Monday, December 31, 2007

The growing shrinking gap,

Like other generations before them, young Americans are at the peak of a cultural fascination with Japan. Listen kids, don’t think you’re the first ones to open Japan up. Perhaps some out there will remember the craze of the 80’s when ninjas were just as common as they are today, and Voltron ruled over the imaginations of children while “Gung-Ho” made it seem as if you wanted a Job that was worth anything in the future you’d better learn Japanese. Neither that generation nor this current one was the first in recent memory to enjoy such an era of Japanophilism (s’that a word?). Films like “Sayonara” (1957), and the 007 foray into things Japonica which was “You Only Live Twice” (1967) show us that the then recent blood enemy had been transformed into a source of “new toy syndrome” to the fascination of Americans which went beyond anime.

Going back to the days of Commodore Perry Japan and America have been bound together in various ways not only in our own eyes but in the eyes of the rest of the world as well, as both countries were seen as relative newcomers on the world scene (America being less than a century old and Japan having just been forced to turn off its “cloaking device”), and one look at “Madame Butterfly” makes it clear that there was a sphere that both countries were put in when it came to the perceptions of the rest of the world powers. By the way if you have the chance to see Madame Butterfly I think you should definitely go see it.

There is an indelible link that has seen a progressive cycle of hills and valleys on this side of the Pacific. But now for the first time ever, we’re approaching what may just very well be a sustainable plateau. From food, clothing, to music, manga, anime, and even furniture and lifestyle, there is a level of acceptance and general recognition which stretches over demographic clusters that have no other similar connections with each other. How is this possible now and not before, you may be asking. Well like any complicated question the answer is one that covers a number of different causalities. At this particular moment, the perfect storm of media licensing, technology, unrestricted travel, and an ongoing history have combined with socio-economic congruences such as both Japan and America reaching the end of their life cycles as bases of manufacturing and having an emergent service and I.T. economy, and with U.S. suburbs experiencing a brain-drain of youth to our large cities, out lifestyles are growing ever closer in similarity. This perfect storm has been able to keep Japanese culture infused into American life, long enough to infuse itself over generational lines, meaning at the same time the early otaku have graduated from Japanese studies in college and are a good 8-9 years into their carears, there are a bunch of high school freshmen kids with anime DA accounts thinking that they’re going to grow up to be super manga-ka or work in the anime business. Why is this important? Because the top and bottom of this group are doing what they’re doing for the same reason; anime in the U.S.

At the same time, Japan has never been so connected to the United States, although you’d never guess it if you looked at the current political situation (also one thing Japan was able to do was correct it’s housing bubble early on in the 1990’s, while here we just kept it going spurred by the massive demand for housing initially created by the divorce rate… you know, kids competing with their parents for the same kind of housing en mass for the first time). In any case, in my opinion it is apparent that the two countries will continue this cultural and economic symbiosis unabated for years to come. The home media market in the U.S. is in a state of implosion and is taking anime with it, but only as a home media product, just like kung fu, documentaries, TV on DVD, indie film, horror, and every other genre that saw unsustainable growth in the DVD bubble. Anime stands to pull off a quick recovery by finding an integrated media delivery system here, because Japanese properties already have other strong legs to stand on such as manga, merchandise, and now an open window to broadcast, with the ever illusive co-production on the very immediate horizon. This connection and support for anime and Japanese influence will no longer take a back seat to a resurgence or pre-packaged formula-driven tripe like we’ve seen before. Our own domestic entertainment producers have been changed forever by the new otaku, the new audience demands a story arch, they demand character depth, they demand programs that are designed to fit these new times.

