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Answerman - Why Aren't Licensed Anime T-Shirts Nicer?


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Engineering Nerd



Joined: 24 Apr 2008
Posts: 472
Location: Southern California
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:19 pm Reply with quote
Thank you very much for this article, now that answers one of the biggest questions I have regarding the western anime fandom.


Although....to be frank, I personally would NEVER wear an anime shirt to the public, since my social circle in USA isn’t very friendly and open-minded to anime stuff, thus, wearing shirts that have images of even main stream hits like Naruto, Bleach, MHA, AoT, etc, is bit of challenging for me, let alone the more obscure Otaku ones.


That being said, if shirts like the JoJo collaborations one day enter the western market, I will seriously consider it. Since you can’t tell they are influenced by anime at first glance
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Sakurafire_



Joined: 01 Jun 2015
Posts: 31
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:35 pm Reply with quote
I personally wear a lot of anime and nerdy shirts. Most are low key, most aren't, but nothing looks like that damn All Might shirt that was posted before. lol

I would love to see more adult friendly anime shirts, but it comes down to price. They'd be crazy expensive to produce, since they are released in small quantities, and that would be the biggest detriment to them being released.
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mgosdin



Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 1247
Location: Kissimmee, Florida, USA
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:48 pm Reply with quote
I'm some 20 years older than Justin and I'm not in the least worried about wearing an Anime themed T-Shirt out into public. Of course living in Florida, Orlando Metro / Kissimmee to boot, offers a lot of cover. All those Mickey Mouse / Frozen / Pixar T-Shirts, my Anime stuff doesn't even register. I've also got select Dr. Who and my favorite Jurassic Park logo with ジュラシック パーク T-Shirts, so I do have variety.

Mark Gosdin
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Zerreth



Joined: 16 Mar 2006
Posts: 132
Location: E6
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:53 pm Reply with quote
Engineering Nerd wrote:

Although....to be frank, I personally would NEVER wear an anime shirt to the public, since my social circle in USA isn’t very friendly and open-minded to anime stuff, thus, wearing shirts that have images of even main stream hits like Naruto, Bleach, MHA, AoT, etc, is bit of challenging for me, let alone the more obscure Otaku ones.


On the contrary, I think some of the more obscure ones do a better job being clever with their apparel. I don't know if this counts as "official" or "unofficial" to Justin but jlist used to have a touhou shirt that was parodying the Final Fantasy series in a tasteful way that caught the attention of those who knew touhou, while looking passable in public since it looked "mainstream." Though, touhou is admittedly in a strange spot compared to other IPs.



I got to experience some comical double takes form people who realized the logo was not what they thought it was.
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Shiflan



Joined: 29 Jul 2015
Posts: 253
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:13 pm Reply with quote
Engineering Nerd wrote:

That being said, if shirts like the JoJo collaborations one day enter the western market, I will seriously consider it. Since you can’t tell they are influenced by anime at first glance


There are plenty of "deputy services" who will be happy to purchase the product in Japan for you and then ship it to you overseas. I have used them many times. You do have to pay for their services, but the fee is not bad in my opinion. Granted you don't exactly get to try on clothes purchased in this manner, but it's certainly an option.
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Sheleigha



Joined: 09 May 2008
Posts: 1568
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:14 pm Reply with quote
Rather than those bootleg shirts off eBay, I really enjoy and own a bunch of stuff from those print-design-of-the-day stores. I think of those as fan arts, really, since they are super limited anyhow. But a lot of the designs are great! I often get people complimenting me and starting conversations about my Pokemon ones out in public. Speaking of Pokemon, pokemoncenter.com has some great designs! I have some of those, too.

Uniqlo is another option, although their fits can be much more baggier/short, and z lot of the nice designs end up being kids-only. They've been doing some good collabs in the west that have been localized, like Shonen Jump and even Rose of Versaille!

The worst is just generic image with the english logo plastered on it. The logo is what has killed it on plenty of shirts for me :/ Just give me a nice design without reading out where it's from. It rarely ever looks good.
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Zin5ki
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Joined: 06 Jan 2008
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Location: London, UK
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:24 pm Reply with quote
The cosy sum of five pounds is all I need to obtain a printed anime-themed shirt. It may only last a few washes, but the all-important impressions it leaves on convention day are ample compensation for the expense.
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FenixFiesta



Joined: 22 Apr 2013
Posts: 2555
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:25 pm Reply with quote
"you are wearing a billboard" which is the point of an article of clothing that prominently features a character.
As long as you understand that you are excluding everyone in society that is trying to "act professionally", wearing a t shirt with the latest trending anime series is not a problem in of itself, the difficult part is having an article of clothing that actually works around your own physique if you have an unusual body type.

The context is comparable to say trying to buy a Band tshirt and all you can find is the logo on some overly generic tshirt size... and your body size is too big for medium but doesnt properly fill out a large.
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dark_bozu



Joined: 03 Sep 2012
Posts: 111
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:31 pm Reply with quote
Thank you Justin for article.
Personally, I don't want to wear lazy-designed t-shirts with simple anime designes, as if someone took BD cover or poster art and printed it on t-shirt. IMHO it's tasteless and I really appreciate subtle designes that only people who watched/read the work would get.
E.g. this t-shirt - i bought it without a second thought.


