It's Back - Akihabara Renditions

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Re: It's Back - Akihabara Renditions

Post by SteveH » Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:01 pm

llj wrote:I've got nothing specific to add to this particular discussion of TV schedules and time blocks, but I will say that, springing off the topic of 'catalyst' anime, there seems to be fewer and fewer "buzzworthy" anime in the past 10 or so years in general. Anime are merely consumed for the moment and then audiences quickly move on to the next one. If you go online and want to talk about a show that finished airing 6 months ago, too bad for you. The audience has already moved on to the current season of shows and nobody cares about something that's already finished months ago (let alone years).

It's hard for any show to gain any kind of traction in building a loyal fanbase when anime is being treated in a more and more disposable manner in the streaming era. Even late 90s-early 2000s-style over-analytic message board conversations about meanings and symbolisms in any particular anime has largely become extinct today.
And that goes to exactly what I'm saying. There is no longer a 'point source destination' for anime, since the death of the local afternoon kidvid programming block and the later Toonami weekday afternoon program block.

The streaming services and the evil pirate sites don't generate the same 'fanaticism' that racing home from school to make darn sure you don't miss the new episode creates. People don't have a chance to BECOME invested because they don't have to put the effort into it.

(today's weekend Toonami, I imagine most people either timeshift with a DVR or they've already watched the entire show via streaming or download. Again, just consuming, not really obviously enjoying)

Just like the flood of anime produced now it all becomes a sameness, a low level hum.

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Re: It's Back - Akihabara Renditions

Post by davemerrill » Mon May 01, 2017 11:56 am

I don't know if we're ever going to get that sort of intense fan interest towards any one show ever again, to be honest. Our template is Star Trek, a SF show that developed a loyal fan base due to a letter-writing campaign to keep it on broadcast network television back when there were only three networks; we saw similar efforts around Star Blazers, BOTP, Robotech, and Sailor Moon. The landscape has changed really dramatically; the ways people consume broadcast media are all different, right down to the way broadcast media is broadcast.

It does feel like these days, the middle ground of casual enjoyment of a TV show is fading; either you are all in, or you're all out. Of course, TV itself, not just anime but Western TV in general is becoming episodic with long storylines rather than single stand-alone episodes, which demands a commitment from the viewer. It's hard to proselytize for a show when you don't even know if the person you're proselytizing can even watch it - do they have Crunchyroll or Amazon or CN or whatever? The days when you could go into school or work the day after a big TV event and assume everybody else had seen it are over.

One thing's for sure; I'm glad I'm not in TV marketing or advertising sales, because that landscape is a whole different country now.

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Re: It's Back - Akihabara Renditions

Post by SteveH » Tue May 02, 2017 7:49 am

davemerrill wrote:I don't know if we're ever going to get that sort of intense fan interest towards any one show ever again, to be honest. Our template is Star Trek, a SF show that developed a loyal fan base due to a letter-writing campaign to keep it on broadcast network television back when there were only three networks; we saw similar efforts around Star Blazers, BOTP, Robotech, and Sailor Moon. The landscape has changed really dramatically; the ways people consume broadcast media are all different, right down to the way broadcast media is broadcast.

It does feel like these days, the middle ground of casual enjoyment of a TV show is fading; either you are all in, or you're all out. Of course, TV itself, not just anime but Western TV in general is becoming episodic with long storylines rather than single stand-alone episodes, which demands a commitment from the viewer. It's hard to proselytize for a show when you don't even know if the person you're proselytizing can even watch it - do they have Crunchyroll or Amazon or CN or whatever? The days when you could go into school or work the day after a big TV event and assume everybody else had seen it are over.

One thing's for sure; I'm glad I'm not in TV marketing or advertising sales, because that landscape is a whole different country now.
Exactly, exactly.

The problem is math. Math vs. reality. In math, you can slice a pie into halves into infinity. In math everybody can have half a pie, or a half of a half, etc.

Reality, it's pretty quick to reach a level with having 'half a slice' becomes functionally meaningless. You could get more taste just wiping your finger around the empty pie tin.

And this is why having 'bean counters' in charge ruins everything. It creates completely unrealistic expectations because they use as their touchstone the 'old world'. It's like the modern comic book world. Back in the '60s you had most any, basically ALL titles doing a million copies, or maybe 500k, for just NOTHING. I mean no special event, no special rare cover variants, just another month of 'making the donuts'. That kind of huge number is a creation of many things- cheap price, overprinting because it's a returnable product, huge distro channels to tens of thousands of sales locations. Nowadays it's a super niche product sold in a non-returnable way to a very limited retail scene via one single distributor, and in no way cheap, and they are in a constant panic as to why they have such a hard time cracking 100k sales.