I was involved in a great example of this. There’s an American company out there that’s had its glory days back in the 1980’s and 1990’s, but is still around and still can get things done. They were big in the toy field and then big in the cartoon business for a little bit. Now this company wanted to make an animated series out of their property “Micronauts” (that’s “Micro-Men” in Japan) and wanted to team up with Geneon. No the American company didn’t do this because they really wanted to do anything but get a show done as cost effectively as possible. Geneon was on board since after all, that property was hot in their own domestic market and this was a good way to pick up those rights for nothing. Que the stumbling block: Side A wanted to make each episode self-contained episodic and follow a formula, while Side B wanted to have connected episodes in an ongoing story. I’ll give you 3 guesses. So falls another possible co-pro. Now, don’t get me wrong, self contained episodes work or have worked for lots of properties; Star Trek, Scrubs, Kimpossible, Teen Titans, and even a huge chunk of Sailor Moon when you think about it. But this was going to be a new show. A new show for what is a new audience, they like anime for a reason. That reason is not because they’re a captive audience and will simply watch whatever is on TV at a certain time, it is because they are sick to death of what is being force-fed to the captive audience and want something better, smarter, and more in keeping with the times.

Would the series have worked either way? Probably, but we’ll never know since the American company refused to give their domestic audience enough credit and simply refused to allow for an interconnected story line in what was sure to be a promising series, and the first true co-pro to hit both markets. Instead it falls on top of the pile of other project carcasses (Shiden, people?) that might have been. Yet another thing to be angry about.

This Japanese interconnection and lasting influence will effect a change in how media companies view their productions and what they will look like in the future. Avatar is just the beginning, as the “Sopranos”/“Sex and the City” production roadmap is applied to animated entertainment for all ages. It took a Japanese invasion, but once the writers remember that working for a living is what most people have to do, a new creature will be born to international anime, the co-pro.

Oh, あけましておめでとう and all that.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bahamas here I come! Thank you New York Anime Festival

So guess what…?! I was at the NY Anime festival and somehow I got a call from VTS TRAVEL and I WON a FREE trip to the BAHAMAS! I didn’t even fill out a form, I just must have given them my business card! And Shazam, I’m a winnAr!

Oh it’s just too easy to mess with these fuckers. FREE for $5! Actually “free” for $299 you gotta pay it right now over the phone or you’re outta luck. Yeah guess what I did… Gave them a credit card number being watched by the FBI… have fun guys. OH I can’t believe Reed Exhibitions of anyone got fooled by these fucks. REED, I thought you ran conventions around the world? The notion that you wouldn’t have already known about this is just… wha? They weren’t on your dealer map. Did they sneak in? I wouldn’t be surprised if they did, but seriously, that means someone’s gotta get beat. Reed; you have money, you could pay to have them killed. I would guarantee I’d buy a lifetime membership to the NY Anime Festival as well as NY Comic Con if you could just start the rumor that you sliced up one of these fuckers (hell I'll do it.. I got experience slicin fukers up!).

The call came to in to my chump line (the one I give the gen pop) and so I was already on guard. Man, these guys didn’t even try. The pitch, wait for my reaction, the hook. You’d think at least they’d mail some shit for me to fill out… oh wait, that’s mail fraud which carries much more time than what they’re doing.

I guess I’m on the lower end of the list. Apparently everyone else already got called and I was only good for Wednesday Night after the con! I’m kinda insulted. But then again the fact that I have credit protecting agencies all over my accounts might explain why they put me on the back of the list. Sigh.

Well Reed and your New York Anime Festival, you did well for your first year. But we expect you to find these people and have their heads on display for next con. We believe in you.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

NY Anime Festival approaches

First of all let me say happy Ninja day, as well as Happy End of Prohibition day! So have a martini (or 7) in celebration!

Also, it’s soon to be the weekend of the first anime convention held in the city of New York since the Big Apple Anime disaster. It’s going to be a very interesting couple of days that’s for sure. In addition to being in New York, this convention is being put on as a for-profit event, with the goal of making money.

As the anime convention itself grew as a mostly non-profit entity, its model is now being put to the test as a revenue generating commercial event. It can make money, and considering the guest list, I have to assume that this anime con spent its budget on something other than getting the A list guests. But that’s ok, as recent years have proven you don’t need to have a major headliner to get the crowds to show up.

