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Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

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Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Old 12-21-10, 05:08 AM
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Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

I have been hearing and reading various people comment on the fact that the anime industry in America is in some serious financial doldrums. I haven't been keeping up with anime current events, but is this really true? Can someone summarize just how bad the state of the industry is really in?

And if so, how did it get this way? Is it true hardly anyone is buying anime in the US these days?
Old 12-21-10, 08:43 AM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Back in the early 2000s anime was huge here -- DVDs had taken over for VHS and much like normal movies, people were buying up anything and everything.

Then the bubble burst once everybody had their fix, the appeal of owning every series ever dissipated and the older series were had and done with. Manufacturers had put so much into keeping the market flooded with titles that eventually it crumbled under its own ambition.

I was a big fan in the early 2000s but have completely gotten out of it, I'm not sure if I pin it on the material (1998 was the last truly fantastic year with Cowboy Bebop, Berserk, Trigun, Gasaraki, Serial Experiements Lain, etc; for me) or just growing out of it.

I can't speak for the current state, but outside of a couple big shows it doesn't seem to be having the same impact it had 5 years ago. I'm sure piracy also plays a huge role as that is one thing that has gotten progressively easier over the course of the decade.

Last edited by RichC2; 12-21-10 at 08:50 AM.
Old 12-21-10, 09:34 AM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Young fans tend not to buy DVDs (at those prices, can you blame them?), they download fan-subbed episodes from various sites. A number of distributors have either gone out of business or scaled back their activity. The market definitely got over-saturated a few years ago with all kinds of junk getting licensed (entertaining junk, to be sure--"DearS," anyone?) while genuinely good series got ignored ("Nodame Cantabile," anyone?).

Manga's much bigger in the U.S. now, although when someone figures out how to download translated manga onto kindles or cellphones, even that market may dry up. Me, I'm old-school. As an older consumer with an ancient computer at home (11 years old!), I don't download. I still have lots of unwatched anime on VHS, never mind shelf-fuls of unwatched series on DVD. (Hello, DVD Talk TV-on-DVD January Challenge!) And another book shelf devoted entirely to volumes of manga, most so far unread. I'll be busy with old media for quite a while.

But it does frustrate me when series I genuinely want (e.g. "Nodame Cantabile" and the recent "Tale of Genji") don't come out in English.

Last edited by Ash Ketchum; 12-21-10 at 03:41 PM.
Old 12-21-10, 07:00 PM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
Then the bubble burst once everybody had their fix, the appeal of owning every series ever dissipated and the older series were had and done with. Manufacturers had put so much into keeping the market flooded with titles that eventually it crumbled under its own ambition.
This. The companies releasing anime released way too much, they kept the prices too high (avg. price if I recall was $25-35 per disc) and eventually the floor gave way beneath them. It also didn't help matters that Suncoast and FYE's parent company, Transworld, declared bankruptcy in (I think) late '07 and again in '08 and started shutting down stores. I remember reading that Transworld stores were supposedly the #1 seller of anime merchandise and when they started going down, it hit the industry hard.

There are some things that should never go mainstream. Anime is one of them.
Old 12-22-10, 04:53 AM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Thanks for the replies, guys. That is incredible. What a shame.

Someone mentioned that they may be growing out of it. I too, thought I had grown out it. I'm 37 now but I was a huge fan during the 90s when it exploded, and went bonkers on dvds every month. Then, like you said, sometime around '98/99, I just wasn't seeing anything of quality after that.

I think the last anime series I watched that I truly enjoyed at that time, was Gun Grave. Watched it on Adult Swim. What an amazing show. Then in the 2000's, especially around the time 911 happened, I really got out of it for a long time and didn't buy hardly anything for a few years

A few weeks ago however, I went on a big anime buying splurge and bought a few series I've heard is pretty good. Gurren Langan, Death Note, Slam Dunk, GitS SAC, and many more. I'll have quite an entertaining time in the future, because I now have quite a few series on dvd I've yet to watch in my back catalog.
Hopefully by the time I finish watching all my series, the industry will start picking up again.