Last edited by dark_bozu on Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Treeborn



Joined: 30 Mar 2013
Posts: 630
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:31 pm Reply with quote
Ah what I would give for a T-shirt of Homuras grief seed in the front left chest and a modest silhouette of her devil form on the back on nice material...
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R315r4z0r



Joined: 30 Aug 2007
Posts: 656
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:32 pm Reply with quote
This isn't specifically about T-Shirts. Basically all anime merchandise that isn't the anime release itself or a figure suffers from this.

For example, my box set of No Game No Life came with a deck of cards inspired by the series. You'd think that because cards are often shown in the series, then the deck they gave you would be a model of those. But, no, the ones in the box set are just generic playing cards with a "No Game No Life" logo on the back and little chibi characters on the J, Q and K cards. In contrast to that, I actually bought an actual replica deck of No Game No Life playing cards based on how they look in the anime.

And this applies to many things. Wall scrolls, key chains and other accessories and apparel.

I'd love to buy a watch that has a mock dart shooter function as seen in Detective Conan... but if you ever try to Google something like that, they are all cheesy looking things with the Detective Conan logo plastered all over it.


Now, while I'm super inclined to spend my money where it helps the official license/creators, I have no problem spending my money elsewhere if they simply have a better product. The way I see it is that if they aren't going to officially sell something, then they are at a loss regardless of I buy an unofficial product or not. Plus, if that unofficial product becomes successful, it might spur them to make an official version of that product.
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Cutiebunny



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Posts: 1302
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:51 pm Reply with quote
I wear a uniform at work and can get away with wearing loud anime shirts underneath as long as they're black in color. And that's exactly what I do.

In public, I'll wear anime shirts. Honestly could care less what others think. If that puts off people from talking to me, that's absolutely fine. If you're going to judge me because I opted to wear a Totoro shirt in public, you're probably not the sort of person I'd want to be around anyways. Life is far too short to worry about what the masses think about how I choose to dress while going grocery shopping.

While some of the licensed goods could be nicer, they are light years better than what was around in the 1990s. If you were lucky enough to find a licensed shirt (which was either going to be Dragonball Z or Sailor Moon until the advent of Pokémon), they were usually pretty awful looking. I absolutely cringed at some of the old 1990s Sailor Moon designs, which left me with the choice of either buying a bootleg or not wearing anything from that show at all. Google 'Vintage Sailor Moon pillow case' and the first images sum it up in a nice nutshell - Purple haired Sailor Jupiter.

*shudders*

Thanks for mentioning boxlunch. I've bought shirts from Hot Topic for years but didn't know about the offset company.
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Akamaru_Inu



Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 35
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:59 pm Reply with quote
UNIQLO's recent Shonen Jump shirts were really fun, I thought. I nabbed a few of those from Disney Springs, and while it's not SJ, they had a very nice Rose Of Versailles one that makes me feel completely undercover when I wear it, and since it's a size smaller than what I usually wear the slimmer fit makes it feel like a dressy shirt (I have this one).

I may own a non-licensed shirt or two just because even as a kid I felt really embarrassed about having giant pictures of anime characters on my shirt. There's a market for it and I really wish they would realize that more often.
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Shaterri



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 154
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:01 pm Reply with quote
This is a great article; thanks! I definitely agree that there's a huge gap between Japanese licensing and American licensing on this, which is frustrating because (a) the Japanese goods are always super expensive and (b) sadly the Japanese size ranges go just to the edge of my very American body size, so while I can find a few things they're sometimes awkward to wear in public. That said, I was lucky enough to grab a 'Villain in Glasses' T-shirt and a Nichijou hoodie with the show's smiling-sun icon on it, and they're both favorites for me. I'd love to see more 'stealth fan' apparel come out over here, but I can't imagine that the economics support it for any show shy of a Bebop/Sailor Moon-level phenomenon.
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Triltaison



Joined: 03 Jul 2011
Posts: 239
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:50 pm Reply with quote
I've always hated the ones that have the show's logo plastered across the front along with whatever image. Just having the image of the character WITHOUT the giant logo makes it 50% better as a wearable in my book. It's such a lazy design.

One of the best shirts as far as not being overtly nerdy and that I remember loving in high school was a Fruits Basket babydoll cut tee from (iirc) GEE circa 2001. I'm not sure if this is an image of the exact shirt or a copy, but I wore the heck out of this thing for years.

As for the crappy shirt material, that's picked by the people ordering the shirt from the printers. I worked for a company that sold a lot of anime shirts online and at conventions that were from official licensors. The same print can be placed on a variety of specified shirts and some are better than others. After working there, I've noticed that a lot of places pick the cheapest option. To be fair, you had to choose from their specified choices and sometimes certain colors weren't an option because they had printed too many in that color and couldnt oversaturate the market or whatever. I always preferred the heather (they look mottled if you don't know the term for clothing) shirts because those are actually soft and they tended to sell better. This Attack on Titan heather green shirt sold really well and was actually pleasant to touch, for instance.
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