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brammerhammer23



Joined: 06 Jun 2013
Posts: 30
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:40 pm Reply with quote
I think Yokai Watch is a very bad example. Of course it wasn’t a massive success like Pokemon, but it has more than a cult following. They have released all the video games or are planning to including the new switch game. They are still releasing the anime including the movies. They would have stopped if it wasn’t making them all money. I guess it might have more universal appeal in Japan among kids and adults while in America it’s strictly a kids property. That might be what they were getting at I assume.
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R315r4z0r



Joined: 30 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:51 pm Reply with quote
Detective Conan is an easy one.

Baring the obvious reasoning being that TBS is overly controlling and didn't give localization companies the freedom they needed for a proper adaptation, a lot of the subject matter is intricate Japanese culture.

Now, the majority of the series works fine. However, there is a substantial amount of episodes with plot developments that hinge around a pre-existing knowledge of Japanese language and culture.

Many episodes feature clues or character development that follow logically in Japan, but make no sense in the west. Things like Japanese puns and word play or Japanese history. For example, just look at the movie "The Fourteenth Target." The entire crux of this movie is that people are being killed in numerical order based off of the fact that their names contain numbers in them. Ex: spoiler[Shinichi; ichi = 1]
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Steve Minecraft



Joined: 13 Feb 2019
Posts: 69
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:00 pm Reply with quote
R315r4z0r wrote:
Detective Conan is an easy one.

Baring the obvious reasoning being that TBS is overly controlling and didn't give localization companies the freedom they needed for a proper adaptation, a lot of the subject matter is intricate Japanese culture.


They 'adapted' the heck out of the dub. Everyone is American, except for Osaka which is now Canada, and they changed tons of the clues to use English wordplay instead of Japanese ones. Funimation completely rewrote everything in their attempt market it here. Unless you mean proper adaption as in not doing all that, but then shows like Sailor Moon, Dragonball, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and others found success in America despite how horribly rewritten their adaptions were. That just tells me there's no real excuse why a show fails here other than Americans just didn't like it. Localization VS not-localization doesn't seem to matter since there's plenty of examples of both methods failing an succeeding here.
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Scalfin



Joined: 18 May 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:34 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, I'd say that cultural references are a significantly smaller factor in show success than market dynamics like niche/category existence, intuitive tone and genre markers, under/oversaturated areas (anything aimed at the same age group as Pokemon or younger is going to have a tough time breaking in), media and merch consumption habits (we all know the physical media pricing issues there used to be, and kiddie shows like Yokai Watch often have trouble making a profit in foreign economies), and appeals/tastes (certain things and emotions are just more appealing to Japanese audiences, especially ecchi comedy and idol shows).
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Akanue



Joined: 28 May 2018
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:00 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, I've always been of the opinion that the main reason Detective Conan didn't make a go of it here is because of the subject matter - it's a kid's show that deals with murders, occasionally quite gruesome ones at that. That leaves it in a bad spot in the West - too simple for murder mystery fans/older otaku but too mature for our cultural norms of what is appropriate for children. It's too bad, because it's quite an enjoyable show.
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Primus



Joined: 01 Mar 2006
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Location: Toronto
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:07 pm Reply with quote
brammerhammer23 wrote:
I think Yokai Watch is a very bad example. Of course it wasn’t a massive success like Pokemon, but it has more than a cult following. They have released all the video games or are planning to including the new switch game. They are still releasing the anime including the movies. They would have stopped if it wasn’t making them all money. I guess it might have more universal appeal in Japan among kids and adults while in America it’s strictly a kids property. That might be what they were getting at I assume.


Yo-Kai Watch is the perfect example of an under performer in the English world. Of the three Disney XD anime, it is the lowest rated by a sizable margin. The dub replaced its entire voice cast to cut costs. The toys were a big failure, clogging up Toys"R"Us and liquidation retailers for ages. The games are still coming over, but on a selective, almost exclusively mainline basis. After Wibble Wobble flopped, it doesn't look like any of the mobile games are being localized. Sangokushi is not happening and Blasters 2 is a toss up. Only the first movie was dubbed and that was years ago.

Outside of the U.S., the franchise is pretty much officially game and manga-only now in the English speaking world. Netflix never added more than the first season (+ movie) and Level-5 hasn't cut deals with local broadcasters (probably because they aren't interested), so newer episodes have literally been U.S.-only. It is a property that is barely surviving over here, when those involved hoped it would be thriving.
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Vizo



Joined: 19 May 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:15 pm Reply with quote
Going off of this article, anime with a simple yet original premise and appealing to the eye tend to do well.
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Mr. sickVisionz



Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 1986
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:16 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
On the flip side, look at Detective Conan. That's a simple murder mystery show, barely removed from the sorts that have been extremely popular in the West centuries, and it's one of the most popular franchises in the Japanese anime market. But it's never found legs in North America. I've heard all sorts of explanations why, from the fact that it looks quite juvenile while having gruesome murders; to the notion that its character designs aren't appealing to Western otaku.


