-spinoff improvisations for the characters. Imagine the old 90's "Peter Pan and the Pirates" series, only proto-anime style. And what 70's-80's anime did to Cinderella is best left unmentioned.)

Even in the mid-80's to early-90's, when anime was still a mainstream afterschool and toy industry--and a magical-girl series like PrettyCure wouldn't be publicly shunned as "Yeah, we know the horny-pedophile otaku are really watching..."--it was clear you could make more money with Sailor Moon than with the insane mangling of a western story that didn't look like it was "supposed" to.
There was still the European-novel fascination with Victorian English girls having tea, but unless you were the Ghibli of Ronya or Marnie, there wasn't enough actual plot in those classic books to compete.
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Angel'sArcanum



Joined: 02 Sep 2010
Posts: 278
Location: Toronto, Ontario
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:15 pm Reply with quote
Primus wrote:
It always surprised/confused me that neither of the Anne of Green Gables adaptations wound up on Canadian television. Apparently the first one even get an English dub!


Yeah, my thoughts exactly, like you'd figure the native country of the classic story being adapted would be able to license them easily, almost as if an obligation.

On that note, I guess the lack of interest in new WMT titles is accounted for in Japan, but it seems a lot of people are coming across WMT stuff as of late and really enjoying them, wishing for localisations; are there any actual difficulties with the licensing for them? Could someone like Discotek potentially put them out if they were willing?
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