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INTEREST: Tadashi Sudo: Does Japanese Animation Suffer From the Galápagos Syndrome?


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Ryuji-Dono



Joined: 26 Apr 2018
Posts: 370
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:10 pm Reply with quote
So basically, Japanese anime has to create pieces of work that either involve more non-Japanese settings and characters either from original pieces of work or even adaptations of certain western works (Anime inspired or not) or even staff members (Barring animators) that are not from Japan but can work in them. Am I getting it right?
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meiam



Joined: 23 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:28 pm Reply with quote
I mean, by far the most popular setting for anime at the moment is medieval fantasy with a distinct western European style. There's very few anime that I'd say have a distinctive Japaneses setting, outside of historical piece that happened in japan (but even there there's plenty happening in non Japaneses setting, like last season Arte). So I don't really know what he's talking about...

I think if anything trying to make show that will cater to what they think foreigner want will just doom anime. Like most netflix show that are obviously made with more of a US audience in mind are varying level of garbage quality. On the flip side, Saint Seiya wasn't made with the south american market in mind, yet it became a massive hit there.

Honestly they should just take more risk and explore more story type and more variation within the usual story archetype. You can't really predict what's going to be a massive hit in your own market, to say nothing of foreign one.
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Ryuji-Dono



Joined: 26 Apr 2018
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:37 pm Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
I mean, by far the most popular setting for anime at the moment is medieval fantasy with a distinct western European style. There's very few anime that I'd say have a distinctive Japaneses setting, outside of historical piece that happened in japan (but even there there's plenty happening in non Japaneses setting, like last season Arte). So I don't really know what he's talking about...

I think if anything trying to make show that will cater to what they think foreigner want will just doom anime. Like most netflix show that are obviously made with more of a US audience in mind are varying level of garbage quality. On the flip side, Saint Seiya wasn't made with the south american market in mind, yet it became a massive hit there.

Honestly they should just take more risk and explore more story type and more variation within the usual story archetype. You can't really predict what's going to be a massive hit in your own market, to say nothing of foreign one.


So, certain Sci-Fi/Action/Fantasy settings in more ways than the usual archetypes, if that's what you mean.
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Blackiris_
Aria CompanyAria Company


Joined: 06 Sep 2013
Posts: 497
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:41 pm Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
There's very few anime that I'd say have a distinctive Japaneses setting, outside of historical piece that happened in japan (but even there there's plenty happening in non Japaneses setting, like last season Arte). So I don't really know what he's talking about...


You don’t consider all these school and slice-of-life animes distinctively Japanese? Almost all non-fantasy anime are set in Japan these days. And probably always have, but it feels like the "cultural curiosity" in anime has faded to the same extent the market has shifted towards otaku interests in the ~2 decades.
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Ryuji-Dono



Joined: 26 Apr 2018
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:45 pm Reply with quote
Blackiris_ wrote:
meiam wrote:
There's very few anime that I'd say have a distinctive Japaneses setting, outside of historical piece that happened in japan (but even there there's plenty happening in non Japaneses setting, like last season Arte). So I don't really know what he's talking about...


You don’t consider all these school and slice-of-life animes distinctively Japanese? Almost all non-fantasy anime are set in Japan these days. And probably always have, but it feels like the "cultural curiosity" in anime has faded to the same extent the market has shifted towards otaku interests in the ~2 decades.


Like the guy said, it would be for the best if that can be balanced out.
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Kougeru



Joined: 13 May 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:50 pm Reply with quote
Netfix's "Anime" section is just simply false advertising.

I'm confused tho. At first he says
Quote:
. Nor does the content need to change specifically to appeal to a global audience.
but then the rest of the article is about being more diverse and...appealing to a global audience lol.

There's a difference between being offensive (acting like an entire religion are terrorists) and including religion or such things for your own story purposes. For example in the Toaru universe, The Church is full of obviously evil people. But because it's fiction, even Catholics in the West USUALLY don't get offended by the series.

Every time I see an anime that obviously tries to cater to western audiences, I end up hating it. It always ends up feeling more like something that would land on Western TV like Adult Swim/Cartoon Network. That's not what made me fall in love with anime. Anime got popular globally because it was unique. Trying to appeal to global audiences goes against that.
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Ryuji-Dono



Joined: 26 Apr 2018
Posts: 370
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:54 pm Reply with quote
Kougeru wrote:
Netfix's "Anime" section is just simply false advertising.

I'm confused tho. At first he says
Quote:
. Nor does the content need to change specifically to appeal to a global audience.
but then the rest of the article is about being more diverse and...appealing to a global audience lol.

There's a difference between being offensive (acting like an entire religion are terrorists) and including religion or such things for your own story purposes. For example in the Toaru universe, The Church is full of obviously evil people. But because it's fiction, even Catholics in the West USUALLY don't get offended by the series.

