Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Anime's Tomorrow

Mayo and anime together?As I casually stroll through a 99 cent store,  I see special collections that went for thirty or fifty bucks. Now they're nothing more, but a cheap DVD to give to some unlucky kid, whose Aunt or Uncle doesn't really love them and heads to the 99 cent store before visiting them in the hospital or for their birthday.

Anime has become a normal part of the media we ingest with you tube and whatever terrible Hollywood movie is out ( I initially wrote Battle:LA here, but this comes out when Sucker Punch is considered as awful as rape).  The anime series I saw at the store aren't that spectacular, and I know the market's been going down hill for a while, but it's still strange to see cheap mayo next to anime box sets. Maybe, down hill is too strong more like it's just becoming a normal section in a store.

Anime companies got smart and started releasing cheaper packs that contained whole or two seasons, between sixty-five and twenty-five dollars. Funimation probably doing the best with special "save" money releases with no extras. It use to be  $25-$30 bucks per DVD a few years ago and you got 3 episodes, anime companies were crazy to think it would stay that way. Some companies were still doing it a year ago and some titles are still extremely high in price.

It's just strange, to see any highly priced anime not is some collectors edition. Anime companies will tell you they charge so much, due to the high cost of licensing and dubbing, but that seems a bit odd since the cost of actually making the anime is gone.

Look at the ADV film boxes below. The companies gone now and they use to own Evangelion! Other companies have been bought and renamed like Geneon and Funimation. Geneon is now Geneon Universal and Funimation is part of a much larger company called Navarrae Corporation.

*Just a side not, about anime distributors in North America .  Funimation has some of the biggest titles. Geneon Universal ( this is funny they use to be pioneer entertainment, which first brought us Tenchi Muyo), Viz Media (Warner Home Video handles distribution) , Bandai Entertainment , Aniplex (Subsidiary of Sony). Manga Entertainment is still around and is subsidiary of Starz, I'm unsure if there active anymore. Other smaller companies are Anime Network & Anime Works, Section 23 and Nozomi Inc, which seems tight with Right Stuf- a major mispelled online seller of anime.. If you want to get technical you include Sony and Disney for some movies and Mizazaki releases. Also Anime Network is just online and through digital services, no blu-ray or dvd releases. They are dubbing, High School of The Dead, so they must be making some profit to afford that.

I hope the anime distributors learned their lesson, not to release little content at such a high cost to the consumer. I wonder what happened to all the money and why big companies like ADV went bust. I know the market fell, but did it fall so fast they couldn't move with it or were the simply bad at business Did they just think the market wouldn't ever fall?

Anime has become more reasonably priced. Some of the companies need to realize a price point is going to be forty dollars. Titles that cost more will fail.  Just skewing Amazon right now you can see only full season dvds for animes anymore, the episode packs are dead.

* Another side not when ADV (a big anime disrubutor and licensee) was around they were about to release Sgt. Frog. That title has now moved on to Funimation.

From where we were to where we are Anime has changed with the market. Anime might simply become part of animation on remaining store shelves.

Check out this article from Los Angeles Magazine circa 2000 it's quite funny to see how far anime has become as a normal part of the media we consume now. It's funny that it was so small and on the fringes of networks. Like late nights on Adult Swim. Now some off it's cheap enough to make and tie-in into cards, video games and toys that it'll never go away.

I guess the next step beyond Blu-ray will be the pricing model to just download the episodes which already exists, if you think about it discs of any sort might not exist at all. Collectors editions, might just be a promo item that gets shipped to you or theme to display with your content. Cost is what matters overall in this article, what will anime cost in the future? Will corporations just import it faster or will major Japanese anime  companies just make divisions for America like Pokemon did and boot anime distributors to the curb like For Kids Ent. was? That is unknown, but right now we have a huge market of new titles that get picked up with more coming out. It's just sucks there isn't a way for them to easily get imported and distributed legally as fast as they come out.