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Interview: Garden of Sinners' Atsuhiro Iwakami and Hikaru Kondo


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Big Hed



Joined: 04 May 2006
Posts: 1607
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:09 am Reply with quote
Atsuhiro Iwakami wrote:
Right now, we're not in any talks for it ... Revenues cannot catch up with the popularity of Japanese anime in North America. We have built a relationship with Japanese fans and would like to [build the same relationship] with U.S. fans.


So, it sounds as if Aniplex may be fairly committed to higher-priced releases after all. And no cheap KnK set that they're willing to admit to.

Oh boy oh boy, this is going to be a fun 150 posts!

Quote:
I personally try not to worry about what trends will come and just do what I find interesting. For example, K-ON! and Hidamari Sketch - they're "slice of life"-type anime, which you may not know well here. I like them, but if the market is flooded with those shows, story-driven series like Madoka Magica may look more fresh. So I do what I think is interesting at that time.


Good to hear about another producer who is interested in bucking the current trend. And the mention of Madoka has me wondering if I should try picking it up...

Hikaru Kondo wrote:
We're currently working on Fate/Zero with the staff who did Garden of Sinners. That's what the producer wanted. The main director is Ei Aoki, who is a good fit for Fate/Zero. Other directors will also help each episode. I look forward to it. I expect that this will be a highly motivated TV anime.


And further joy! Not that I'd expect to hear much else, but given that the core of the KnK team seems to be remaining intact here, that's cause to celebrate. I only wonder how they'll fare transiting from movies to television episodes...


Last edited by Big Hed on Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:27 am; edited 1 time in total
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luffypirate85



Joined: 06 Oct 2006
Posts: 2779

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:26 am Reply with quote
Big Hed wrote:
Atsuhiro Iwakami wrote:
Right now, we're not in any talks for it.


Oh boy oh boy, this is going to be a fun 150 posts!


Haters gonna hate. Too bad they will just see the quote and shit bricks without actually reading what he has to say. The guy is telling the honest to god truth at why things are they way they are. He has my friendship and patronage though.

Fate/Zero is gonna be epic...
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Yuki_Kun45



Joined: 26 May 2008
Posts: 542
Location: U.S.A.

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:41 am Reply with quote
Quote:
We wanted to give U.S. fans the same thing that we gave Japanese fans-- that was our original feeling. We know that in the U.S., DVDs are very cheap. But calculating the costs, we couldn't make the same package [at a more normal U.S. price] that we made in Japan. But we recognize the expense.


As considerate as that is, maybe I don't want the art book. And you know I don't need a fancy art box either. I would be happy with a cheap economic set. Wish they could have done that, granted it would have still been expensive to do both.
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here-and-faraway



Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 1284
Location: Sunny California

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:49 am Reply with quote
Quote:
AI: There isn't a big difference between the version shown at theaters and the version in the [physical] release, although some parts were cut.


Does anyone know what was cut from the Blu Ray release and why?
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nightjuan



Joined: 22 Jan 2008
Posts: 1420

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:51 am Reply with quote
It's not about hate, at least not on my end, but talking about "building the same kind of relationship" isn't exactly a good thing when we aren't speaking about a healthy one to begin with. Consider that it is based on the principle of setting the price for anime releases in Japan as high as possible in order to secure a certain minimum level of sales and nothing more than that.

The idea is to continue to exploit a collector's market at the expense of reaching out to a more casual mainstream audience that isn't willing to spend quite as much as crazy Type-Moon fans. You know, the people who don't really care for awesome packaging but simply want to watch a certain show. In this particular case, however, I suppose the fact that these movies were theatrically released serves as a bit of compensation (more people will be exposed to the product at a cheaper price and, at the same time, sales will tend to be higher in the long run because of it).

But generally speaking, selecting such a prohibitive premium format for these releases tends to disrupt the normal operation of the laws of supply and demand. I cannot welcome the re-introduction of said logic into Western markets, let alone when cheaper alternatives are not going to be on the table at all. Of course, even this isn't a criminal offense or anything of the sort. I'm not under that illusion. It's entirely within their rights.

Moving beyond that tiresome discussion...the interview as a whole was quite interesting as a look behind the scenes, despite my not having seen the film series in question yet. Also, it gave me a couple of reasons to look forward to Fate/Zero.
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reanimator



Joined: 25 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:20 am Reply with quote
Nice interview. I like the main focus of the interview, but it could go deeper if time permits. Hikaru Kondo's background in TMS is brief and somewhat interesting, but not as interesting as his personal interview in 2006.

I really want to visit ufocafe if I go to Japan. I wonder if Pop travel Japan could add it as a package...

Again people who seem (or pretend) to know the market are raising stink about pricing. Seriously, how many people will buy it even if it was set to 70$-$100 price range without extras? To my knowledge, only a handful of far lower priced anime DVD titles make significant sale. Since Garden of Sinner is not mainstream animated movie to begin with, so where is guarantee that it'll sell really well even with lower price?


