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ANNCast - The Life and Kime of Geneon, USA


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Zin5ki



Joined: 06 Jan 2008
Posts: 6680
Location: London, UK
PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 2:31 pm Reply with quote
HeeroTX wrote:
I don't know how it is in the UK, but Best Buy is a very large chain in the US and (until just recently) anime held a very visible and LARGE position in their stores.

An outlet fitting such a description is something of which we're somewhat envious. Dire circumstances on the high-street have forced most fans here to rely on internet shopping and R1 importation—something we've become quite comfortable with. Such circumstances are not, however, ideal for introducing newcomers to the medium, considering the less-than-legal sources with which local distributors presumably intend to compete.
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CareyGrant



Joined: 18 Nov 2009
Posts: 453
PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:50 pm Reply with quote
vashfanatic wrote:
CareyGrant wrote:
And Baccano... yeah, the beginning madness really shot itself in the foot for me. A good show, and better than what's come recently, but poor marks for execution and stumbling out of the gates. That and once the story is further flushed out, it sounds very much like treading on old ground.


One of the things I'd always admired about Baccano! was that in its first episode it let you know exactly what were you were getting: a story that eschewed the whole idea of traditional narrative in favor of one that embraced the idea that everyone has their own story, and that eventually there can be no true beginnings or endings to a story since things continue on and on. If you think this is "stumbling out of the gates," well, I disagree. I think it was right on target from the outset. The first episode or two can be confusing, but for me the vibrant characters it created were enough to tide me over until it began to all start making sense. The second time through I appreciated the oddness of the first episode even more.


Umm, I seriously doubt anyone beyond the series creators got anything from the first episode beyond great confusion. I'd argue your memories are revisionist and more reflective (of the whole series) after having seen the whole series and thus are able to put it into context. I've yet to meet or speak to anyone who's seen the entirety of the series and commented after seeing the first episode that:

...the first episode it let you know exactly what were you were getting: a story that eschewed the whole idea of traditional narrative in favor of one that embraced the idea that everyone has their own story, and that eventually there can be no true beginnings or endings to a story since things continue on and on.

Now, on the the rest of my comments.

Yeah, I said madness and stumbled out of the gate, and I stand by that. The issues I have with it are those that Justin and Zac enumerated. And if you look at the reviews for the first DVD, the synopsis for the series is information you don't get till at least the second DVD. And with a cast to rival War and Peace in size, over multiple time lines (backwards and forwards through time) and multiple stories which (until well into the series) appear unrelated... yeah, that's a mess.

Now, the animation and musical score I thought were very good, as well as the writing (with some very complex characters); full marks for taking a risk. Isaac and Miria, I found to be very funny and enjoyed their scenes. And you are right, this is unlike what's come down the pike lately (a sentiment I shared in my earlier post) and above avg. on all fronts; definitely not the pandering fluff that's mostly being made now.

But just like Zac and Justin said (and I agree), there was no reason for the beginning of the series to be like it was -"steep" (in re: to learning curve) and "a f*cking mess" were two things they'd mentioned that immediately come to mind. They were ambitious, but ultimately when I think of others -like Pulp Fiction, which pulls this style off masterfully- Baccano stumbled.

Plus, I'm not a big fan of "It gets better later on..." Because until then, there must be something else engaging enough to carry the show through the madness/confusion or while it's busy going nowhere fast. With Baccano, I didn't get that, but I gutted it out to the end.

As for story, I couldn't help but be reminded of FMA when I finally understood more about what was going on. Alchemists, Homunculus, themes of humanity, immortality... I just couldn't help drawing the similarities between the two while watching it. In that sense it felt a bit like a retread, despite how FMA and Baccano differ.

In all, I think it's a very fine series, and well above avg., but I stand by my statements.
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Agent355



Joined: 12 Dec 2008
Posts: 4910
Location: Crackberry in hand, thumbs at the ready...
PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:04 pm Reply with quote
Re: Geneon- Ouch! That sounds painful! I was grimmacing as Kime (brilliantly) recited dissapointing sales number after dissapointing sales number. It sounds like the company tried hard, went out of its reach and crumbled.

