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INTEREST: Mamoru Oshii: Today's Anime Is Driven by Otaku, Merchandise


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varmintx



Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 1139
Location: Covington, KY
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:17 pm Reply with quote
Will there be a full English translation?
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dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
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Location: currently stalking my waifu
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:34 pm Reply with quote
He's kind of stating the obvious here. I mean, this isn't new, we've known this for a heck of a while.

Mecha Anime in particular has been driven by merchandise since the Seventies.
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configspace



Joined: 16 Aug 2008
Posts: 3717
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:40 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
During the lecture, Oshii said that the current anime is mostly otaku-centric and made to be turned into merchandising.


.....

Quote:
Oshii is currently working on a manga/anime hybrid called Chimamire My Love (My Blood-Stained Love). The project is aimed at mobile devices — starting with the iPad, and then expanding onto the iPhone and Android mobile devices.

.. and this is not a form of merchandising?
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nightjuan



Joined: 22 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:42 pm Reply with quote
Yes, his overall point is rather obvious and very hard to deny, but it's also something that was already true even back in the so-called "good old days" his line of thought seems to implicitly favor. In other words, a critical examination of past or even classic productions would find that many of them are also "copies" (or "copies of copies") of something else.

The thing is, there's really nothing inherently wrong with a "copy" as long as it's a well-executed one. The Lion King is clearly a "copy" of Jungle Emperor Leo but that doesn't make it a bad film. It just isn't an original product.

You don't necessarily need to bring the most original concept in the world to the table in order to make anime that is worth watching. The real problem, however, is only that far too many of today's "copies" aren't well-executed nor interesting enough to stand on their own, regardless of whether the target audience is or isn't familiar with the original.

Which is why I also find it rather strange to see Oshii criticizing Gundam Unicorn because having a horn doesn't make it "different" enough. I guess he may have wanted to be funny, but apparently he's missing the point. Not only is Unicorn very well produced and executed, often using existing elements in interesting ways, it's simultaneously pandering to existing fans and selling merchandise while still trying to create a story that can stand on its own. And you know what? I believe it's accomplishing all of those goals.
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Mohawk52



Joined: 16 Oct 2003
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Location: England, UK
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:44 pm Reply with quote
And in other Breaking News the luxury liner HMS Titanic allegedly has run into an iceburg just off the coast of New Foundland. No casualties reported as yet. Wink
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Nemo_N



Joined: 12 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:54 pm Reply with quote
nightjuan wrote:
In other words, a critical examination of past or even classic productions would find that many of them are also "copies" (or "copies of copies") of something else.

The thing is, there's really nothing inherently wrong with a "copy" as long as it's a well-executed one. The Lion King is clearly a "copy" of Jungle Emperor Leo but that doesn't make it a bad film.


Darker Than Black comes to mind. It's filled with cliches yet it is wonderfully executed.

I think the real problem is that these days you can instantly research where a work came from, what the inspiration is.

In the old days you could live under the illusion that some work in particular was the most original thing ever but that was mostly the result of not having access to an extensive database of works (like the internet). Ignorance is now mostly achieved if you really don't want to look it up.

It's easier to see works as copies now because we can immediately look up for the source of inspiration.
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configspace



Joined: 16 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:00 pm Reply with quote
Well you aren't going to get anything purely original or even remotely close to being original. Your work, no matter what, will have many elements, including things taken for granted like cinematographic methods, that will be a "copy of a copy" or in other words have a long, history of derivative works behind them. But why is that bad? That's how things evolve. In fact his own example about about Gundam UC counters his statement about things being purely a copy of something else. It's not entirely unique but is certainly not entirely a copy either. So each iteration of the "copy" changes, hence the evolution.
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dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:10 pm Reply with quote
Even Neon Genesis Evangelion ripped off Space Runaway Ideon.

I actually thought this year has been a pretty darn good one for Anime. Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Usagi Drop, Level E, Moshidora, Ikoku Meiro no Croisée, Steins;Gate, Tiger & Bunny, Mawaru Penguindrum, Ano Hana, Wandering Son and World God Only Knows Season 2. If you include titles from this season, then there is also Chihayafuru and Fate/Zero. And those are only the top-ranked titles, let alone the myriad shows that were pretty good.

Many of the titles I named were aimed at Otaku, many had merchandising tie-ins, but all were great shows nonetheless.

I hate K-ON!, the nexus where Otaku and merchandising meet. Saying that the Anime industry isn't what it used to be is tempting. But there are some excellent shows coming out each and every season. Oshii is living in a nostalgia-induced fairyland.
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RiskyTheShinigami



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 92
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:10 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
During the lecture, Oshii said that the current anime is mostly otaku-centric and made to be turned into merchandising. Oshii added that anime today is a "copy of a copy of a copy that is no longer a form of 'expression.'"

Quote:
The story revolves around a timid second-year high school student who finds a kindred spirit in a girl he meets via a blood donation site. The girl is actually a vampire, and the comedy follows the boy's madcap efforts to get blood donations for her.

And this somehow doesn't sound like so many other seinen comedies out there right now?
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penguintruth



Joined: 08 Dec 2004
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Location: Penguinopolis
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:25 pm Reply with quote
Oshii is somewhat correct, but it sounds like he's joining Hayao Miyazaki and Yoshiyuki Tomino in the Crotchety Old Anime Directors Guild.
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kazume



Joined: 18 Dec 2006
Posts: 129
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:35 pm Reply with quote
Kinda stating the obvious yes, bu that's pretty much the point.

