Series you think that should had been bigger in the West?

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Fireminer
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Series you think that should had been bigger in the West?

Post by Fireminer »

IMHO, Golgo 13 and Tetsujin 28. I can understand why the later did not catch on in America, but Golgo 13 felt like it should had been a bigger hit with a noticable fandom.

Also, is it true that Lupin III hasn't been selling well outside of Japan, and nostalgia for it which only existed in Japan is one of the reason it did not catch on in America?

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Re: Series you think that should had been bigger in the West?

Post by SteveH »

Mmmmm I'm not sure your facts are in order regarding Lupin III internationally. I have the impression it's pretty big in Italy for example.

Tetsujin 28 (which version?) and Golgo 13 are a very curious baseline for what you're asking. How did you come to choose these two titles?

Dave will have something to say about Gigantor for example. Golgo 13 TV series, that came out long after the 'Great Dying' of Suncoast in 2006 and the subsequent purge of anime in the retail environment.

So, Fireminer, please define what you mean by 'popular'. Do you mean airing on TV? Do you mean overall sales? Do you mean people cosplaying? Do you mean just plain talking about it?

In case you're not aware, there is no real way Golgo 13 could have mass appeal on American TV as a program running in that all important 3-5 PM weekday afternoons children's tv program time slot, even if that targeted programming period still existed today.

Mass appeal is kids running home from school to watch the latest episode of a show. That doesn't happen anymore.

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Re: Series you think that should had been bigger in the West?

Post by davemerrill »

The 1960s Tetsujin-28, shown here as "Gigantor", was a popular staple of American 1960s television programming. Most TV stations quit airing B&W syndicated programs in the 1970s, so the series vanished for a while, but it was one of the first anime series to get a home video VHS release once the home video market took off in the 1980s. It's fondly remembered among those who saw it as children. The 1980 series wasn't as widely seen, but it did air on a national cable network and attracted a fair bit of attention. Legal rights for this version of the show were tangled for a while, but it was recently released on home video by Discotek.

Golgo 13 honestly did fairly well in the West. Two NES games, some early English language manga adaptations, and the home video release of the Golgo 13 film "The Professional" by Streamline Pictures all happened before "manga" and "anime" were household words in America. The subsequent Golgo 13 animation is fine, but I don't know there's anything about it that really stands out enough to make it a super popular series in America. It's big in Japan because Golgo 13 is a long running instantly recognizable franchise, but America doesn't have that built in audience.

I don't know exact sales figures for Lupin III, but Lupin III films have been being released on home video in America since the 1980s. Some films, like Castle Of Cagliostro and Mystery Of Mamo, have had several different releases across different formats. **Somebody** is buying Lupin III in America.

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Re: Series you think that should had been bigger in the West?

Post by SteveH »

I think what's being asked is, 'popular' as in Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon, Pokemon, possibly Gundam Wing level of mass appeal.

Bootleg polyester club shirts and bootleg skateboard decks popular. :)

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Re: Series you think that should had been bigger in the West?

Post by davemerrill »

well, there's "popular", and then there's media saturation levels of popular. My yardstick for that kind of all-encompassing popularity is, when you see the costumes and the party napkins for sale in Party City, now THAT'S popular.

Honestly I don't know if Golgo 13 is the best metric for this - it's a long running series, but it has a very specific demographic audience, even in Japan.

I do think a big reason shows like Mazinger Z and Saint Seiya aren't more popular in America is strictly due to timing - by the time Mazinger Z appeared on American TV screens it was the mid 1980s and a show produced in 1972 is going to look very dated. By the time Knights Of The Zodiac appeared, the show was more than a decade old. Also I think they tried to pitch it to a slightly older audience, which is a mistake; it's definitely a kids' show. I guess the blood in that first episode scared everyone off (didn't they change the color of the blood?) Both those series were super popular in the rest of the world outside America.

Once Dragonball got a foothold it definitely achieved the popularity it warranted, I think.

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DKop
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Re: Series you think that should had been bigger in the West?

Post by DKop »

SteveH wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 9:00 am
Mmmmm I'm not sure your facts are in order regarding Lupin III internationally. I have the impression it's pretty big in Italy for example.

Tetsujin 28 (which version?) and Golgo 13 are a very curious baseline for what you're asking. How did you come to choose these two titles?

Dave will have something to say about Gigantor for example. Golgo 13 TV series, that came out long after the 'Great Dying' of Suncoast in 2006 and the subsequent purge of anime in the retail environment.

So, Fireminer, please define what you mean by 'popular'. Do you mean airing on TV? Do you mean overall sales? Do you mean people cosplaying? Do you mean just plain talking about it?

In case you're not aware, there is no real way Golgo 13 could have mass appeal on American TV as a program running in that all important 3-5 PM weekday afternoons children's tv program time slot, even if that targeted programming period still existed today.