Re: Baccano!- I never knew how entertaining mindless violence could be until I fell in love with this show. It's a fun ride. And I love the dub; it really adds to the cartoon ganster feel of the characters.

Re: Mainstreaming anime- the more the failed attempts to do just this are discussed, the more I lose hope. I never realized that an ad in Nickalodeon magazine would cost $30 thou back then. I can't imagine how much a commercial on that network would cost. I feel like I understand anime companies and the decisions they make much better now. Thanks for the great show! (Next week, get the ADV manga guys over and let's do the same thing for manga!) Wink
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Mohawk52



Joined: 16 Oct 2003
Posts: 8181
Location: England, UK
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 12:55 am Reply with quote
samuelp wrote:
Mohawk52 wrote:
Most of you are still talking braodcasting the programmes. I'm refering to just advertising their existance. and where the DVD's could be bought. Yes anime and mangsa is available in video, and book shops, but in my experience when I rediscovered anime and later manga I had to seek it out my self. I rediscovered it simply by chance, channel surfing back in 1999. All during my experience I have hunted in various shops only to find it on obscure shelves in back corners and not once, even now, has any been in the shop windows. Always hiden away. Manga Entertainment had the only TV advert for their titles that I have ever seen, and it was on most of the channels that have ads. (BBC is government supported so therefore has no ads.) Not sure how successful it was, but it made the hairs on the back of neck stand up seeing it for the first time, and it can't have hurt sales, only helped. Being so clandestine is so unnecessary.


Demonstrate to me how the cost of TV advertising could actually be justified in terms of increased sales.

If, according to the podcast, the actual TV _broadcast_ (which I would consider quite an excellent for of advertising) only increased sales of say, Samurai Champloo by 10%, then how could an expense of 10K for a TV spot ever increase sales enough to justify the cost for any particular show?

Perhaps a sustained, general marketing campaign for an entire brand would be great for overall growth, but it seems like a long shot at this juncture.
Do you know what American broadcasters call the programmes they transmit on their channels? "fill between commercial breaks". Wink
Ask any company that has advertised their products and they will tell you the answer to that. One has to spend money to make money. and if advertising didn't bring in the dosh, why would there be so much of it in virtually every non publicly supported media on this planet? Broadcasters may sniff at your programmes, but they will let you shag their wives for your ads. BTW, I never said it had to be just TV ads Wink Defence rests
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Malajax



Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 7
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 1:59 am Reply with quote
I enjoying this podcast at work when I had an epiphany. I like anime and Japanese culture. I like history (and learning things in general). I should study Japanese history! I was estatic! I've spent 3 years wondering what the hell I could possibly do with my life and this made the most sense to me. So, thank you ANNcast!

It was truly an excellent show. I really hope each episode following is even more enlightening than the next!
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Mohawk52



Joined: 16 Oct 2003
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Location: England, UK
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 3:17 am Reply with quote
I find it darkly amusing that a company, owned by a publishing and advertising powerhouse like Dentsu, couldn't find enough money to advertise in a fan magazine. Nothing like starving your own children just to keep from spending a yen. Rolling Eyes
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GATSU



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
Posts: 14522
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:40 am Reply with quote
BTW, Keaton's problem wasn't that it targets older viewers. It suffered due to the following issues: 1) No English manga translation tie-in; 2) Casual fans lacked familiarity with Urasawa in general; 3) The lead's an effing dullard and the show goes all over the place without a sense of purpose; 4) The episode previews lack the motivational hook for you to keep going. Keaton has to be the most introverted anime I've ever seen.
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CruzMissile



Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 76
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:05 am Reply with quote
I think someone linked it on another subject on this forum but dvd's for the most part (as unfortunatly proven by this weeks podcast) don't make that much money. On the other hand, anime merchandising makes a crap load of money. I'm guessing merchandising rights aren't included in the dvd deal or if they are only in limited amounts? Or do the anime companies then sub license the merch rights to hasbro or whomever? Or are we all buying figures from retailers that have to massively import all the figures from Japan?

I'm mean lets face it, a show like yugioh is really a 25 min infomercial for the card game.

... I hope someone can make sense of what I'm trying to get at... trying to make a sound logical argument at 5am isn't one of my strong points.