I miss the 90's and that whole discovering anime for the first time feeling
Old 12-22-10, 05:23 AM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

I wouldn't say I've ever been a HUGE anime fan, but I do love some of the things I've been able to catch recently. I think Death Note is one of the greatest shows I've ever seen. I was able to catch the first series of Fullmetal Alchemist on Netflix streaming and absolutely loved it. I'm buying Brotherhood on Blu-ray and can't wait to watch it. I also discovered Avatar: The Last Airbender (which might not be true anime, but whatever) on Netflix and am having a lot of fun with it...
Old 12-22-10, 07:57 AM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Originally Posted by big e View Post
This. The companies releasing anime released way too much, they kept the prices too high (avg. price if I recall was $25-35 per disc) and eventually the floor gave way beneath them. It also didn't help matters that Suncoast and FYE's parent company, Transworld, declared bankruptcy in (I think) late '07 and again in '08 and started shutting down stores. I remember reading that Transworld stores were supposedly the #1 seller of anime merchandise and when they started going down, it hit the industry hard.

There are some things that should never go mainstream. Anime is one of them.
Anime is always considered as niche (at least for me anyways). Anime in B&M is declining rapidly. Best Buy isn't stocking very much anime anymore. There is still TWEC Chain stores (what's left of them). The other retailers are limited geographically like FRY's, Hastings, MovieStop,...

People are not buying and that's why we are seeing anime as cheap as ever. It would be interesting how the next few years turn out. And how much streaming/digital format will affect it.
Old 12-22-10, 08:01 AM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
But it does frustrate me when series I genuinely want (e.g. "Nodame Cantabile" and the recent "Tale of Genji") don't come out in English.
Nodame Cantabile won't be released in N. America anytime soon. Sony has their death grip on this. The officially English subbed and dubbed release(s) are available in Korea (OOP thinpak), Taiwan (5 singles), and Hong Kong (5 singles). It's still streaming dubbed via Sony's Crackle.
Old 12-22-10, 12:17 PM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Originally Posted by WTK View Post
Anime is always considered as niche (at least for me anyways). Anime in B&M is declining rapidly. Best Buy isn't stocking very much anime anymore. There is still TWEC Chain stores (what's left of them). The other retailers are limited geographically like FRY's, Hastings, MovieStop,...

People are not buying and that's why we are seeing anime as cheap as ever. It would be interesting how the next few years turn out. And how much streaming/digital format will affect it.
I think for a good 3-4 years anime was mainstream. Maybe not by definition, but it was certainly treated like a mainstream product. Anime shows were common on television (still true with kiddie shows, but I'm talking about normal teenager aimed shows), merchandise was everywhere, the DVDs were everywhere, new shows were coming out all the time, and everyone knew what anime was. Now, you can only find the merchandise and DVDs online and in a handful of B&M stores.
Old 12-22-10, 02:45 PM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Originally Posted by WTK View Post
Nodame Cantabile won't be released in N. America anytime soon. Sony has their death grip on this. The officially English subbed and dubbed release(s) are available in Korea (OOP thinpak), Taiwan (5 singles), and Hong Kong (5 singles). It's still streaming dubbed via Sony's Crackle.
I just looked this up on YesAsia and they said it was "temporarily out of stock." Does that mean they'll eventually get it in stock, or should I look elsewhere? And, if so, where?

Thanks.
Old 12-22-10, 02:49 PM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
I just looked this up on YesAsia and they said it was "temporarily out of stock." Does that mean they'll eventually get it in stock, or should I look elsewhere? And, if so, where?

Thanks.
From the coupon sites I have looked, I think the HK release is OOP now. That leaves you one option the Taiwan release (which consists of singles). Search Result from JS DVD Mall.

EDIT: I found a site that seems to have the HK release in-stock. Play-Asia.com LINK
Old 12-22-10, 07:31 PM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

I'd be happy with a FLCL reissue as I missed the set the first time it came out. I find it crazy that so many people are asking for that series to come out again and instead they gamble with a dozen other sets that just fizzle. Maybe it's not the demand that is in trouble, it's the supply part.

I felt that anime fans got fed up with $20 for 4 20ish minute episode on a disc robberies and went for torrents instead. Cutting the prices now may be too-little-too-late.
Old 12-22-10, 10:30 PM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
Back in the early 2000s anime was huge here -- DVDs had taken over for VHS and much like normal movies, people were buying up anything and everything.