Well dudes, you as an industry have spent 40 years whining about comics are art and should be treated as such and not just crap pulp entertainment, comics should be sold like in Europe in book stores not jammed in a rack at the corner store. Higher price, better paper because that's respectable. Congratulations. You won. The future is yours.

There's no focus anymore. Too many options, strange as that seems. Maybe that's not right as I always feel more options are always better, but what we have now is more options but less choice.

Dozens of new anime shows coming out of Japan. Lots of options, right? But like 99% are MOE stuff, based on cookie-cutter light novels, so not so many actual choices. Thank God for Tiger Mask W.

But here's where I kind of tie it together. If we had the '70s wild-west world of UHF stations hungry for product, and Tiger Mask W was picked up for weekday afternoon kidvid syndication (altho I don't think they'd be able to do the beating with a folding chair and other wrestling gags but who knows) and it was running every weekday at 4 PM, it would be a phenom on the level of Pokemon or Power Rangers circa early '90s. Kids would be SO into it. Parents would be so outraged. Tiger Mask would be running wild OHHHH YEAHHHHHHHHH.

But it's the 21st century. The show is on Crunchyroll (wat dat?) and, well, the only promotion is what people talk about. ANN ignores it. It's not 'popular'. The only heat is coming from the wrestling community and THERE I suspect it's overlooked because it's just a cartoon. (this guy gets it. he's got a great view on the show. His voice should be more known. :) http://www.voicesofwrestling.com/catego ... er-mask-w/ )

But boy oh boy how about that latest big hit, "My little sister is a sexy dragon maid in a dungeon help I can't cope" huh?

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Re: It's Back - Akihabara Renditions

Post by Drew_Sutton » Wed May 03, 2017 6:46 pm

Steve and others are right - the lack of appointment television in modern society is a blow to fandom, at least how we experienced it. I know my co-host specifically got into anime through appointment TV; arguably, I did, too. However, what's different is that once we were into anime - beyond that catalyst stage, there were those shows that had some hook that caused us to dive deeper into that show or franchise. That, I don't think will change with the lack of appointment TV or KidVid programming blocks.
davemerrill wrote:I don't know if we're ever going to get that sort of intense fan interest towards any one show ever again, to be honest. Our template is Star Trek, a SF show that developed a loyal fan base due to a letter-writing campaign to keep it on broadcast network television back when there were only three networks; we saw similar efforts around Star Blazers, BOTP, Robotech, and Sailor Moon. The landscape has changed really dramatically; the ways people consume broadcast media are all different, right down to the way broadcast media is broadcast.
I'm not sure I agree with all of that - at least, in mine and Richard's experience, while we had re-runs of TOS on UHF and cable networks, Star Trek wasn't the scrappy nerd underdog any longer - several feature films and Next Generation on TV meant it was more than that. But I don't think that's changed people being fans of specific shows/franchises. I certainly DO agree that the consumption of broadcast media is night and day between the 1970s and today and that fan-driven campaigns to save specific series probably won't happen like in the past.
SteveH wrote:And this is why having 'bean counters' in charge ruins everything. It creates completely unrealistic expectations because they use as their touchstone the 'old world'. It's like the modern comic book world. Back in the '60s you had most any, basically ALL titles doing a million copies, or maybe 500k, for just NOTHING. I mean no special event, no special rare cover variants, just another month of 'making the donuts'. That kind of huge number is a creation of many things- cheap price, overprinting because it's a returnable product, huge distro channels to tens of thousands of sales locations. Nowadays it's a super niche product sold in a non-returnable way to a very limited retail scene via one single distributor, and in no way cheap, and they are in a constant panic as to why they have such a hard time cracking 100k sales.

Well dudes, you as an industry have spent 40 years whining about comics are art and should be treated as such and not just crap pulp entertainment, comics should be sold like in Europe in book stores not jammed in a rack at the corner store. Higher price, better paper because that's respectable. Congratulations. You won. The future is yours.

There's no focus anymore. Too many options, strange as that seems. Maybe that's not right as I always feel more options are always better, but what we have now is more options but less choice.
You might be intentionally vague with some of this but I think there are several factors at play with readership of comic books dropping to staggeringly low rates. Yes, moving distribution from retailers being the drug stores and corner shops into specialty direct market stores was a part of that. Paper quality increases, cover prices increase (to a staggering $4 now, I read the other day) pushes it above the realm of kids at the drug store and into teens and adults. But, the second-hand collector's market was probably the most staggering blow - pushing re-launch after re-launch, event after event, and multiple book cross-overs for every time Wolverine farts is what has driven the modern comics market out of the hands of all but the diehards. That collector's market was initially driven by the prospective riches of having a million dollar comic book fund to cash in one day ignoring the most basic principles - books from the 60s were selling for millions because, while selling like gangbusters, they became rare as moms across America cleaned rooms and threw those things in the trash in the same decade they were printed. Having 20 variant covers to play Pokemon-gotta-catch-'em-all with was the beginning of gutting the market of casual or expanded readership.
SteveH wrote: Dozens of new anime shows coming out of Japan. Lots of options, right? But like 99% are MOE stuff, based on cookie-cutter light novels, so not so many actual choices. Thank God for Tiger Mask W.