Every time I see an anime that obviously tries to cater to western audiences, I end up hating it. It always ends up feeling more like something that would land on Western TV like Adult Swim/Cartoon Network. That's not what made me fall in love with anime. Anime got popular globally because it was unique. Trying to appeal to global audiences goes against that.


But what do you think Japanese Anime may need to do in order to compete with the changing times?
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meiam



Joined: 23 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 3:01 pm Reply with quote
Blackiris_ wrote:
meiam wrote:
There's very few anime that I'd say have a distinctive Japaneses setting, outside of historical piece that happened in japan (but even there there's plenty happening in non Japaneses setting, like last season Arte). So I don't really know what he's talking about...


You don’t consider all these school and slice-of-life animes distinctively Japanese? Almost all non-fantasy anime are set in Japan these days. And probably always have, but it feels like the "cultural curiosity" in anime has faded to the same extent the market has shifted towards otaku interests in the ~2 decades.


High school in japan aren't that different from anywhere else, there's more focus on club in anime (no idea if that's an accurate representation), but that's a very simple concept to understand since it pretty much boil down "do stuff with your friend after school" which every high school kid does. I'm pretty sure you could take literally any high school/SoL anime and set it in a school anywhere, at least in the developed world, and it would need very minimal modification. The only one I can think of that's very Japanese and would be hard to export is Chihayafuru, but vast majority of them are simple enough. Even think like kendo or kyudo are similar enough to non japan version to not need any modification (only so many way you can shoot an arrow).

Anyone know if samurai Jack is popular in japan? I'm guessing not which just show that borrowing element from other culture doesn't really help the show in said culture.
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H. Guderian



Joined: 29 Jan 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 3:16 pm Reply with quote
Ryuji-Dono wrote:

But what do you think Japanese Anime may need to do in order to compete with the changing times?


Enjoy the ride down. To me the important lesson of Tenki no ko was when the characters and then the world around them accepted that nature has its course and sometimes you gotta accept it. Japanese Anime was a pioneer in reigniting animation as a global passion. It isn't entirely a bad thing to let things slide back.

It is preferable to having a bubble pop.

Consider this, if Japan and Anime tell nothing but Viking stories and then everyone else tells Viking Stories, who will tell Samurai Stories?

I think the markets should dictate things. If Japan is no longer synonymous with Anime, that's fine. Die-Hard Anime fans will stick to Anime, and the rest of the world can go on reviving "Anime".

Consider the Dark Souls franchise. The entire story is based off the god of the world, after staging a revolution, clings to power. All the characters int he setting are in some way dealing with this original unwillingness to let nature resume its course.

Instead of worrying about staying on top Japanese anime producers should just remain working on the best things they can. It was this Galapagos syndrome in the first place that made Japanese anime such a joy for all. Japan even has the same policy for its population. So what if the population goes down. it will be economically difficult, but isn't the planet overburdened? Its their choice.

Be not afraid of change. It is okay to be 2nd best for awhile. its okay to share the spotlight.

For me, my love of the language and history will always keep anime as the most important.
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AkumaChef



Joined: 10 Jan 2019
Posts: 683
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 3:30 pm Reply with quote
Kougeru wrote:

I'm confused tho. At first he says
Quote:
. Nor does the content need to change specifically to appeal to a global audience.
but then the rest of the article is about being more diverse and...appealing to a global audience lol.


I think he's trying to say that instead of targeting "diverse content" in a marketing attempt to chase global appeal that Japan needs to become more diverse, at which point the globally appealing content will happen automatically.


Quote:
Every time I see an anime that obviously tries to cater to western audiences, I end up hating it. It always ends up feeling more like something that would land on Western TV like Adult Swim/Cartoon Network. That's not what made me fall in love with anime. Anime got popular globally because it was unique. Trying to appeal to global audiences goes against that.

Totally agreed.
In my opinion one of the biggest appeals of anime is that it isn't bound by western conventions.
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chronium



Joined: 25 Apr 2005
Posts: 144
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 3:33 pm Reply with quote
Ryuji-Dono wrote:

But what do you think Japanese Anime may need to do in order to compete with the changing times?


If you look at the stories that they're releasing you will notice that they're just repeating themselves with a small group genres. It's fine for properties that are franchises like Gundam but it is a problem for the one off shows that end after a season.

I'm starting to find it being a common occurance where I only see one show that I am interested in during a season block (fall, winter, spring, summer).
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SaitoHajime101



Joined: 31 Mar 2013
Posts: 250
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 3:38 pm Reply with quote
I think what Tadashi Sudo was going for was beyond just the content of the anime, its also the "behind-the-scenes" elements as well. Constant articles and interviews are released talking about the poor pay and work environments which needs to change. The anime industry as a whole needs to evolve beyond its current self. The anime industry feels like its stagnating a bit. The idea that outside competition may hurt the Japanese-style of anime is a bit overexaggerated as there's always been a general understanding that competition is supposed to increase creativity, improve process, improve technology, and other aspects of an industry. While it isn't always the case, I believe that's what Tadashi Sudo is trying to say.

