2004 Year in Review
Closing Editorial

by Christopher Macdonald,
Well, another year has come and gone. This year was very special for Anime News Network. Back in October 2003 I left my old job and started working on ANN full time, and December 31st 2004 marked the end of the first full calendar year of working on the site full time. Fortunately, the risk seems to have paid off. ANN is doing better than ever, and 2005 looks to be a great year.

2004 was also the year Anime News Network committed to a completely different media format. Without a doubt, ANN's biggest news of 2004 was our decision to team up with Protoculture Addicts. We've always wanted to have a print companion for the website, and Protoculture Addicts makes this possible. Give it a look, we think it's the perfect magazine for the type of people that read this website, and it's a small magazine, so every copy you pick up really helps us out.

Anime News Network's growth in 2004 was absolutely phenomenal. The anime industry may have slowed down to a 15% growth rate (which is still very good), but we're still growing in the triple digits, percentage-wise. This growth won't continue forever, but just a bit more will permit us to turn ANN into what it was always meant to be, a fully professional online anime news publication.

Enough about Anime News Network though, what about the anime industry, and what's going to happen in 2005? It's always very dangerous to try and predict things, and as a news site we shy away from speculation, but there are a few things that I'm very interested in watching develop in 2005. One of these is the joint venture between ADV, Funimation and Geneon, and the other is the future of Manga Entertainment.

Their original press release doesn't really say much, but according to an article in this month's Anime Insider, ADV Films, Geneon and FUNimation will be cooperating on certain “standout titles.” I'm sure it's easy for you to speculate on which titles they might be considering, so I won't fuel that fire, but needless to say, I'm very intrigued to see where this goes.

The last couple of years haven't been kind to Manga Entertainment, but now the company that was once an industry leader has been picked up by a large public corporation with deep pockets. What remains to be seen is what IDT Entertainment really plans on doing with Manga. Will they heavily finance manga in the hopes that it can once again become an industry leader, or will they let the company continue on in near obscurity where it has languished these past few years?

There are other topics to look forward to in 2005 as well; who will license Naruto? How many more old “unlicensable” titles will be licensed and how much more friction can the relationship between the industry and fansubbers stand? Is Toei going to become the next powerhouse in the North American anime industry, or will it be a major Hollywood studio?

I don't have a crystal ball, so we just have to wait and see which of these topics will be important in 2005, and what complete surprises 2005 holds for us.

As always, there are a great many people who must be thanked for their hard work and tireless contributions to this site. While thinking over this list every year I become amazed at the number of people that I work with to make this site function. First there are the numerous staff and contributors who number well over 20, and then there are the dozens of people in the industry and advertisers who support this site. I wish I could do full credit to how much I truly appreciate everyone's help and support.

Anime News Network would like to thank these individuals from our staff, as well as all our contributors, friends, supporters and readers for their invaluable support in 2004.

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