Then the bubble burst once everybody had their fix, the appeal of owning every series ever dissipated and the older series were had and done with. Manufacturers had put so much into keeping the market flooded with titles that eventually it crumbled under its own ambition.
There wasn't a an anime decline in Japan?
Old 12-23-10, 12:44 AM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Originally Posted by Ranger View Post
There wasn't a an anime decline in Japan?
Yeah I was going to mention that too, that I've heard anime is even worse shape in Japan. From what I hear, the shift is focusing towards content that is extremely Kawaii and chibi-like. Any of you heard this?
Old 12-23-10, 06:07 PM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Originally Posted by OutRun2 View Post
Yeah I was going to mention that too, that I've heard anime is even worse shape in Japan. From what I hear, the shift is focusing towards content that is extremely Kawaii and chibi-like. Any of you heard this?
I've watched a bunch of it, and it seems to be trending towards that. Mind you,I like that genre, so it works for me.
Old 12-23-10, 10:11 PM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Originally Posted by OutRun2 View Post
Yeah I was going to mention that too, that I've heard anime is even worse shape in Japan. From what I hear, the shift is focusing towards content that is extremely Kawaii and chibi-like. Any of you heard this?
Its always been like that. Ever hear of "Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon"? I can think of a dozen other older ones also.
Old 12-24-10, 07:36 AM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Originally Posted by chrisc31 View Post
Its always been like that. Ever hear of "Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon"? I can think of a dozen other older ones also.
"Sailor Moon" was not quite the same thing and certainly was not representative of the other anime coming out in 1992. And you're over-generalizing quite a bit when you say "it's always been like that." Back in the '70s for instance, for every sugary sweet shoujo anime like "Candy Candy," there were a couple dozen rock 'em-sock 'em giant robot shows. In the past few years, the reverse has been true. For every giant robot show (e.g. the latest incarnation of Gundam), there are dozens of "extremely Kawaii and chibi-like" programs. Context, brother, context!

Pokémon still rules, though.
Old 12-25-10, 12:29 AM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Originally Posted by Ranger View Post
There wasn't a an anime decline in Japan?
Honestly, there are a few things wrong with the anime industry that are causing it to implode. It's a chicken and the egg syndrome, however, and I simply don't see it being fixed any time soon.

Studios are only producing the stuff that sells, obviously. It's unfortunate that the trend is currently focused on fan-service and moe (though I happen to appreciate these to some extent). This has stifled creativity somewhat and the boom of experimentation that happened a while ago has definitely run its course. In addition to that only hardcore otaku are willing to pay the exorbitant prices publishers charge for their wares. Thus studios will only produce what will sell to its niche audience.

Back to the cost factor. The costs we pay in America are astounding considering what the Japanese market is like. If you think $50 for a boxed set is tough, what about this?

http://www.rightstuf.com/cgi-bin/cat...em/90689/4/0/0

AniplexUSA is actually releasing that boxed set here. At that $400 price point. See the original cost? That's what the Japanese paid. We get a $200 discount. La-de-freaking-da. It's also commonplace to see $60 for a two episode disc. No wonder people turn to fan-subs and the like. Personally I've been getting into legal streaming sources such as Crunchy Roll. There's a premium membership, but just about everything is available for free if you don't mind the wait.

There's also the negative connotations with the culture in Japan. The random otaku with a few loose screws makes the news and ruins it for everyone else. There are also restrictions such as the new law Tokyo government has put into effect restricting "questionable" content in anime and manga. Granted it's only to products being sold to minors, but I guarantee you this will effect the industry at large. Then again if it means less crap like Sekirei and Ikki Tousen, I'm all for it.

It's just a shame really. Anime/manga has become an aspect of Japanese culture, but it's fundamentally flawed in so many ways. It's a niche market worldwide. Its fan-base and business strategies aren't necessarily doing the industry any favors. I'd love to see the industry do a 180 and get back on course, but I simply don't see that happening for a long, long time.

I'll be riding through the storm until the end, whether for better or worse. Maybe the pain the industry is in will lessen the deluge of garbage? As unfortunate as it would be, as companies go under or find their finances in the red, perhaps we'll see more scrutiny put into selecting shows for production? I'd rather have 20 cherry-picked series a year than 50 mediocre scatter-shot shows that are packed with filler and cliches.