It’s going to be all about sustainability here. There is a boardroom that needs to be pleased, and if the numbers hit their mark, you can be assured that we’ll have another one next year. If not, then this will be yet another asterisk in the tome of what anime fandom history will be. Personally, I hope this is successful. The anime market is now seen as risk-filled because of the demise of Geneon. However, this is a misstatement in that it is the home media market itself that is risk filled and anime is suffering those effects with countless other segments of that market. Anime as a product, is still a very strong market if you know what is meant by “product.”

I’ll write more on this later, but right now it’s time to plan for the show.

See you there.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Furries stole their future.

Opinion piece. Views expressed are solely that of The Angry Otaku and do not speak for any group The Angry Otaku is affiliated with and all that. My past stuff was a bit more analytical... this time I am out to piss some people off.

The following writing is based off of a recent experience that I had with something specific, that probably doesn't represent a the entire group as a whole. But I am gonna let it taint my view anyway and go ahead and write this. So remember this going in; what you are about to read is based off of both years of following titles that would eventually end up over at Radio Comix or MU Press but still biased unfair and generalizes large groups, and is intended to provoke a reaction (read; I am being confrontational on purpose because I really wanna see if anyone is actually reading this) . On with the show!

Ok this isn't what I was mentioning above, but still just fucking made me so angry.

I am going to cross into an area of commentary that has started many a flame war and in the end only serves to widen the divide between what a “fandom” is as apposed to “escapism” amongst the masses. That, my friends is the ever increasing and irreconcilable gulf between the anime and furry followers that has grown exponentially since the year 2000. Although I use the year 2000 as a point to mark the moment where great divide passed the event horizon, the truth it that those furry dog-fuckers had been working on splitting off “anthro” from normalcy for some time up until that point.

There was once a time where both genres existed on the fringe, but neither had anything too terrible going for it. The early influx of “gekiga” never caused any “Crying Freeman” style shooting rampages in a mini-mall, and The American Journal of Anthropomorphics didn’t produce any skunk-fuckers. But there was always a danger that as both fandoms grew, the fringe would get out in the spotlight and not only have an influence on how mainstream medea viewed the entire group, but more importantly effect the direction of commercial production of material (without which, there IS no fandom). Anime worked hard and got lucky that the "all anime is violent girls/guns/nudity" label of the 1990's didn't stick. Furry seemed to have the opposite happen to it and had a commercially viable future shot down by the publicity of what some call a fringe group, or a segment not totally representative of everyone. That may be true but it happened anyway. Sure the intellectual furry fodder will argue about things like “Fritz the Cat” and “Omaha the Cat Dancer” were out there but those have about as much to do with the pile of ferret vomit that is modern furry fandom as “Kamen Rider” or Yukio Mishima have anything to do with “Inu Yasha” or “Naruto” (that’s a big fat nothing by the way).

The day that “Anthro” went from an artistic appreciation to a sick form of escapism similar to the Absinthe craze of over a century ago but without the Anthony Bourdain-esque coolness factor, and later degenerate further into something like the NAMBLA movement. It was the day it was hi-jacked by the very same destructive elements that seek to destroy anime fandom as well, although anime fandom was able to fight off most of these elements with the power of commercial success, Anthro didn’t stand a chance once the downward spiral started.

At first it only looked like a few bad apples spoiling ConFurence East, or some idiot artists taking things too seriously like in the “I saw her yawn” comic short at the end of one of the early Shanda issues from AP (or was it Katmandu …or Furlough… I don’t remember anymore). Although it seemed something was wrong, things appeared to still be mostly grounded, I mean Tank Vixens was fun, Salusians were an important part of NHS, the whole nekomimi ting was as popular as ever, and Fred Perry’s Gold Digger was proving it had staying power. But the undercurrents had entrenched themselves and before anyone knew it, “Anthro” was simply no more, and there was only “Furry” which was mostly hard core yiff porn (nothing wrong with pron. Porn=good. Gay or straight doesn't matter, BUT it's not a good opening act), and then the people dressed as Bugs Bunny with boobs or even worse the body paint and nothing but a dixie cup in a hotel lobby (don’t tell me I’m wrong, I was there back in the 1990’s, ok fresh?). This might have been simply a swing to one extreme of the fandom before progress returned to a middle ground, if not for the internet explosion that happened at the same time. That would change everything.