But here's where I kind of tie it together. If we had the '70s wild-west world of UHF stations hungry for product, and Tiger Mask W was picked up for weekday afternoon kidvid syndication (altho I don't think they'd be able to do the beating with a folding chair and other wrestling gags but who knows) and it was running every weekday at 4 PM, it would be a phenom on the level of Pokemon or Power Rangers circa early '90s. Kids would be SO into it. Parents would be so outraged. Tiger Mask would be running wild OHHHH YEAHHHHHHHHH.

But it's the 21st century. The show is on Crunchyroll (wat dat?) and, well, the only promotion is what people talk about. ANN ignores it. It's not 'popular'. The only heat is coming from the wrestling community and THERE I suspect it's overlooked because it's just a cartoon. (this guy gets it. he's got a great view on the show. His voice should be more known. :) http://www.voicesofwrestling.com/catego ... er-mask-w/ )
Tiger Mask W, airing in America, I think, probably wouldn't be a hit but not because of the violence or anything like that. I think that it's more a reflection of the state of pro-wrestling in America. Largely it's moved away from more family entertainment (even if it were violent - I'll get to that) and attempting to cater to that existing, hardcore fanbase. Rose tinted glasses and all but going to even a couple of wrestling events as a kid, I remember lots of other kids. I go to one now and most everyone is my age, plus or minus 10 years.

I don't know how much you have, or haven't, followed pro-wrestling but in the US and Canada, it was hyper regionalized up until the late 1970s/early 1980s. Different regions would have different styles. Styles that were more technical in nature were popular in the Midwest from Minnesota to Colorado and in western Canada (Alberta in particular). Styles that were violent and gimmicky (steel cages, weird match stipulations) were popular in the South (Texas all the way to the Atlantic). Larger-than-life muscle men were a feature of the Northeast. The talent-raiding and consolidation of the 1980s lead to homogenization and oddly enough, would have been Tiger Mask's best chances of being a hit, since it has enough of both styles that won-out in the consolidations. Violence certainly wouldn't have been an issue in many markets: Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes bled on TBS nearly every week for most of that same decade.

Oddly enough, pro-wrestling fandom shares a lot of commonalities with anime fandom: long history of tape trading, establishing networks of fans via newsletters & APAs, ridiculous popularity in the late 1990s but there is, I think, some mental block that keeps a lot of anime fans from flocking to Tiger Mask, less so the other way around. The Japanese wrestling promotion co-producing Tiger Mask W is gaining unprecedented popularity here in the US, thanks to streaming service with archive library. Perhaps it's the same aversion most fans have to nearly any other sports show?

That gets me thinking... I have found fans younger than me (well, granted, mostly in their 20s) who aren't usually interested in sports anime or even all anime about a single sport but fans of specific shows. Someone who is a fan of Ace of Diamond usually doesn't care about other baseball anime; same with getting the Prince of Tennis crowd to watch, say, Aim for the Ace. I know that anecdotes aren't the plural of data, but that is something I've noticed the couple times I've run sports anime panels at conventions.
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Re: It's Back - Akihabara Renditions

Post by SteveH » Wed May 03, 2017 7:56 pm

But Ric Flair taking a 'bump' on TBS isn't the local UHF station kidvid. That example would be more akin to Toonami.

Tiger Mask W certainly could have aired on late '90s weekday Toonami. :)

I'm not that hep to wrestling fandom, there I'm mostly stuck in '80s Hulkamania, but I am comfortable with understanding something of the business. I'm not a complete mark. :)

(Wrestling today just make me sad. Again, there's a sameness to it, a distinct lack of crazy at WWE... Seeing Undertaker lately, I just hang my head. Dude should have got out of the game years ago)

Anyway, the 'sports series specific' deal is kind of sad but not surprising. Current sports anime is way more geared to the 'bishie' (hey, nobody uses that anymore, do they?) fan than the actual sport. That's why you can get any carryover. Pretty boys being ALMOST teh gay, that's like MOE for the rest of modern fandom.

Myself, I'd really like to see shows like Ashita no Joe and Attack No. 1 pop up from (most likely) Discotek.

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Re: It's Back - Akihabara Renditions

Post by Drew_Sutton » Fri May 12, 2017 4:52 pm

SteveH wrote:But Ric Flair taking a 'bump' on TBS isn't the local UHF station kidvid. That example would be more akin to Toonami.