Last edited by reanimator on Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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Big Hed



Joined: 04 May 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:38 am Reply with quote
here-and-faraway wrote:
Quote:
AI: There isn't a big difference between the version shown at theaters and the version in the [physical] release, although some parts were cut.


Does anyone know what was cut from the Blu Ray release and why?


Yeah, this wasn't pleasant to hear.
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Nagisa
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Joined: 19 Aug 2003
Posts: 6128
Location: Atlanta-ish, Jawjuh

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:57 am Reply with quote
nightjuan wrote:
The idea is to continue to exploit a collector's market at the expense of reaching out to a more casual mainstream audience that isn't willing to spend quite as much as crazy Type-Moon fans. You know, the people who don't really care for awesome packaging but simply want to watch a certain show.


Hell, I am a crazy Type-Moon fan, but I still agree with your general sentiment. If I'm looking to buy a DVD copy of a show or movie, I'm looking to buy a DVD copy of a show or movie, not a DVD plus an artbook plus a t-shirt plus a figurine plus an armband plus a keychain plus a poster plus fifteen discs of behind the scenes what-have-you plus the director's autographed cat, Boots-san. I'll buy all of that separately if it interests me, but when I buy the DVD, I just want the DVD.

Catering to the otaku super-collector market is fine, but they're not the sole market that might be interested in a product, and incidents like Kara no Kyoukai's apparent release model honestly have me more worried for the anime industry than upset about my own selfish wants. They seem to be actively and deliberately cutting out the casual market in favor of solely pursuing the otaku that cuts food out of their budget for the hottest moé hug pillow or $500 super-package of K-On! tchotchkes with a DVD buried somewhere under them, and I worry that such a single-minded pursuit is only going to lead to a massive loss of potential revenue and bigger financial troubles down the line. There has to be a happy medium somewhere; perhaps release the big $<life-savings> bundle-box first and have it exclusively available for the first six months, then follow that up with the economy package for the casual market. It's not a market to underestimate, much less exclude or try to force into the otaku mode of making purchases.

And yes, yes, they're well within their rights to sell their product any way they so choose. But as I continue to pick my teeth up off the ground after getting socked in the face with the realization I will likely never, ever own a copy of one of my all-time favorite movies (well, movie serials), I also worry about whether or not they're in the process of shooting themselves in the foot selling it in such a way.
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maaya



Joined: 14 Oct 2007
Posts: 976

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:07 am Reply with quote
Big Hed wrote:

Good to hear about another producer who is interested in bucking the current trend. And the mention of Madoka has me wondering if I should try picking it up...


You should. Best series of the season.
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luffypirate85



Joined: 06 Oct 2006
Posts: 2779

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:36 am Reply with quote
maaya wrote:
Big Hed wrote:

Good to hear about another producer who is interested in bucking the current trend. And the mention of Madoka has me wondering if I should try picking it up...


You should. Best series of the season.


Slap some subs on that mofo and I'd be there. Fractale too.
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Nayu



Joined: 23 Dec 2010
Posts: 676

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:43 am Reply with quote
From Animaniacs to the Garden of Sinners. Nice.
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hissatsu01



Joined: 08 May 2006
Posts: 809
Location: NYC

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:18 am Reply with quote
Big Hed wrote:
here-and-faraway wrote:
Quote:
AI: There isn't a big difference between the version shown at theaters and the version in the [physical] release, although some parts were cut.


Does anyone know what was cut from the Blu Ray release and why?


Yeah, this wasn't pleasant to hear.


Relax. Do you really think this release would have parts removed without raging Type Moon fans going nuts? By now sites would have been flooded with detailed comparisons of what had been removed, along with calls for burning down ufotable and Aniplex. Every other review on amazon.co.jp would be a tirade against this abomination.

Nothing was cut from the blu-ray release. The movies are the same on DVD and BD. I take it the word "cut" here is being used as in a cut from a film and the translation came out a bit off. I've heard it used that way pretty often in Japanese. New cuts as in animation being reworked in scenes, fixes made, which is pretty common for home video releases of movies and TV shows.
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reanimator



Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 949

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:44 am Reply with quote
I understand that casual fans want anime DVDs without extras. Heck, I buy regular edition Hollywood movies from time to time.

I'm not too fond of Otaku market either, but it's the casual fans' behavior that drove the market to the corner. Since anime is widely available through internet and TV broadcasts(in Japan), and rentals(in Japan), there is no particular need to buy physical media unless that person is very, very pleased fan or simply a collector. Otaku is still relied upon for stable customer loyalty unlike fickle casual fans.

