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Utsuro no Hako



Joined: 18 May 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:26 pm Reply with quote
When anime did make it to the US in the 80s, it wasn't presented as anything different from regular US cartoons. If you were five, you could watch a lineup of Starbalzers, He-Man, Speedracer, GI Joe, Voltron and Carebears without realizing anything was different about some of those shows besides Speedracer's janky animation. Robotech was the first time I realized, "Hey, this is DIFFERENT," but I didn't know what until much later.
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Asterisk-CGY



Joined: 09 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:35 pm Reply with quote
I think another part was just that reverse importation fear that delayed everything that also doesn't help build the trust for a fanbase to grow.
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varmintx



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:52 pm Reply with quote
I'm curious how a show like Humans, billed as an "AMC Original" but very clearly created in the UK, relates to this discussion.
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Wrangler



Joined: 11 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:55 pm Reply with quote
I had the same reaction as Utsuro no Hako. I grew up what would been termed Kiddized / waterdown Anime. Star Blazers & Robotech were notable exception to that. Suddenly realized there was more out there. Some smuggled in by fans of material coming out in Japan exclusively, thus where i discovered Gundam, Bubblegum Crisis (the original OVA series),Crusher Joe, Patlabor.

Problem was that a lot people who minded the networks kinda looked down on cartoons as whole. Must the cartoons coming out in the 1970s and some of the 1980s was very old, some of them dating back to the 1930s to 1960. Much of that faded by the end of the 1980s. Some younger folks may not be away who live in the US now, there was MORE cartoons / animation on the air on the networks and local UHF Stations then than now. Much of older American cartoons were killed by Parent groups trying to censor volience to children.

Alot has changed, regulations demanding more educational programming literately killed much of the Saturday Morning cartoon block on the major networks. Some new Animes (importated over snuck in there) much of Cartoons which were animes in reality ended up on the UHF stations.

Now Anime is main stream, sort of. I don't think it's fully been a hit, it was couple years ago be before streaming services started picking up anime and sales of anime went the wayside in brick and mortar stores. There indications Anime is dying in Japan, with anime houses barely getting by. Still in the US there fans, but stuff coming out now that eventually hits the old televised networks is years old now.
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Kadmos1
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:25 pm Reply with quote
If the person that asked the question meant "taking off" in the sense it is more or closer to mainstream now, it was maybe the last 20 years it reached that popularity level in the USA. However, if you count a limited fan base, then anime has been various levels of popularity for over 55 years in the USA.
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belvadeer



Joined: 11 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:27 pm Reply with quote
Were there also concerns or fears over releasing a foreign production during those times when North America had gotten its own bearings with airing its own cartoons on TV?
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Dr.N0



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:58 pm Reply with quote
North America, excluding Quebec, where we have had that stuff from the 60s onwards.
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EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:10 pm Reply with quote
Utsuro no Hako wrote:
When anime did make it to the US in the 80s, it wasn't presented as anything different from regular US cartoons. If you were five, you could watch a lineup of Starbalzers, He-Man, Speedracer, GI Joe, Voltron and Carebears without realizing anything was different about some of those shows besides Speedracer's janky animation. Robotech was the first time I realized, "Hey, this is DIFFERENT," but I didn't know what until much later.


Thing is, only the cheap bottom-feeding producers, the Sandy Frank/Battle of the Planets, etc., were bringing over Robotech, Voltron and Starblazers. That, and the janky 80's-space animation with the, quote, "yap-yap" dubbing, was seen as a plague on 80's syndication, as it was usually picked up by the low-rent stations that couldn't afford to show the hit properties like He-Man, Transformers and GI Joe.
We knew it was foreign, and since Japan wasn't cool yet (this was the 80's), the fact that it WAS foreign made it an annoying laughingstock. To the uninitiated, even Robotech looked like cheap low-rent goods that was, well, Made In Japan.