I will say though that was a very informative show, although I'm curious to see how shows like Last Exile and Black Lagoon did...
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jsevakis
ANN Director of New Media


Joined: 28 Jul 2003
Posts: 1679
Location: Los Angeles, CA
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:21 am Reply with quote
Mohawk52 wrote:
I find it darkly amusing that a company, owned by a publishing and advertising powerhouse like Dentsu, couldn't find enough money to advertise in a fan magazine. Nothing like starving your own children just to keep from spending a yen. Rolling Eyes


Actually, Geneon was one of the biggest spenders in North American print ads out of any US distro, if not THE biggest. Their closing REALLY hurt most of the magazines.

Not to argue that advertising is important, but the "anime demographic," that is, tech-savvy teens and young adults, is causing advertisers to wring their hands. They don't read much print media, don't watch nearly as much TV generations past. And of course, they don't all visit the same websites (except for Facebook, where ads tend to get ignored altogether). Since the audience is so fractured, marketing broadly is waaaay harder and more expensive than it used to be. This is actually one of the biggest challenges in entertainment at the moment.
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Blood-
Subscriber



Joined: 07 Mar 2009
Posts: 20876
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:43 am Reply with quote
Just finished listening to the podcast now. Totally fascinating and utterly depressing. It also underscores the complete futility of trying to second guess licensing and distributing decisions unless you have the behind the scenes info. That podcast should be compulsory listening for anybody who wants to comment on any licensing/distributing Talkback thread at ANN. On top of the usual screw-ups that can go with any industry, you have the Japanese rights holders - non-Japanese distribs dynamic which just adds the potential for a whole new layer of irrationality.

My new attitude towards DVD releases? If a title that I like comes out dubbed, I will treat it as the minor miracle it is and if it is sub-only, I'll be thankful for what I can get.
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Sailor S



Joined: 20 May 2009
Posts: 2945
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:36 am Reply with quote
Hands down my favorite show yet. I thought the Chris Johnston show was great, but this one just blew everything else away. It was really refreshing after getting so much runaround at every convention by industry people to finally get someone who can actually say what went on behind the scenes. It really was a sad time for me when Geneon folded because such a large part of my collection at the time was by them. And at the time I suppose my collection was around 900, maybe 1000 DVDs, so that was no small amount. I really did like hearing some actual sales figures and how certain properties did. Some did about what I expected, others I was a bit surprised at how well, and in some cases how poorly they did.

Well, I sure hope you can manage to have some more podcasts of this caliber. That's a big task, I know, but I'll remain hopeful.
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qollocust



Joined: 31 Jul 2003
Posts: 182
Location: Philadelphia
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 3:28 pm Reply with quote
jgreen wrote:
I mean, look at all the shows that have caught on big on American television over the years: Speed Racer, Macross, Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, Pokemon. Those shows have virtually nothing in common, so there's clearly no magic formula other than putting good shows where people can see them and hoping they catch on.


Actually all of these shows have a major thing in common: merchandising! These are the shows that had (and still have) a lot of merchandise to support them. Also the merchandise they have tends to appeal to a wide range of fans. They have cheaply made dolls and figurines for the kids they enjoy the shows, but they also have t-shirts, wallscrolls, nicer models, etc for older fans. The fact they they can appeal to a wide age range only helped them more. Also fans are going to keep buying stuff from these franchises out of shear nostalgia (I know I do with Pokemon).

Shows like Cowboy Bebop (which did really well) don't have as many options when it comes to merchandise. Their fanbases are going to be almost exclusively older fans. Sure they'll buy t-shirts and wallscrolls, but seriously, what kind of toys can you make based on Bebop that will sell really well?