This new ability to massively archive and distribute this fringe “Furry” media meant that the very first thing many people saw of was this degenerate corrupted version of what was once a true art form. This first face that was shown to most of the world was simply a case of the wrong art attracting the wrong crowd, and the snowball effect was enormous! The last bastions of normalcy were pushed out for people who have sex with animals and call it a lifestyle, and people who think they are a really grey wolf with opposable thumbs, the ability to walk upright, and the power of speech. Shamanism would be a spiritual excuse if they tried to make themselves look like the exact physical thing they thought they were, but labeling yourself “Zig Zag” trapped in the body of a dude? …That’s just dumber than Kirk Cameron’s “God Banana” times a million. Fursuits aren’t animal suits, they’re CARTOON ANIMAL suits, and you misguided idiots out there are not, and never will be an animal, nor a cartoon, and certainly not both at once.

In 1996, I actually penned a small essay on the divergences of Anthro and anime… I forget why (and I think I cited Eric Schwartz), but as I noticed some major differences it was still not enough to send up red flags. I never would have imagined the kind of defilement that Anthro would suffer at the hands of assorted deviants and uneducated morons, and later that messed up product would actually come back to latch itself on to anime to try to legitimize it. To read that list linked to at the top of this post is to see apologist tripe at its e-worst. It is not holding up a mirror to another fandom, but rather a magnet. A magnet that sucks the kind of depravity and fancer (that’s fan+cancer) to any genre that shows the slightest sign of weakness regardless of what it is, had it been oil painting or origami at the time then that would have been it. If you think that’s something that doesn’t happen outside of pop-culture, then you haven’t seen Detroit lately have you?

“Furry” has indeed sunk very low from what it once could have been, and the extreme actions of /b/, Anonymous, and Legion are but necessary and natural defenses against this sad development. To have squandered the mainstream success that Anthro was enjoying in the 1980’s and 90’s with Heathcliff, Nimh, American Tail, Tail Spin, and so on, only to be stricken from commercial animation completely and categorized as some fetish-fed subculture which sabotages its own industry's growth, well all I can say is that for letting that crap happen “Furry” deserves another CSI episode. The lines have been drawn by the very side that is trying to free itself from what it sees as oppressiveness, but the more it gets out into the spotlight, the more the rest of us wish they would get the hell back off stage.

Some guidelines if you feel the need to comment (which I don’t think anyone will because no one is gonna read this anyway):

-If you are currently in High-School or younger, DON’T bother commenting. I’ve got manga and anthro comics that are older than you. If you weren’t there to experience what was lost, then don’t come up with some crap about how today is just as good. (Oh and your Deviant Art sucks).

-If you have a wikifur account; I already know what you’re gonna say, just as sure as Dr. Comet likes Krystal, and no Jeremy Bernal style hissy-fit is gonna do anything so save your energy for fapping to Mr Hands or Dog Whisperer or Aragon or whatever it is you do.

-If you think “otherkin” or “otakukin” are a legitimate religious anything, then I just hate you so don’t comment on basic principle. ..ok maybe not "hate" but I won't take you seriously.

EDIT: The above rules don't apply if you can be as smart as that first one. Then comment away.

Oh, and FYIAD. …no really.

Pool’s closed bitches. dance.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Constantinople has fallen.

An unnecessarily long entry about the departure of Geneon and what the future now holds:

In the anime world, the fall of the Eastern Empire is now past the point of no return, and its departure will send shockwaves throughout the ever increasingly divided industry and fandom that partially supported it. “Divided” you may ask? Yes divided, however I shall reveal the reasons for this statement a bit later on. First we have to take a little look back at the days of the old republic.