There might be something to that. I always thought it was a super kiddie show like Pokemon and never looked any deeper into it than that. I also thought it was like a super kiddie version of Scooby Doo.
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CastMember1991



Joined: 06 Feb 2012
Posts: 437
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:20 pm Reply with quote
Primus wrote:
Yo-Kai Watch is the perfect example of an under performer in the English world. Of the three Disney XD anime, it is the lowest rated by a sizable margin. The dub replaced its entire voice cast to cut costs. The toys were a big failure, clogging up Toys"R"Us and liquidation retailers for ages. The games are still coming over, but on a selective, almost exclusively mainline basis. After Wibble Wobble flopped, it doesn't look like any of the mobile games are being localized. Sangokushi is not happening and Blasters 2 is a toss up. Only the first movie was dubbed and that was years ago.

Outside of the U.S., the franchise is pretty much officially game and manga-only now in the English speaking world. Netflix never added more than the first season (+ movie) and Level-5 hasn't cut deals with local broadcasters (probably because they aren't interested), so newer episodes have literally been U.S.-only. It is a property that is barely surviving over here, when those involved hoped it would be thriving.


Of all the parties that brought the franchise over to the US, Hasbro is to blame for its failure. Their marketing was the worst misfire to come from that company that I've ever seen.

I don't think there's anything Disney or Nintendo could do to save Yo-kai Watch in the west. The biggest nail in the coffin was the 1-2 punch of the Pokémon Go smartphone app and the Pokémon Sun and Moon 3DS games really being pushed hard.
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OjaruFan2



Joined: 09 Jul 2018
Posts: 160
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:27 pm Reply with quote
I think one of the biggest reasons why Doraemon hasn't made much of an impact in North America is because the overall publicity for the franchise here is rather....minuscule. The manga has no advertising, the show still hasn't been picked up by a major streaming platform, and Disney X-D didn't treat the show very well. Sure they made promos, but the scheduling was bad. Airing it at 12:30, 1:00 PM during the summer (when kids would be playing outside, or doing something else besides sitting in front of a TV) and dumping the whole season within a span of 2 months is NOT what I would call great scheduling. That's deliberately trying to get rid of a show as quick as possible. Seriously. What would've happened if Disney Channel aired it instead of X-D. Would it have found better success there?

Nippon Animation has recently been pushing for worldwide recognition for Chibi Maruko-chan (a show that's extremely popular in Japan, but extremely obscure in the West) via YouTube and Twitter. The show's official international YouTube channel has a ton of episodes from various dubs, such as Korean and Spanish. It also has not one, but two English dubs; one produced in India that aired on Nick India several years back, and one co-produced by the Japan Foundation that supposedly aired in Jamaica. Despite being very Japanese-centric, the show seems to doing fine with English-speaking viewers, though I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of them live in Asia rather than the West.

Primus wrote:
The toys were a big failure, clogging up Toys"R"Us and liquidation retailers for ages.

For real! They were selling really, really poorly at the Toys R Us in my area (it closed around May/June 2018): https://twitter.com/OjaruFan/status/975743932050092033
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AutoOps007



Joined: 03 Jan 2014
Posts: 142
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:46 pm Reply with quote
I think the main problem was just the format tbh. The show was very episodic, and only a small amount of episodes actually drive the plot forward. It has a ton of filler on top of that too, on top of the mountain of fillery canon episodes that don't help the plot either. That's not to say any of it is bad, but fans simply aren't gonna invest in a series that long with so little plot progression. Watching it on TV (or having it on a steaming platform) is one thing, but really, the most of the money comes from disc sales. A lot of people loved the show, but eventually just grew tired of it's repetitiveness and minimal plot. All the things like how culturally different it was, and even the dub changes (it wasn't too uncommon at the time), were smaller issues in my opinion. The fact they dubbed as many episodes as they did shows that the show was popular enough in the US in the beginning (when the show was new and fresh, and had less filler), but started to decline later. A show with this format just wasn't going to sustainable long-term. In Japan, low disc sales can be off-set with manga and merchandise sales, but in the US, it just doesn't work the same way. So there are other reasons other than cultural differences as to why something can be successful in Japan, but not in the west (aside from blunders from the people who licensed it).
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John Thacker
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Joined: 28 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:48 pm Reply with quote
There's a sort of uncanny valley that affects shows that depict situations and genres that are familiar to Westerners but with Japanese cultural influence. Something very overtly Japanese is fine, because people expect it to be different, as are SF shows not set in Japan at all. But romance or sports shows where things are too similar yet different (whether in things like amazing reluctance to mention cancer, attitudes around PDA, or whether immense personal sacrifice of one's long term health is worth it to win a high school tournament), people end up judging things according to their own familiar standards and find them wanting.
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Asterisk-CGY



Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 376
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:56 pm Reply with quote
I'm also thinking of how US TV has things like reruns, which takes the place of filler, and no real tie in for sequential airing, at least for children's TV. But advertising is always probably the best indicator on success, next to adaptation. Is reverse importation still a fear? I keep asking cause I keep thinking it is when it probably isn't, and doesn't not sound like it should be.
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j_plex



Joined: 28 Aug 2018
Posts: 30
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 9:58 pm Reply with quote
Instead of trying to figure out what will break out in America in the future try find commonalities among what has done so in the past.

First off: is it a good show? Yokai Watch really wasn't which is why it has also gone belly up in Japan.

Second: popular with critics and popular with audiences are two different things. Spirited Away may have won an Oscar, but it is right between Digimon and Ponyo in box office returns despite all the hype and the Disney marketing machine.

We have to acknowledge that most of what "translates to America" is shounen action shows. The specific form may vary - it runs the gamut from AoT and NGE on one end to Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Yo on the other with craziness like Monogatari in between. This goes back to some of the earliest stuff to make waves in the west like Voltron ,,, and of course Power Rangers.

Shinto, Buddhism, ancient Chinese myth ... doesn't matter. Just like it didn't matter when George Lucas appropriated it for Star Wars. Instead give the target audience a relatable protagonist, a rival/sidekick with clashing ideals/personality, an attractive female to provide romantic tension (but with actual romance deferred till the middle or end), an eccentric mentor figure, send them on the hero's journey and then get ready for export. You can vary it - NGE had Asukafor both rival/sidekick and romantic tension and Misato for both the eccentric mentor and romantic tension - but realize that this formula has been the core fodder for fiction in just about every known culture for thousands of years.

Sure other stuff can and will break out but it can be considered pretty much random with no real way to predict. But another idea ... overt attempts to emulate western genres. My Hero Academia and in particular One Punch Man (which isn't shounen and subverts/parodies rather than adheres to the hero's journey formula) are popular in no small part because they are hero shows. And some of the shows that were popular with the VHS crowd in the 80s and 90s were influenced by western cop shows, sci-fi (especially Star Wars, Terminator and Blade Runner) and war movies or were mashups. Ghost in the Shell = mashup of 90s police/detective action movie and Terminator/Blade Runner type cyborg movie. A little bit later some of the successful exports were fantasy stuff influenced by Lord of the Rings and occult stuff that ripped off Harry Potter.

So first option: shounen action. Second option: Japanese adaptation of whatever genre is popular in the west.
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R315r4z0r



Joined: 30 Aug 2007
Posts: 681
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:01 pm Reply with quote
Steve Minecraft wrote:
R315r4z0r wrote:
Detective Conan is an easy one.

Baring the obvious reasoning being that TBS is overly controlling and didn't give localization companies the freedom they needed for a proper adaptation, a lot of the subject matter is intricate Japanese culture.


They 'adapted' the heck out of the dub. Everyone is American, except for Osaka which is now Canada, and they changed tons of the clues to use English wordplay instead of Japanese ones. Funimation completely rewrote everything in their attempt market it here. Unless you mean proper adaption as in not doing all that, but then shows like Sailor Moon, Dragonball, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and others found success in America despite how horribly rewritten their adaptions were. That just tells me there's no real excuse why a show fails here other than Americans just didn't like it. Localization VS not-localization doesn't seem to matter since there's plenty of examples of both methods failing an succeeding here.

No, TBS is the ones who asked FUNimation to Americanize it. That's what I mean by creative freedom.

FUNimation wouldn't have gone the extra mile to rename all the characters, change the setting, edit the art and do all of the language hurtles. They would have done a much better job if they were given the opportunity to present it in a way that they saw fit.

Go look at all of the other Detective Conan adaptations around the world. They all attempt to localize it to the language's own culture. It's part of the contract.

People involved with the project have said on a few occasions that Case Closed was incredibly cost inefficient. They where required to do too much work for too little payoff. That is in relation to the anime series. The movies, however, they said they would still consider if people wanted them... but the anime series, there is no way.
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