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.
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.