Tiger Mask W certainly could have aired on late '90s weekday Toonami. :)
Respectfully disagree - while I had access to southern wrasslin' on TBS after we got cable in Ohio, after we moved to the Atlanta-area, TBS is a local UHF and we didn't need cable for The Mothership. Sure, weekend nights weren't the prime, after school viewing but it was one of the highest rated spots on the network. A wrestling cartoon they could play on the weekdays would have worked. Other parts of the country, like Memphis, Dallas or Amarillo probably would have worked, too.
SteveH wrote:I'm not that hep to wrestling fandom, there I'm mostly stuck in '80s Hulkamania, but I am comfortable with understanding something of the business. I'm not a complete mark. :)

(Wrestling today just make me sad. Again, there's a sameness to it, a distinct lack of crazy at WWE... Seeing Undertaker lately, I just hang my head. Dude should have got out of the game years ago)
Yeah, sounds like we're on the same page - I prefer 80s/90s stuff that I grew up with and actively watched as a fan but can't be bothered with anything like it is now.
SteveH wrote:Anyway, the 'sports series specific' deal is kind of sad but not surprising. Current sports anime is way more geared to the 'bishie' (hey, nobody uses that anymore, do they?) fan than the actual sport. That's why you can get any carryover. Pretty boys being ALMOST teh gay, that's like MOE for the rest of modern fandom.

Myself, I'd really like to see shows like Ashita no Joe and Attack No. 1 pop up from (most likely) Discotek.
I don't think that sports series are geared towards some fujoshi check-off-list more than other genres. I know I put some more extreme examples at first but I've seen it with shows that are more closely related aesthetically. I haven't conducted any real hard data, just anecdotal evidence.
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Re: It's Back - Akihabara Renditions

Post by usamimi » Mon May 15, 2017 3:57 am

I definitely agree that anime output is at a point where we're getting SO MUCH, but we're lucky if we get a few highly memorable shows or movies a year out of it because so many of it is samey stuff that starts all blending together. This isn't just a problem for output of titles, either: because there's basically 50 new shows every season now, the animators working in Japan are spread too thin. There isn't enough work power to go around, so you end up with a lot of anime with poor production quality or delayed episodes, or just lackluster performances from staff that would normally make a hit because it's like everyone said: most tv anime has become more easily consumed & disposable. I really worry about the climbing rates of animator burnout (and worse: the death rates due to overworking, which is a thing in anime sadly), especially considering most animators get paid extremely low wages. It's heartbreaking.

It really is a shame, too, since ACTUAL hits that they work so hard on sometimes go largely unnoticed because they don't follow current trends or typical fan interests (example: I rarely see anyone outside my circle of friends talking about Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, a compelling drama centered around adult characters that's beautifully animated & has a theme song by Megumi Hayashibara). At best they'll do moderately well streaming numbers here in the states, but they'll never become well known classics beloved for generations. Which is a bit of a bummer, but gentle a reminder to me that most anime today follows trends and styles that are definitely VERY different than what was popular when I first got into anime, that's for sure.
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Re: It's Back - Akihabara Renditions

Post by llj » Mon May 15, 2017 6:34 am

It feels like more modern shows are a lot more producer and sponsor controlled now. They do a lot more to make sure no mavericks go too far off line. We heard rumours about the production schedules of Evangelion, or Macross, where how sometimes the TV stations received episodes merely hours before they aired. And there was always a sense of excitement that a "rogue" episode would air and people would be going, "WTF is this??" :lol: Now you don't really get that same spontaneity anymore. It seems like around the 2000s they adopted a much more rigorous scan and check procedure when it comes to anime, much like they do here with television in North America. Every show is gone over with a fine toothed comb to make sure it doesn't do anything too unpredictable week by week. Imagine if a show like Game of Thrones threw in an Evangelion episodes 25-26 batch! There's no way that could ever happen in the U.S., nor anime today.

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Re: It's Back - Akihabara Renditions

Post by Drew_Sutton » Sun Jul 23, 2017 2:56 pm

Oh wow, some social media genius I am - we've got 2 new episodes of Akihabara Renditions out since we posted about the last episode here. We're trying out a new format with a 'creator profile' series. Episode 4 is about the early career of Yoshiyuki Tomino from the mid-1960s until 1984. We finish up with Episode 5 from 1985 until 2017. We're planning on doing more of these profile series, so any feedback that can help make them better is much appreciated.
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Re: It's Back - Akihabara Renditions

Post by DKop » Sun Jul 23, 2017 6:52 pm

My co-host and I have been doing a Tomino vs Takahashi series since we started our podcast, so once every year or so we get around to watching a series by tomino and ryouske takahashi and compare the two. So far we've done 4 of them.

https://aoypodcast.com/?s=takahashi

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