Then again it has to start at the source. Here in America we can't institute change in the Japanese market as a consumer; at least not really. Until fans in Japan put their feet down and say "no more" nothing is going to change. I guess in the States we have to be thankful we get anything at all.
Old 12-25-10, 06:10 AM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

I just wish we could get a proper Lupin III Part II boxset in the United States for a reasonable price. I missed out on the Geneon releases, but even those didn't cover the entire series.

Originally Posted by Navinabob View Post
I'd be happy with a FLCL reissue as I missed the set the first time it came out. I find it crazy that so many people are asking for that series to come out again and instead they gamble with a dozen other sets that just fizzle. Maybe it's not the demand that is in trouble, it's the supply part.
It's funny you mention FLCL. I first caught that show on Adult Swim back in the day and missed out on the DVDs as well. I'd always keep my eyes out on eBay and Amazon, but the prices were too high. One day I went into FYE and they were having a sale on Anime and they had FLCL Volumes 1 & 3 for $2.99 (I think that was the price, but either way it was super cheap) so I picked 'em up and found Volume 2 on eBay for like $15. I was shocked to find the DVDs at FYE because they have long been OOP, but there they were, brand new.

FUNmation announced a while back it was going to be releasing FLCL on DVD and Blu-ray in late 2010, but as of now it's set for February 22, 2011; obviously that could change though.



DVD = $29.99
Blu-ray = $33.99

---

But as to the topic at hand, I enjoyed the Anime on Adult Swim back in the day, including Cowboy Bebop, The Big O, Samurai Champloo, and FLCL. I was always a fan of Speed Racer growing up and have recently developed a love for Lupin III. Obviously Miyazaki is a favorite as well. The biggest problem with Anime for me, and one of the reasons it's probably in a slump, is that the prices and the way they release these shows to home video is just ridiculous. Who wants to pay $25 for an episode or two of show they may or may not end up liking. I'm much more likely to explore shows when they hit DVD for a reasonable price, but I can never really do that with Anime; I have to be much more selective and thus I probably miss out on stuff I would enjoy. It would seem that of all the genres to embrace the DVD format, Anime has sort of dropped the ball as far as accessibility.

Last edited by kstublen; 12-25-10 at 06:15 AM.
Old 12-25-10, 07:53 PM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Originally Posted by kstublen View Post
I just wish we could get a proper Lupin III Part II boxset in the United States for a reasonable price. I missed out on the Geneon releases, but even those didn't cover the entire series.
I want to see the original Lupin series (from 1971) get a release in the U.S. I have a fan-sub VHS of some eps. and some unsubbed Japanese-language tapes, but that's it. It's much more hard-edged than the later series.

There are a lot of older series I wish would get licensed here. I had a list somewhere that included things like: Combattler V, Captain Harlock, Galaxy Express 999, Brave Raideen, Legend of Galactic Heroes, the original Cyborg 009, and shoujo anime like the original Glass Mask. Plus dozens of others that don't come to mind so easily. But there doesn't seem to be much of a market here in the U.S. for classic anime.
Old 12-25-10, 09:04 PM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Originally Posted by Dragon Fly View Post
Honestly, there are a few things wrong with the anime industry that are causing it to implode. It's a chicken and the egg syndrome, however, and I simply don't see it being fixed any time soon.

Studios are only producing the stuff that sells, obviously. It's unfortunate that the trend is currently focused on fan-service and moe (though I happen to appreciate these to some extent). This has stifled creativity somewhat and the boom of experimentation that happened a while ago has definitely run its course. In addition to that only hardcore otaku are willing to pay the exorbitant prices publishers charge for their wares. Thus studios will only produce what will sell to its niche audience.

Back to the cost factor. The costs we pay in America are astounding considering what the Japanese market is like. If you think $50 for a boxed set is tough, what about this?

http://www.rightstuf.com/cgi-bin/cat...em/90689/4/0/0

AniplexUSA is actually releasing that boxed set here. At that $400 price point. See the original cost? That's what the Japanese paid. We get a $200 discount. La-de-freaking-da. It's also commonplace to see $60 for a two episode disc. No wonder people turn to fan-subs and the like. Personally I've been getting into legal streaming sources such as Crunchy Roll. There's a premium membership, but just about everything is available for free if you don't mind the wait.

There's also the negative connotations with the culture in Japan. The random otaku with a few loose screws makes the news and ruins it for everyone else. There are also restrictions such as the new law Tokyo government has put into effect restricting "questionable" content in anime and manga. Granted it's only to products being sold to minors, but I guarantee you this will effect the industry at large. Then again if it means less crap like Sekirei and Ikki Tousen, I'm all for it.