The Japanese anime industry needs to take a few cues from recent and ongoing changes in Hollywood. Sudo had it right on the money when talking about the Hollywood influence. Hollywood is undergoing significant changes right now to be more inclusive and, overall, more influential (whether this is working or not is a different conversation), while the Japanese anime industry isn't really doing anything at all. The industry isn't very welcoming to new talent (in front of the microphone and behind it) due to working conditions. If Japan is looking to keep exporting animations globally, it will need to adjust to global markets.

Anime fans wishing that anime stays a niche, or semi-niche hobby, will need to accept that we're part of that growth. As more fans come into the hobby, the more the industry grows (looking at you "video games"), the more money is made, the more wealthier certain individuals get, which will then cause an increase in the number of productions and exportation. Generally you can boil it down to supply and demand.

I think Boku no Hero Academia's and One Piece's global influence show as prime examples of underutilized markets where Japan can really became a major player but don't choose to play the game because of old-fashioned, unchanging business practices. If we want studios to stop going out of business, we need to support better working conditions and overall industry changes to be more palatable to the global market.
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AmpersandsUnited



Joined: 22 Mar 2012
Posts: 264
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 3:44 pm Reply with quote
Ryuji-Dono wrote:
But what do you think Japanese Anime may need to do in order to compete with the changing times?


Nothing. I think this is a complete non issue being put forth by one random person that for some reason is being reported as big news. The industry is doing perfectly fine and this fear that shows like One Piece or Demon Slayer are going to suddenly lose out to Netflix series like B the Beginning or Big Mouth seems completely unfounded.
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Ryuji-Dono



Joined: 26 Apr 2018
Posts: 370
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 3:45 pm Reply with quote
SaitoHajime101 wrote:
I think what Tadashi Sudo was going for was beyond just the content of the anime, its also the "behind-the-scenes" elements as well. Constant articles and interviews are released talking about the poor pay and work environments which needs to change. The anime industry as a whole needs to evolve beyond its current self. The anime industry feels like its stagnating a bit. The idea that outside competition may hurt the Japanese-style of anime is a bit overexaggerated as there's always been a general understanding that competition is supposed to increase creativity, improve process, improve technology, and other aspects of an industry. While it isn't always the case, I believe that's what Tadashi Sudo is trying to say.

The Japanese anime industry needs to take a few cues from recent and ongoing changes in Hollywood. Sudo had it right on the money when talking about the Hollywood influence. Hollywood is undergoing significant changes right now to be more inclusive and, overall, more influential (whether this is working or not is a different conversation), while the Japanese anime industry isn't really doing anything at all. The industry isn't very welcoming to new talent (in front of the microphone and behind it) due to working conditions. If Japan is looking to keep exporting animations globally, it will need to adjust to global markets.

Anime fans wishing that anime stays a niche, or semi-niche hobby, will need to accept that we're part of that growth. As more fans come into the hobby, the more the industry grows (looking at you "video games"), the more money is made, the more wealthier certain individuals get, which will then cause an increase in the number of productions and exportation. Generally you can boil it down to supply and demand.

I think Boku no Hero Academia's and One Piece's global influence show as prime examples of underutilized markets where Japan can really became a major player but don't choose to play the game because of old-fashioned, unchanging business practices. If we want studios to stop going out of business, we need to support better working conditions and overall industry changes to be more palatable to the global market.


Could inviting foreign talent in other fields other than animation help to an extent too? Maybe Japanese animation may need a new touch of storytelling at the hands of those outside of it as long as it can be handled well.
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Horsefellow



Joined: 01 Jan 2020
Posts: 126
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 3:57 pm Reply with quote
SaitoHajime101 wrote:
The Japanese anime industry needs to take a few cues from recent and ongoing changes in Hollywood. Sudo had it right on the money when talking about the Hollywood influence. Hollywood is undergoing significant changes right now to be more inclusive and, overall, more influential (whether this is working or not is a different conversation), while the Japanese anime industry isn't really doing anything at all. The industry isn't very welcoming to new talent (in front of the microphone and behind it) due to working conditions. If Japan is looking to keep exporting animations globally, it will need to adjust to global markets.

Anime fans wishing that anime stays a niche, or semi-niche hobby, will need to accept that we're part of that growth. As more fans come into the hobby, the more the industry grows (looking at you "video games"), the more money is made, the more wealthier certain individuals get, which will then cause an increase in the number of productions and exportation. Generally you can boil it down to supply and demand.


If people are saying anime needs to go the way of video games, then that's going to be a hard disagree from me. AAA games might sell well, but my interest in most of them have completely died. I don't care about shooters, games-as-a-service, open worlds, battle royals, or any other popular soulless trends that are common in the western gaming scene right now. I lament that days gone of older genres and titles that were once great but now are pushed to the side chasing trends. Luckily, I don't see this happening at all. Let Hollywood and other industries chase those fads and run their industries into the ground. We'll just keep doing our own thing.
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