Forum - View topic
Answerman - Why Were Anime Budgets So Big In The 80s?


Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next

Note: this is the discussion thread for this article

Anime News Network Forum Index -> Site-related -> Talkback
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
invalidname
Get off my lawn!Get off my lawn!


Joined: 11 Aug 2004
Posts: 1917
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:21 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
(This inspired some amount of anti-Japanese racism in the US, particularly in places like Detroit.)

Answerman may actually be understating the extent of anti-Japanese racism in the 80s. Since I don't imagine young people and non-Detroiters are familiar with the story of Vincent Chin -- a Chinese-American man mistaken for Japanese and beaten to death by laid-off autoworkers -- here you go: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Vincent_Chin
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
Posts: 3226
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:34 pm Reply with quote
I heard that Honneamise got funded because Bandai, who was new to the Anime market having recently purchased Sunrise, wanted a big title to show off, liked the pitch that Gainax was shopping around and gave them a large budget.

It doesn't seem TV Anime was much effected by this, as it didn't seem all that different from the decade that had preceded it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
DerekL1963
Space CowboySpace Cowboy


Joined: 14 Jan 2015
Posts: 684
Location: Puget Sound
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:46 pm Reply with quote
invalidname wrote:
Quote:
(This inspired some amount of anti-Japanese racism in the US, particularly in places like Detroit.)

Answerman may actually be understating the extent of anti-Japanese racism in the 80s


Answerman is too young to remember that era and is relying on (at best) second hand accounts.

Among other things, he missed the outright paranoia in the US over "Japan Inc." and what Japan might do to the US economically and technologically during the 80's. ("Japan Inc." was the unique government-banking-industry partnership whose role and influence was largely misunderstood and overstated.) For example, the US Government funded a massive project to translate Japanese academic papers on computer science to English and make them available to head off the coming "apocalypse" of Japanese breakthroughs in computer technology and manufacturing. There were also any number of business and industrial management fads (at least theoretically) based on the "Japanese way of doing business". Etc... etc...

The fears even made it into the movies - witness Micheal Keaton's 1986 film Gung Ho

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gung_Ho_(film)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
AkumaChef



Joined: 10 Jan 2019
Posts: 82
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:47 pm Reply with quote
MarshalBanana wrote:

It doesn't seem TV Anime was much effected by this, as it didn't seem all that different from the decade that had preceded it.


In my understanding it was mainly an OVA and movie thing. At that time the economy was booming as Justin had mentioned, and suddenly everyone could afford a VHS or an LD player. There were only so many time slots for TV broadcast (remember, they didn't have the same insane number of channels as we do today) so a huge amount of that content got released as OVAs instead.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 3890
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:06 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Anime was one of those dumb investments in the '80s. Toy companies launched new lines of toys with break-neck speed, each one with an accompanying anime they'd sponsor -- the content of the show almost didn't matter. ("You want to make a dark, dystopian series with heavy environmentalist themes? Sure, just show our robots a lot!")


That sounds a lot like OUR animation in the mid-80's, when Saturday morning and afternoon-strip were still king, Disney was considered a "dying" 70's dinosaur, and 85's "Black Cauldron" started the funeral services.
FCC regulations about toy commercials made it more profitable to turn a toy into a TV series, and that was the image of animation from "He-Man" in 1983 to the Disney Renaissance in 1989.
Say "cartoons", and people immediately pictured the Smurfs, Care Bears and Transformers, and more importantly, producers did too: Animation had to be shown to everyone, since they had to take no chances and sell as many of those Smurfs, Care Bears, Transformers, and He-Man action figures as possible.

Then, in the 90's, cable started competing, network budgets were slashed, US TV animators turned "hip" and deconstructive, with cheap stylized designs and sniggering in-jokes about their own profession, and "quality" animation went back to the movies.
That's pretty much what happened in Japan in the 00's after the 80's boom Justin cites, except that it wasn't the animators hating themselves or their 60's TV childhoods, it was the mainstream grownups hating the TV fans. Anime fell into a "secret fan niche"--just like the freakish, unappealing secret-niche US cable cartoons--and never became the money machine it was back when it was a commercial giant.

And as for OVA's, yes, that was back when late-80's OVA animation was reserved for the R-rated sex-and-splatter, that no sponsor would dare allow on the same channel as their big merchandise hit. So it had to go and find its own secret anime niche...That was how we got them so cheaply for US import during the campus-underground "garage" birth of anime in the late-80's: Nobody else wanted them.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Great Rumbler



Joined: 03 Oct 2006
Posts: 287
Location: Oklahoma
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:17 pm Reply with quote
If you want a look at the business side of Japan in the 80's [as opposed to the anime side], there's a great manga called Japan Inc. by Shotaro Ishinomori. It deals pretty heavily with how the rest of the world responds to Japan's economic rise [the opening chapter shows riots in Detroit over auto jobs being lost], as well as the Japanese perspective. Lots of facts and figures in the footnotes, too.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
jsevakis
ANN Director of New Media


Joined: 28 Jul 2003
Posts: 1668
Location: Los Angeles, CA
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:40 pm Reply with quote
Loving the condescension guys! I’m actually a half-Asian Detroit native, I grew up in the 80s, and experience to the races in their first hand. It even spelled over to when I first started getting into anime. My parents were invited to Vincent Chin’s wedding that never happened.. Anti-Asian and anti-Japanese racism in the US was not the subject of this column. Thanks for playing tho!