In order to "survive" in the business right now, you have to follow suit, or risk a big loss trying something "new" which when broken down,, is still nothing new or original.

Although there probably doesn't exists a single original idea, story, etc. out there today, there are still original ways of telling them to an audience. Playing it safe means going with the established formula and taking a risk means attempting at a big payoff with a higher degree of failure. Frankly I dont think there's much elbow room to try the latter and come out unscathed which is why most shows out there today are a "copy of a copy" as he states.

Just like cooking and how there's nothing wrong with pumping out the same dish over and over if your diners like it. But If anyone here remembers or has seen the movie Ratatouille, the MC decides to change up one of their establishments signature dishes by adding a sauce that he believes compliments the flavors, and lo and behold, it's a hit.

This is why shows like Guilty Crown feel like a rehash of Code Geass

(Wait, GC

CG...

O_o?)

Yeah I think someone mentioned this already... anyways

Only real difference is the element of the MC pulling tools/weapons out of the people he comes in contact with based on their personalities or some crap like that, and this is the one newly added element they are banking on going over well with the audience, because everything else is basically Code Geass lite.

But while in my opinion, as just another anime viewer, what GC did in 4-6 episodes (hook the audience into actually caring,) CG did it in one, maybe two tops, hell the first episode even got a standing ovation IIRC in an article somewhere on this site reporting.

Frankly, with sales going the way they're being reported currently, it may not be the best move for the viewers, but from a business standpoint, it sure does sound like the smart one.
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Fronzel



Joined: 11 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:59 pm Reply with quote
My question is if being driven by otaku and merchandise is worse than being driven by college philosophy textbooks.
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Kikaioh



Joined: 01 Jun 2009
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Location: Antarctica
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:03 pm Reply with quote
Oshii is absolutely and unfortunately correct. The past decade has definitely seen a downwards spiral catering to the youth, teen and otaku demographics that's really turned me off from anime of the modern day. When I got into anime back in the 90's, the sheer variety of genres, characters and settings really pulled me into the medium. There were serious ass-kicking works like Riding Bean and Sukeban Deka, thoughtful and experimental works like the Area 88 OVA and Roujin Z, to hilariously crazy outings like Elf Princess Rane, Project A-ko and Special Duty Combat Unit Shinesman. When you consider that Animation studios frequently catered to mature/older sensibilities back then, there was a sense that the artists were really able to focus on bringing various fantastic visions to life, as opposed to specifically developing merchandise-able characters and stories.

What do we have in the modern day? A moe' trend targeted squarely at otaku's horniness and an unrelenting deluge of fashionable high school teenagers either running through the tropes of the harem/comedy genre or taking (sometimes pretentious) outings to save the world. It's as if animation studios caught wind to the fact that merchandising was the best way to turn a profit, and slowly adapted their works to fit that model.

My understanding (and correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm interested in the history) is that the rise and fall of the OVA market during the late 80's through the 90's played a part in these changes, combined with the collapse of the Japanese asset price bubble. When Japan's economy was booming throughout the 80's and consumers had more spending money for luxury goods like VHS cassettes, the direct-to-video market was able to successfully employ a greater degree of artistic freedom for works that catered to all sorts of different sensibilities. As Japan entered a slow recession lasting over the 90's into the 2000's, and consumers had subsequently less and less spending money, studios began the slow march to directing their focus at the more profitable youth and otaku-merchandising markets.

Which, if that really is the case, is an absolute shame. Every time I see another fashionably handsome j-rock teen or a provocatively cute high-school or under-age girl, I sigh to think of the direction the industry's taken. Not because fashionably handsome j-rock teens or cute high school girls strictly annoy me, but that there are just so many of them flooding the market these days. And it's not even to say that everything coming out these days is bad ~ I at least have Redline to look forward to early next year, and a few other works have caught my interest. I'm just expressing disappointment that the colorful artistic variety and age-ranging sensibilities of yester-year have been replaced by a much more narrow and focused subset of genres, in ways that are markedly different from the anime I grew up loving. Sincerity's been upended by merchandisability, and I think it's a sad state of affairs.


Last edited by Kikaioh on Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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jdnation



Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 1662
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:04 pm Reply with quote
The same problem has also been affecting the Japanese video game industry.

You see typical trophes like particular moe girls and other thigns showing up with wanton abandon everywhere. The opening scene of the new Last Exile season which is pretty much entirely a female cast of young girls, particularly one sleep walking and undressing herself to her underwear, all right in the first few seconds of the show are pretty much an indication of just how muhc pandering is being done to the otaku community.

From a business sense it is inescapable as audiences for videogames and anime are dropping and creators must target niche but profitable audiences that are otaku and demand this sort of thing...

However this only serves to further alienate Japanese anime and gaming from the rest of the world. Even longtime fans like me are getting tired of seeing this and if it becomes too much will one day simply just give up on it and find something else.

Sure imitation of what's come before isn't anything new. And you can always do some amazing and creative things with an old concept. But the overabundant presense of other otaku centric things that appeal to them and not the mass market will put people off. And you're simply going to see declining returns overtime...
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Yttrbio
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Joined: 09 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:06 pm Reply with quote
Was he in a rocking chair shaking his cane angrily at the air for this talk? It sounds like what he doesn't like is that anime is an industry rather than an art commune.
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