But, of course, you had the faithful...Ohh, the Faithful. Rolling Eyes
Those who would not only pin you down in playground conversations and tell you why [email protected]$$ Looking Robotech Was the Most Groundbreaking Series Ever, they would also start dogpiling upon every symbol of Overexposed American Animation as the devil, hoping that Rick Hunter and Derek Wildstar would lead the revolution.
I quote: "Robotech is different, because it's got an epic story where people really die in it, not like on GI Joe! It's so much better than those moronic little kid cartoons every afternoon, with Yogi Bear, the Flintstones and the Care Bears!"
(I quote myself, thirty years ago: Friend, you don't pick on the Flintstones in my neighborhood. And you'd better danged well watch what you say about Yogi or Snagglepuss.)

So what happened to all these angry lil' fringe fans, who carried the torch for cheap Harmony Gold dubbing? Four years later, in '88-'90, they went to college. They started running into Japanese exchange students who were getting VHS care packages from home (crazy commercials and gameshows included), when they got some money, they bought laserdisc players and imported region-free anime disks because you could bootleg a VHS off of them, and clubs were born.
Even before there was such a thing as Fan-subtitles, afterschool campus clubs sprang up to trade raw bootlegs, merch, dojinshi and the most treasured gold of all, Xeroxed Animag synopses..If you had actual issues, you had a Ferrari. These were the Rosetta Stones of a generation.

By that point, it was now a Cult Thing, and little garage companies sprang up to subtitle what they COULD get: Weird-looking OVA's and artsy one-off features. (It was the early 90's, weird/violent/ecchi anime had to go to OVA, since nobody else in Japan wanted it.) That didn't help anime's "Japanese invasion!" image with the mainstream, and we went through about five years of "Violent cartoon porn assaulting our children!" in the news before Power Rangers and Sailor Moon hit. And let's save those weirdo Streamline Pictures releases, still trying to make a career out of Akira, for a whole 'nother discussion...Otherwise, we'd be discussing Twilight of the Cockroaches for three pages.
In the clubs, AnimEigo finally hit on the idea of getting Urusei Yatsura, and selling their "VHS of the Month" subscription by mail, and even then, it was like a thunderbolt: Wait, somebody's actually gotten a series we watch? Shocked And subtitled it?? Next thing you know, Carl Macek will try dubbing Nadia!

So, from Star-Blazer warriors to Sailor Moon fans, and AnimEigo UY and the rise of ADV in between, that's only '84-'93. Nine years, not too long.


Last edited by EricJ2 on Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:04 pm; edited 2 times in total
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:41 pm Reply with quote
Wasn't it about getting the right stuff and marketing it correctly. The early imports, as others have pointed out. Where edited into other shows, robbing them of most of their personalty and removing any mature elements, to homogenise them into being the same as everything else. And then later you get the OVA market, which has Anime fans watching untouched shows. But this has no appeal beyond a small crowd. So it wasn't until you got shows like; DBZ, Pokemon, Sailor Moon etc. Shows that could be Americanised to reach a wide audience, but still retain most of their identify as Anime.
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Top Gun



Joined: 28 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:09 pm Reply with quote
Kadmos1 wrote:
If the person that asked the question meant "taking off" in the sense it is more or closer to mainstream now, it was maybe the last 20 years it reached that popularity level in the USA. However, if you count a limited fan base, then anime has been various levels of popularity for over 55 years in the USA.

Yeah, there's definitely some sort of qualifier that could be attached here. My parents were born around 1960 and aren't particularly nerdy, but my mom clearly remembers the theme song to Astro Boy; in fact her high school marching band used the melody as a fight song. My dad watched Speed Racer way back when too (he got a big kick out of the Dexter's Laboratory spoof episode). I'm fairly sure that neither of them specifically recognized these shows as coming from Japan, at least not at the time, but they still had a cultural presence. Obviously much of Latin America and Europe saw far more widespread exposure until a couple of decades ago.
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DerekL1963
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Joined: 14 Jan 2015
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:25 pm Reply with quote
Wrangler wrote:
Problem was that a lot people who minded the networks kinda looked down on cartoons as whole.


It's not so much that they were looked down on, as they'd become ghettoized - cartoons were for kids, and thus only aired in the afterschool and Saturday morning blocks. This sharply limited production because there was a sharply limited number of hours per day.

In the 80's, this began to change as the Star Wars merchandising boom drove home the idea that entertainment could also a lucrative money printing machine by serving as commercials for merch. It's not that there weren't tie-ins before, but they were largely afterthoughts and indifferently marketed at best. The programs were still aimed at children, but production quality markedly improved from the depths it had fallen to in the 60's and 70's.