From a nebulous dark age that now seems lost to antiquity and few current otaku can claim to have been alive within, anime fandom grew out of the very basic types of media delivery (print, video, other) and the functions they could provide. Like the hills of Rome, these basic types of media delivery cradled a young republic of anime fandom. One in which early participants had the opportunity to take on a more active role not just in the anime content that they they individually would have access to, but also had a further reaching effect on what large sections of the fandom would have such access to as well. This was also partially due to the fact that the ultimate source of anime was about to go through its own series of production booms, which had not had their effects felt yet, in addition to the very limited media delivery technology of the day.

This ongoing emergence of anime caused positive fandom growth, but also brought sustainability into question. Enter the formation of The Empire and the need to unify large areas creating a legitimate market via commercial entities (labels, retailers, and trading companies bringing in imports). This market, although niche, grew to level never before possible thanks to the vitality of the home video market. Published and video media delivery was made commercially viable because of the distribution dynamics of the industry as a whole (ie not unique just to anime/manga) and if any industry is going to stay healthy, several equally footed entities must continue to vie for market share.

News stories popped up in mainstream news media about this new emerging market and industry, while at the same time an ocean away, ever more of the product would be produced and would fuel further growth. Each player in this new empire continued to expand, and thanks to those news stories and the ingenuity of some of the newer players in the game, a major barrier was broken. A barrier that had not been broken in a generation and it was that of media delivery through broadcast and national cable channels and additionally, specifically presented as anime and not just a cartoon but as anime (anime on TV ook ook!). Unlike the previous decade-long eclipsing of that TV barrier (which began with Speed Racer, and ended with Voltron as the domestic toy forces forced children’s entertainment into formulaic self-contained nuggets of mind-numbing tripe with no room for story arks or creativity), this was another ingredient to the brewing “perfect storm.” That perfect storm being a home-media market to support anime, or be supported by anime. So growth continued, convention attendance increased, national distribution was easy, and the mountain of titles continued to rise ever higher.

The empire did indeed split, and it is only in hindsight that the Emperor under which this split happened could be recognized. Yes, Pikachu. Pokemon evolving into a property that could warrant a McDonald’s Happy Meal tie-in (something not even DBZ couldn’t have come close to doing in the U.S.) began the upheaval of the industry status quo, splitting it into the original home media labels, and the new entities (or transformed ones such as VIZ) on the scene which where those with both a direct connection with the Japanese pool of properties as well as the ability to capitalize on ancillary rights such as textiles, merchandise, sub-licenses, and directly control broadcast and schedule their DVD releases accordingly.

The former players in the industry were split off from this new way of doing business, as they did not have such ancillary rights attached to their libraries, and could only hope that a title they had could get on adult swim through other means and they would simply reap the benefits in DVD sales. This diminished capacity to be a guiding force in the market after this split (some might even have seen it as being reduced to near impotence) seemed frustrating, but it would now seem also served as a protective insulation of the current home media implosion which is partial responsible for the fall of Geneon, and which I touched on in my previous post.

The stability of this model seems to only have been sustainable if the growth rate in home media remained constant. This of course was a factor completely out of the industry’s hands no matter how much any company spent on marketing. There were also other market forces happening specifically within the anime market, the most significant being the age and gender shift in the main demographic of the market makeup. This new younger consumer was much less likely to support the home media market with DVD purchases, and rather bump the ancillary market for a wide range of character goods. They were more likely to use free downloading to serve their media consumption and either ignored or were truly ignorant of how it would hurt the industry as a whole, or simply justified their doing so with the notion that they would buy what they like, but what they downloaded they weren’t going to buy anyway so it’s not causing direct damage. However it was this reasoning that served to artificially inflate the appearance of market support (agents take licensors to anime cons to show them all the throngs of cosplayers, of an anime that’s not even out on DVD yet, so it’s only going to get bigger from there right?). It was this artificial inflation of what the market could sustain which lead to the masking of the dangers to this new Eastern Empire which was spread too thin and dangerously overexposed. Hence the aforementioned “division” and reversal of interpersonal involvement between the fan/consumer base, and the mechanics of the industry.