Mass appeal is kids running home from school to watch the latest episode of a show. That doesn't happen anymore.
I actually purchased my Golgo 13 DVD sets from Suncoast when those hit the shelves in 2011 and 2012. I remember getting mine at the Cary Towne Center in Cary, NC before the mall became the ghost town that it is, which I hear is going to be demolished in a few years once other store chains contracts run out. That Suncoast existed longer than I imagined, and I think their last hurrah was having a booth at Animazement Dealers Room like in 2014 or something.

I would say Gundam but I feel like Gundam had its chance, died out for a number of years and came back through BlueFin and Right Stuf, so it's doing pretty good. Not on the levels it was in the early 2000's, but its better than nothing.

Adult Swim could pick up Golgo 13, and the Toonami block is what it could be on. I don't the TV adaptation is "that old" since it came out over 10 years ago. I will give it I think the Bluray's that Sentai put out look like garbage, it looks like the ISO filter was turned up, just looks grainy to me.

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Re: Series you think that should had been bigger in the West?

Post by SteveH »

For information, when Suncoast went belly-up in 2006, the bones of it were brought up by Transworld and merged with the FYE chain. Most of the Suncoast stores were closed but I was very surprised to see at AWA in Atlanta 2011, the nearby mall had a freshly opened Suncoast 'pop-up' store. A 'pop-up' store is one that opens in an otherwise vacant location with a minimal investment spent on infrastructure. Those Halloween stores are pop-up stores.

Anyway, FYE seemed to see value in the Suncoast brand as late as 2011. I doubt they feel the same way now as they struggle, making the exact same mistakes Suncoast made in its last couple of years.

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DKop
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Re: Series you think that should had been bigger in the West?

Post by DKop »

From the late 1990's to early 2010's I enjoyed going into FYE, Suncoast and Coconuts video stores, since that was the main retail hub that carried anime titles. There is an FYE that exist in the Haywood Mall in Greenville, SC, but I rarely go in there since the anime selection is just titles by Funimation, same with Best Buy stores. The era of large shelves of physical anime media is gone, now its just a small section thanks to streaming. To get that kinda fix of looking at random anime titles and hoping that dropping 20 bucks down on a DVD/VHS is going to be good would be at flea markets, used bookstores and thrift stores. I could google a title on my phone (which I've done occasionally), but that would take away the fun of blind buying of a title you hope is going to be entertaining in some way when you watch it in your living room.

Fireminer
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Re: Series you think that should had been bigger in the West?

Post by Fireminer »

SteveH wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 9:00 am
Tetsujin 28 (which version?) and Golgo 13 are a very curious baseline for what you're asking. How did you come to choose these two titles?
With Tetsujin 28, I am talking about the 2004 anime. Wasn't it bombed back when it was released by Geneon? It's fortunate that Discotek has got a hand on its license now.

Then again, it is probably the same fate as with other 2000s remakes/sequels of old mecha series. We have got Kotetsushin Jeeg, Mazinger Z: Impact, and Dancougar Nova which all seemed to me like they should had been more popular, being good shows and all that. The reason, I presume, that everyone got sucked into Gundam Seed/00, Code Geass and Gurren Lagann.

And regarding Golgo 13 (I am referring to the 2008 series), maybe its action styles wasn't that big at the time? When I think about the 2000s gun-blazing actions, I always think about one of the many girls-with-guns series like Black Lagoon, Burst Angels, etc. Which is kind of fitting, if you think about how the image of the action female evolved in Japanese filmography--it moved from the hard-headed tomboy deliquents of the 1980s (Sukeban Deka) to the cool-headed merciless professional of the 2000s (Azumi).

Someone like Mark Simmon would had been better to explain what happened to Gundam in the 2000s, but the short story is that Bandai really, really screwed up. Thanks god that in the early 2010s, they have got more hits than duds (AGE was such a misopportunity.)

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Re: Series you think that should had been bigger in the West?

Post by davemerrill »

the 2004 Tetsujin-28 looked great, but I think it failed to reach the potential audience of people who watched "Gigantor" as kids, and the anime market in the US imploded right around that time, taking Geneon with it.

Barely anybody in the United States knows what Jeeg is; I can't see a remake of a show nobody knows about to be any sort of a hit.

Mazinger Z: Impact was fun, but again, it kind of needs an audience already familiar with Mazinger Z and the wider world of Go Nagai works, which America definitely is not.

Dancouga Nova wasn't even a success in Japan, I can't see it being a success in America, where if people know Dancouga, they know it as this 80s thing that never really achieved success among fans or commercially. I mean, I like Dancouga, and I couldn't be bothered to watch Dancouga Nova.

The appeal of the 2008 Golgo 13 series really seemed to be seeing some legendary Golgo 13 storylines rendered into animation, and while that's a good thing if you're a Golgo 13 fan, I don't know how appealing that is to someone who just wants to watch an action adventure series. There's a lot of scenes of Golgo staring intently, of Golgo being silent, of Golgo waiting around; not exactly John Woo action.

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