Last edited by jsevakis on Wed Jan 16, 2019 4:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
Gurren Rodan



Joined: 04 Jan 2018
Posts: 100
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:51 pm Reply with quote
^I don't think anyone was really trying to condescend... Were they?? Sad

Not to drag this further off-course, but I wonder if this economic growth/reaction was also what prompted the narrative in Toho's 1991 film Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, which involved time travelers interfering with Godzilla and Japan to attempt stopping the nation from becoming a destined world superpower.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
Posts: 1594
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 4:00 pm Reply with quote
Gurren Rodan wrote:
^I don't think anyone was really trying to condescend... Were they?? Sad

Trying? No. Still sounding a touch "these young whippersnappers"? Yeah, a little. Something I'd be really curious to know is whether Yakuza 0, which takes place in the '80s, is at all a close approximation of what real-life Japan was like at that time. The amount of money thrown around in that game (and the amount you can earn with little-to-no-effort) is staggering.

Sadly one of the reasons that I actually don't much care for '80s anime is *because* of all the mechs. Laughing Maybe one day I'll watch some for the aesthetics.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
invalidname
Get off my lawn!Get off my lawn!


Joined: 11 Aug 2004
Posts: 1917
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 4:07 pm Reply with quote
Never meant to condescend, sorry. Just thought it was a striking point just how bad the racism of that time was, driven by the historically brief but at the time extraordinary surge of the Japanese economy (they had the Japan, Inc. manga in my college bookstore, and at the time it was a big deal). I figured Justin would have at least heard of the Vincent Chin case, being from Detroit, but also thought it was before his time. Obviously not.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
jsevakis
ANN Director of New Media


Joined: 28 Jul 2003
Posts: 1668
Location: Los Angeles, CA
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 4:15 pm Reply with quote
I probably overreacted a little, but I do get a little bit spicy when people tell me I haven’t experienced horrible racist shit that I have. Others got it way worse, but suffice it to say there’s a reason I never go back to Detroit. I haven’t lived there for 20 years and have not missed it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
AiddonValentine



Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 1507
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 4:26 pm Reply with quote
whiskeyii wrote:
Gurren Rodan wrote:
^I don't think anyone was really trying to condescend... Were they?? Sad

Trying? No. Still sounding a touch "these young whippersnappers"? Yeah, a little. Something I'd be really curious to know is whether Yakuza 0, which takes place in the '80s, is at all a close approximation of what real-life Japan was like at that time. The amount of money thrown around in that game (and the amount you can earn with little-to-no-effort) is staggering.

Sadly one of the reasons that I actually don't much care for '80s anime is *because* of all the mechs. Laughing Maybe one day I'll watch some for the aesthetics.


It's somewhat of an exaggeration, but the atmosphere of decadence and wealth was the big thing in the Bubble Era. A Japanese sociology teacher I had actually experienced the Bubble Era firsthand and she verified it really was that lavish.

And what was weird, was the Bubble Era also coincided with the deaths of Emperor Showa (the 30th anniversary of his passing was on January 7) and Osamu Tezuka (died February 9, 1989). It really was the end of an era.

And yes, Japanophobia was RAMPANT during that era. Just looking at a lot of film and other pop culture made during the time, casual racism and Japanophobia were common. They have a habit of depicting all Japanese people as ruthless Yakuza or some other stereotype. Heck, cyberpunk especially seems to have Japanophobia and Orientalism baked right into it. It's why it's kind of uncomfortable watching a bunch of 80s media nowadays.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
configspace



Joined: 16 Aug 2008
Posts: 3638
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 4:59 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
My question is why did these studios get so much money to make these OVA's, movies and TV shows


I grew up in the 80s and starting watching anime in earnest maybe right at 1990, so it included a lot of the 80s stuff. And from my recollection I would scratch TV shows off that list. The OVAs and films, but most definitely the OVAs, seemed big budget animation wise, but TV shows on the other hand were pretty crappy budget wise. Ranma 1/2 and Kimagure Orange Road episodes like the rest of the shows all took shortcuts and economic animation measures whenever they could.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
DerekL1963
Space CowboySpace Cowboy


Joined: 14 Jan 2015
Posts: 684
Location: Puget Sound
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:01 pm Reply with quote
I didn't mean to sound condescending either or tell you that hadn't experienced racism. My apologies if it came off like that.

Just trying to point out there was bigger/more complex picture that isn't adequately conveyed by just calling it "racism", and a lot of the not racism parts have been largely forgotten nowadays.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
CorneredAngel
It...it's not like I post for you or anything!It...it's not like I post for you or anything!


Joined: 17 Jun 2002
Posts: 814
Location: New York, NY
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:51 pm Reply with quote
If you're the kind of person who likes to read *A LOT MORE* on topics like these, Andrew McKevitt just recently published a full book on Japan's economic success in the '80's and its influence far beyond Japan.

Consuming Japan: Popular Culture and the Globalizing of 1980s America

"From autoworkers to anime fans, Consuming Japan introduces new unorthodox actors into foreign-relations history, demonstrating how the flow of all things Japanese contributed to the globalizing of America in the late twentieth century."

https://www.uncpress.org/book/9781469634470/consuming-japan/

One of the chapters specifically looks at anime as a part of this process, and the beginnings of anime fandom in America.


Last edited by CorneredAngel on Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Anime News Network Forum Index -> Site-related -> Talkback All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
Page 1 of 3

 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group