Back to the topics discussed in the podcast - I never really understood why Card Captor Sakura was released in such an odd way and now I do! I was one of the many fans who were buying the sub-only releases (on VHS!) but stopped when the release order got messed up. I didn't really consciously stop buying the series, but I remember when the volume that was released out of order (was 4 or 5? I don't remember) came out, I was frustrated and decided to wait until the previous volume came out so I could watch the show in order. Well I waited longer than expected and started collecting something else. By the time the CCS volumes I was waiting for were out, I had moved on. I still want to see the rest of the series though.
CCS was sort of doomed from the start though with the whole Cardcaptors thing. Seriously, who thought that was a good idea?
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wandering-dreamer



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 1733
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:34 pm Reply with quote
Weighing in on Baccano, the first episode makes a heck of a lot more sense if you watch it again after you watch the first 13 episodes. Seriously, you pretty much need to do it. And I was another person who heard the hype, was a bit hesitant, and it took a few episodes to really get me going on it. I really liked it and am saving up for that box set.
Also, Baccano isn't based on just one light novel. It's based on three with big chunks from another two in the series as well and, based off the first novel which is the only complete fan translation I believe, it jumped around a lot in the story as well. And that little girl y'all seem to hate so much (I actually liked her) was not in the original volume, the story is instead being told to this Japanese tourist who is retrieving his stolen camera in NYC (and apparently is a minor character or lives next to a character in Dhurarara but don't quote me on that).
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Mohawk52



Joined: 16 Oct 2003
Posts: 8181
Location: England, UK
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 7:08 pm Reply with quote
jsevakis wrote:
Mohawk52 wrote:
I find it darkly amusing that a company, owned by a publishing and advertising powerhouse like Dentsu, couldn't find enough money to advertise in a fan magazine. Nothing like starving your own children just to keep from spending a yen. Rolling Eyes


Actually, Geneon was one of the biggest spenders in North American print ads out of any US distro, if not THE biggest. Their closing REALLY hurt most of the magazines.

Not to argue that advertising is important, but the "anime demographic," that is, tech-savvy teens and young adults, is causing advertisers to wring their hands. They don't read much print media, don't watch nearly as much TV generations past. And of course, they don't all visit the same websites (except for Facebook, where ads tend to get ignored altogether). Since the audience is so fractured, marketing broadly is waaaay harder and more expensive than it used to be. This is actually one of the biggest challenges in entertainment at the moment.
Oh without a doubt the internet has blown wide open the the closed walls of the "captured audience" with its global access which is mostly free to anyone who has the savy to "milk " the web. I mean how can anyone monopolise free? But that is being researched and developed as I type, so I have a feeling that situation won't last for much longer as too much money is being lost by the old media that can't compete, and the same looking at this new fangled intarweb thangy as "virgin territory for the raping and pillaging". Like your Gold Rush of 1849, prospectors, in the form of media barons, are running over each other to stake their claim in hopes of finding that illusive "large chunk of gold" in the digital ether, and like 1849 many will go back home disheartened and broke, but a few will strike it rich by finding a way to make it pay. Mighty oaks, from little acorns, grow. It's only a matter of time when the internet is "tamed" and what should be paid for, will be with no getting round it. Wink Back to topic now and if anything Mr. Kime has illuminated to us, it is timing is everything, and Geneon was cursed with bad timing made worse by over bidding and over estimating. A perfect example of how not to do it. BTW Justin I'm sure the folks at FUNimation will be most amused at how you feel towards their success so far. Wink
Zac, I must tell you that upon hearing your voice, you have a twin, albeit with a British accent, that sounds just like you right down to your infectious laugh, and I work with him sometimes. Laughing
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Charred Knight



Joined: 29 Sep 2008
Posts: 3085
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 7:23 pm Reply with quote
Blood- wrote:
Just finished listening to the podcast now. Totally fascinating and utterly depressing. It also underscores the complete futility of trying to second guess licensing and distributing decisions unless you have the behind the scenes info. That podcast should be compulsory listening for anybody who wants to comment on any licensing/distributing Talkback thread at ANN. On top of the usual screw-ups that can go with any industry, you have the Japanese rights holders - non-Japanese distribs dynamic which just adds the potential for a whole new layer of irrationality.

My new attitude towards DVD releases? If a title that I like comes out dubbed, I will treat it as the minor miracle it is and if it is sub-only, I'll be thankful for what I can get.


Correct, how many people claimed that fanservice titles was what did the american anime industry in? I mean Toonzone did an entire article basically claiming that fanservice doesn't sell. Then this podcast cames out proving them and a lot of people flat out wrong.

Ikkitousen made money, and the bombs came from all over the area. I mean who would have guess that Heat Guy J cost as much as Fullmetal Alchemist while doing crap?
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