It's just a shame really. Anime/manga has become an aspect of Japanese culture, but it's fundamentally flawed in so many ways. It's a niche market worldwide. Its fan-base and business strategies aren't necessarily doing the industry any favors. I'd love to see the industry do a 180 and get back on course, but I simply don't see that happening for a long, long time.

I'll be riding through the storm until the end, whether for better or worse. Maybe the pain the industry is in will lessen the deluge of garbage? As unfortunate as it would be, as companies go under or find their finances in the red, perhaps we'll see more scrutiny put into selecting shows for production? I'd rather have 20 cherry-picked series a year than 50 mediocre scatter-shot shows that are packed with filler and cliches.

Then again it has to start at the source. Here in America we can't institute change in the Japanese market as a consumer; at least not really. Until fans in Japan put their feet down and say "no more" nothing is going to change. I guess in the States we have to be thankful we get anything at all.
I agree with most of what you said even the part about "Sekirei" or even "Heaven's Lost Property" other then the fan-service being good it lacks creativity and does not have much of a plot. If someone asked me what their about I would say seeing boobies. I can't wait to buy Rosario + Vampire thats like the best fan-service anime.

I am surprised anyone would pay over $300 for any show. $200 is my cut-off point and it has to be an awesome anime that I seen already. I buy a lot of animes but I am also a Crunchyroll member, I only hate subs when the anime gets licensed in north america for dvd with sub-only.

I think with the new Tokyo government law that was passed, the animes for tv would have much better creativity to sell them more like Clannad, K-On, Angel Beats, Haruhi Suzumiya and other animes that sounds like they sell good in Japan. If you look at animenewsnetwork or like myanimelist for best rated animes Clannad and others like it is near the top and all fan-service animes most likely is not even in the top 100, so I don't know what you mean by fan-service animes sell other then me buying them? I would rather buy more animes with great storys and no fan-service then an anime with little or no story with lots of fan-service.

Last edited by chrisc31; 12-25-10 at 09:23 PM.
Old 12-26-10, 06:45 PM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
There are a lot of older series I wish would get licensed here. I had a list somewhere that included things like: Combattler V, Captain Harlock, Galaxy Express 999, Brave Raideen, Legend of Galactic Heroes, the original Cyborg 009, and shoujo anime like the original Glass Mask. Plus dozens of others that don't come to mind so easily. But there doesn't seem to be much of a market here in the U.S. for classic anime.
At least the Galaxy Express 999 movies have been licensed now by Discotek/Eastern Star. If they do well enough, others could follow.
Old 12-26-10, 10:06 PM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Originally Posted by Ralph Jenkins View Post
At least the Galaxy Express 999 movies have been licensed now by Discotek/Eastern Star. If they do well enough, others could follow.
Has a release date been set for the Galaxy Express movies? I recall reading the license announcement on Animenation a few months ago but haven't heard anything since.
Old 12-27-10, 01:44 AM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Originally Posted by Navinabob View Post
I'd be happy with a FLCL reissue as I missed the set the first time it came out. I find it crazy that so many people are asking for that series to come out again and instead they gamble with a dozen other sets that just fizzle. Maybe it's not the demand that is in trouble, it's the supply part.

I felt that anime fans got fed up with $20 for 4 20ish minute episode on a disc robberies and went for torrents instead. Cutting the prices now may be too-little-too-late.
I think it was more of price wars on DVDs. It went from $22 - $30 a disc x 6 discs, to $18-$20 a disc after discount, to wait for a year and you could get the whole show for $60, to slimpacks of the show for $30...etc. Plus there became so much other stuff to watch that you could always wait for that inevitable slimpack release for like 1/6 of the release price.
Old 12-27-10, 05:56 PM
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Re: Just how bad is this "slump" they say anime is in?

Originally Posted by big e View Post
Has a release date been set for the Galaxy Express movies? I recall reading the license announcement on Animenation a few months ago but haven't heard anything since.
I don't think there is a release date yet, but it should be out in 2011. Sometimes there is a bit of a wait between the time Eastern Star announces a license and when the DVD comes out. I feel like it took them a long time to release Female Prisoner Scorpion, but it did make it out before the end of 2010.

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