Don’t fool yourself, there’s been a bubble that’s burst. But this “anime bubble” that’s gone pop is only one in a sea of bubbles throughout the home media market. Anime has left an indelible mark on media entertainment as a whole, and we are not headed for some sort of long age of darkness. It was within the same half century of Constantinople becoming Istanbul, that the New World was discovered, and the Renaissance began. I could go into all kinds of market indicators but I'm really tired at this point so just take this one at face value ok?

Look for the surviving labels to first slightly diversify genres, and consolidate their offerings in the short term. Following that, the next quantum leap is going to be the direct involvement of American and Japanese media content companies working together in anime co-productions. Productions of this nature will be intended for launch into both markets simultaneously, with all the bases of TV possibilities, ancillary rights, and so on already covered before production is even finished. Major companies will be producing major series (serieses?) with massive play-patterns and multilevel merch programs attached, and smaller producers will offer more niche programming with limited runs of more collectible style merchandise, as anime finally completes this last transitive step in going from a genre, to a medium, with it's own intermingled but none the less self sustaining sub-groups.

Almost reminds of the comic bubble doesn't it?

Welcome to the ground floor of a new era.

Also, in case anyone doesn't know about the real fall of Constantinople here's a nice little RPG style explanation of what happened.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

All of a sudden,

The home media bubble and its effect on anime as a home media force, and what the future will hold.

Since I am currently a freelance licensing agent, and event consultant, there are times when all of a sudden out of nowhere all this work lands on your head and you have no time for keeping up appearances on the interwebtubes. Now is such a time, however I do feel the need to continue to update this blog lest the content become amazingly stale.

I had a conversation today with a former colleague (read; "boss") of mine regarding a few historical things, our mutual insane friend, and where things are headed. From every perspective, it would seem to be official, the home media business is imploding. If this phenomenon wasn't so close to pure physics it would be just horrifying for us in this business to watch unfold.

As DVD expanded and became the dominant force, a few things happened to change the home media market.

1) Real Estate:
The shelves of any retailer who carried any home media, all of a sudden became capable of carrying an exponentially larger amount of releases since DVDs took up less space on the shelves in the store. That means for the same rent, the store can carry the same amount of titles without any financial risk what soever (that's because of "returns"... I left AWO a message about what "returns" are... maybe they'll play it maybe they won't).

2) Production Cost.... no Manufacturing Costs: DVDs take less time than a VHS to make, and since they can hold so much more video content, all of a sudden the massive libraries of TV productions become viable products. Supply ends up slightly outpacing demand, and a paradox is on it's way. Much like the real estate market is almost about to deal with now... nobody cared. They were making money and getting their sales commissions, the future would have to hold the bag so what did they care.

3) Market indigestion -or- Collective buyer's remorse:
OK so everything you've ever wanted (except Daria and Miami Vice ...thanks RIAA bastards) is now out on DVD for a price that seems too good to be true. Of course you're going to binge, you are only human right? So now what... the consumer home media market binged, passed out and is now very hung over in the "never gonna do that again" phase.

Number three is what's affecting the market now. The new genres that exploded during the infancy of DVD (anime being a major part of that) are now the ones being cut back on. The number of genres forcing this implosion range from softcore adult, to indie films, budget horror (thanks Blair Witch), documentary, martial arts, and anime.

So are there any survivors? ...Only one, and that's TV on DVD. Why? Well there's the obvious fact that these shows are on TV first and what better advertizing can you have? But that's only half of the equation, and half a tank of gas won't get you where you're going. You ask what the other half is? Cannibalism. TV on DVD has bitten out such a huge chunk of Hollywood movie DVDs that it can now survive whatever the market throws at it. mmmmm market share.

