July 19, 2007

So...What IS the Word for a Japanese Tulip?

   Stephen Den Beste recently posted on fansubbers as one challenge the US anime market is facing. I think that is only one of several problems facing what are  fairly young industries.

   IMHO quality  is a big one, though this applies more to Manga than anime proper.

   There are some good anime/manga series out there right now, but those being liscenced and particularly the Manga being released are really haphazard and far lower in average quality than (I think) a random sampling would be. A few hits are being brought over and some of them are actually quite good, but several of the few gems are wallowing unnoticed.
   I suspect that  the distributors are just buying the crappy cheap properties. I further suspect that this issue is doubly true of girls-Manga as the distributors largely don't even have the beginings of a clue what to look for.
   I think the US import comic market is being sustained primarily by faddishness and a group of kids at 'the age of disposable income'....when these people become discriminating consumers, the importers will have to become discriminating buyers....or collapse. Note that given the current size of the import companies this will be a hard thing to do quickly.

   I think a retrenchment is inevitable (and indeed seems to have already begun). In its short history (10 years or less) there have, of course, been ebbs and flows of the manga market. (The anime market has been somewhat steadier in part because the greater capital investment slightly disciplined purchases. )
However, I think there may be a Marvel type retrenchment for both on the horizon.  Soooo much of the current product line from most companies seems to be crap intended to fill shelf space.

   I have no evidence that there is any psychological maladjustment on the scale of Marvels monomaniacal focus on market share in the early to mid 90's. However, the current market, particularly the manga market (where the only real growth lately seems to be in yaoi manga), seems rather unsustainable in its current form.

   I think that many of the same problems, less pronounced perhaps,  are going to afflict the anime market.

   Anyway, discuss...

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 08:51 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 Er, where have you been? The retrenchment happened already. ;p

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at Thu Jul 19 20:59:51 2007 (dlP4b)

2 Avatar_exADV gets first post bonus!

Yes there have been retrenchments already...I just think there's a rather larger one coming.

As I said, I think this applies much more to Manga than Anime, but the US Anime market has to deal with this and other issues as well.

Posted by: Ken Talton at Thu Jul 19 21:20:56 2007 (V5zw/)

3 Not what I'm hearing. People that were pretty glum last year are starting to get optimistic again. People that were overworked last year are practically at death's door these days. ;p

As far as specific titles not having come over yet, well, that comes of dealing with the Japanese. If you're used to moving a million copies in Japan, it's hard to scale down mentally to the kind of money that the US market is really worth. This isn't so much the case for anime anymore, because the US market for anime is actually pretty large by comparison to the Japanese one, these days; but the US manga market is smaller, and the Japanese one is way, way, way bigger, so the differential there is greater.

To put it bluntly, the US manga market exploded in size when the bookstores started stocking manga. The market continued to grow rapidly until it ran up against the limits of space that the bookstores were prepared to devote to it; in that time there was certainly a lot of crap licensed (some of it by us, heh.) Then came a crunch, and now there's fewer titles (and the retail buyers are being pickier, too.) But the shakeout is essentially over - Del Rey got in and a couple of the smaller players got out, still plenty of good stuff coming over. Nobody who was a manga fan through the 90s is complaining, I assure yez. ;p

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at Thu Jul 19 22:34:45 2007 (dlP4b)

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