I want anime to reach out more audience too, but its content is just too uneven for wide mainstream acceptance. In order for anime to reach out more diverse audience with better cost benefit, it may have to give up many crazy ideas and questionable source materials we take for granted. If that was in effect, then they wouldn't make Garden of Sinners because of its risky and questionable subject matter.

The movie is extreme niche as it is, I'm glad that it didn't go up to $1,000. Here's crazy Japanese video pricing back 14 years ago. When Tokuma released all of Studio Ghibli films except Princess Mononoke in Collector's box set (Ghibli ga Ippai) in laserdisc, it was almost $2,000. We're talking about all of Miyazaki and Takataha movies produced in Ghilbi before 1997 priced at almost $2,000! Only extra it had was Miyazaki interviewing Akira Kurosawa. Extreme it maybe, but all of hardcore Ghibli fans pre-ordered and bought the box sets. Thank god I didn't buy the box set.

Price of Anime DVD went down dramatically, but did it increased its status in mainstream dramatically as well? Better yet, how many anime titles other than kid's show that made significant sale where many of its licensed titles reached 10,000 unit mark even with lower and better price?

Japanese have been paying high price for their crazy cartoons, so what make you the westerners immune from the effect?
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GATSU



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
Posts: 12963

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:38 am Reply with quote
Quote:
But calculating the costs, we couldn't make the same package [at a more normal U.S. price] that we made in Japan. But we recognize the expense.


So why not just make a cheaper package? I mean, do we even need all that junk? Look what happened to Working Designs when it went that route with games. The die-hards were the only ones buying their products by the end.

Quote:
Kodansha published a two-volume Garden of Sinners [novel set] with a price of over 10,000 yen [about US$120]. The fans rated the packaging very highly... there's a feeling that it commemorates the completion of the series.


Hopefully, they'll be smarter, here.

Quote:
At the same time, we understand that U.S. fans want a cheaper price. The situation is complicated.


Uh, no it's not. Bandai Visual did fine with the limited and special editions of the Patlabor movies. I don't see why you can't do the same. Especially if you really wanna penetrate the American market that bad. At least I respect their intentions, though.

Quote:
it wouldn't be okay if anybody in Japan could watch a Hollywood movie right after its theatrical premiere.


It'd be ok if they could do it legally.

Quote:
We released the Tales of Symphonia limited-edition DVD box set with bonus features for a price of about 8,000 yen (about US$97.85). It was different from the standard edition. We included a five-minute bonus feature for the fans who bought it. The feature was uploaded onto [Japanese video streaming site] Nico Nico Douga. We deleted it.


Well, wouldn't it have been easier if the original release had those features in the first place? I mean, part of why home video sales are down in the first place is because studios on our end gamed the market with double and triple dips of popular titles.

reanimator:
Quote:
Seriously, how many people will buy it even if it was set to 70$-$100 price range without extras?


I dunno, but certainly more of 'em. Sure, maybe it doesn't have big buzz, but if more people could see it at an affordable price, I'm sure it would help increase an audience for it through WOM.

Quote:
When Tokuma released all of Studio Ghibli films except Princess Mononoke in Collector's box set (Ghibli ga Ippai) in laserdisc, it was almost $2,000.


That's 'cus LD was an over-priced inefficient format to begin with.

Quote:
Price of Anime DVD went down dramatically, but did it increased its status in mainstream dramatically as well?


In a lot of cases, yes. At least enough for me to be taken seriously when I discussed Paprika with Chris Nolan and Guillermo Del Toro. You can't get freer publicity than that.

Quote:
Japanese have been paying high price for their crazy cartoons, so what make you the westerners immune from the effect?


The fact that we can watch other stuff? And/or spend that money on video games? Rolling Eyes
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Big Hed



Joined: 04 May 2006
Posts: 1607
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:04 am Reply with quote
hissatsu01 wrote:
Big Hed wrote:
here-and-faraway wrote:
Quote:
AI: There isn't a big difference between the version shown at theaters and the version in the [physical] release, although some parts were cut.


Does anyone know what was cut from the Blu Ray release and why?


Yeah, this wasn't pleasant to hear.


Relax. Do you really think this release would have parts removed without raging Type Moon fans going nuts? By now sites would have been flooded with detailed comparisons of what had been removed, along with calls for burning down ufotable and Aniplex. Every other review on amazon.co.jp would be a tirade against this abomination.

Nothing was cut from the blu-ray release. The movies are the same on DVD and BD. I take it the word "cut" here is being used as in a cut from a film and the translation came out a bit off. I've heard it used that way pretty often in Japanese. New cuts as in animation being reworked in scenes, fixes made, which is pretty common for home video releases of movies and TV shows.


Truth be told, I was having a hard time imagining what chain of decisions would lead to Aniplex releasing a $400 set of cut BDs, and was imagining a more reasonable explanation such as this must exist; hence my previous post refrained from including emboldened, capitalized, or italicized text, or any combination thereof.
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