Then came the 90's... And the rise and spread of the satellite cable channel. With an increased number of hours available and an increased audience, both Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network (but particularly Cartoon Network) aired a number of more "adult" shows and Cartoon Network had the hugely popular Toonami. This changed the perception of animation and laid the foundations for where we are today. (Along with the factors EricJ2 discusses.)
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Spawn29



Joined: 14 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:31 pm Reply with quote
It seems like Akira open the gateway for Anime after the 80's since it was able to show that there is market for it and animation be take seriously for adults too. I do remember when I was a little kid in the 90's, you can find a big selection of anime VHS tapes at any video store like Sam Goody, Suncoast, Blockbuster and even Best Buy.
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EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:11 pm Reply with quote
DerekL1963 wrote:
In the 80's, this began to change as the Star Wars merchandising boom drove home the idea that entertainment could also a lucrative money printing machine by serving as commercials for merch. It's not that there weren't tie-ins before, but they were largely afterthoughts and indifferently marketed at best. The programs were still aimed at children, but production quality markedly improved from the depths it had fallen to in the 60's and 70's.


US animation did change and become more commercial in the mid-80's, but there were reasons for it:
Properties that weren't based on a well-known movie or TV show were shakier in the marketplace against Star Wars' action-figure juggernaut, and new toys like He-Man, Transformers, My Little Pony and GI Joe had to come with their own mythology already in place. He-Man originally tried selling its story with an included comic (that had little to do with the series), and GI Joe licensed a Marvel comic ahead of its line, but toy company presidents pointed out that comic books couldn't much appeal to their youngest customers who couldn't read.
On top of that, new FCC regulations meant that toy commercials could only contain a maximum 7 seconds of the toys in animated form before showing the real thing, both of which meant taking toy-commercial exposure to animated series.

That meant a lot of M-F afternoon weekday-strip cartoons had to be animated, FAST.
He-Man was "lucky" to snare a major US studio like Filmation, but they were still stuck in their leaden, static Archies/Star Trek 70's animation where only one thing moved per shot. Other shows outsourced their animation to cheaper Japanese studios, and even fans who weren't watching Robotech already noticed that GI Joe and the Transformers had more dynamic movement and action in their set-up shots...And I don't think I have to mention Rankin-Bass outsourcing the Thundercats opening, do I? Anime catgrin
And of course, the example of Rankin-Bass also outsourcing 1982's "The Last Unicorn" to a little Japanese studio that later became famous, is considered one of the "bridges" between US 80's animation and an appreciation of Japanese style, even though we hardly realized it at the time.
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Utsuro no Hako



Joined: 18 May 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:29 pm Reply with quote
EricJ2 wrote:

Thing is, only the cheap bottom-feeding producers, the Sandy Frank/Battle of the Planets, etc., were bringing over Robotech, Voltron and Starblazers. That, and the janky 80's-space animation with the, quote, "yap-yap" dubbing, was seen as a plague on 80's syndication, as it was usually picked up by the low-rent stations that couldn't afford to show the hit properties like He-Man, Transformers and GI Joe.
We knew it was foreign, and since Japan wasn't cool yet (this was the 80's), the fact that it WAS foreign made it an annoying laughingstock. To the uninitiated, even Robotech looked like cheap low-rent goods that was, well, Made In Japan.


You were obviously a bit older than me when Robotech came out. For a six year old, it was a terrifying experience. The bit where Rick and Lisa were trapped on the Zentradei ship was like a horror movie to a first grader. I actually stopped watching the show for a couple weeks after the Zentradei destroyed the Earth. There was a shot of a little kid getting obliterated by a nuclear fireball that makes Watership Down look like a Disney movie. And then when I tuned in again, the story had moved onto Southern Cross and I couldn't understand what had happened. Laughing
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epicwizard



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:34 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
TV networks now look at shows from other countries, but not for stuff to license, but stuff to remake. Movie studios will join onto foreign films when they're still in development, rather than buy the rights to films already made.

Do these remakes happen because of the higher ups thinking that mainstream Americans don't want to consume media that's "too foreign"?
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