So what does this mean for anime? In a single explanation, it's growing pains. In 1999 Taeko Baba of all people (if you don't know who she is, you don't know much about the anime business ...but not in a good way) gave a very detailed presentation at The Japan Society expounding the differences between the American and Japanese "otaku" consumer markets. She also prophesied the eventual transition of the then US consumer market model into the Japanese consumer model, which was an immensely major transition. I invited her to the Anime Convention I chaired in Albany NY to give the same presentation... I am not sure how that worked out since I more or less blacked out that weekend.... but um...

Anime is in there... somewhere

The US market is in the midst of that transition. If you want to really have a true understanding of this, I suggest you read; A Clustered World, The Japanese Economy, Japan Inc (I know it's old but read it anyway), Shadow Shoguns, Hit and Run, Good to Great (full of market-speak), and just for fun try the translation of the novel Battle Royale. Just a bit of light reading. Such a transition will see losers and winners, and lots of both. No one may know what the future holds, so place your bets... place your bets.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hey baby, how bout you pull your top up and show me the fine print?

Copyright madness and the zeal with which it is enforced has become something of a commonality over the recent years. Everyone has heard one story or another about some absurd legal threat, court proceeding, or farktacular blunder involving some company or union or some other entity bearing down on something that previous generations would have held innocuous. Everyone has also asked themselves, where will it end? Well I am here to tell you that we haven’t seen the last of these stories the likes of which will continue to kick at the pillars of common sense like a screaming brat in the cereal isle.

As Halloween approaches, we will once again be treated to a parade of products which are the fruits of July’s annual licensing bonanza that happens right here in New York. Since Labor Day, the shelves of every corner of the vast the American consumer machine have been packed with factory-made, mass produced, wearable likenesses of the recycled ideas and concepts that make up kids entertainment fodder (hey, it’s all new to them). But what about those kids with the creative parents? They are the talented intelligent individuals who although they may bend to the wishes of their spawn and allow a mass marketed character to be the guise of this year’s foray into chocolate coated decadence, choose to make such a guise themselves. That’s right, the home-made costume is still alive and kicking. But will it last?

Yes friends I am sad to say that it may only be a matter of time before the copyright Gestapo descend upon Halloween parties in yet another episode of copyright protection gone wild. Oh sure you say that something like that will never happen, but the list of things that were to “never happen” were something to go by, then chain restaurants would be able to sing the regular happy birthday song without having to pay some walking sack of tanuki dung a bunch of extortion money. Don’t think it can’t happen. With this kind of mentality out there, the one that makes you a faceless market statistic, the restriction of certain costumes at specific events, not based on their subject but rather based on their copyright status, shall be the tip of what is sure to be a very irritating iceberg. And so you cosplayers, trick-or-treaters, and other assorted weirdoes out there I say to you simply; enjoy it while it lasts because you may soon face a crew of imperial tag-checkers asking for your costume's official documentation. Papers please! No, it’s not going to be Jesusland that kills Halloween, it’s going to be the lawyers and their track record in these matters is something that’s truly scary.

Don’t get too distraught though. It’s things like this that can only grow into big problems if the people tolerate the phenomenon first as a little problem. If this horrible premonition comes to pass, don’t just roll over if it’s first incarnation is a minor inconvenience (and it will be). Make a BFD out of it each and every time, take them to the mat and call their bluff… don’t back down. You deny them that first inch, and they’ll not bother to spend the energy to take that mile.

Ok you hardened criminals, hand over the contraband!


Monday, October 15, 2007

Anon apparently is not as smart as they used to be

So already, this crap is delving down into the level of sophistication you'd find on 4chan. The Anime World Order podcast, which has been going longer than the one I'm affiliated with, which is fun to listen to, which has (mostly) intelligent discourse about stuff I'm interested in.... has now been invaded by some /b/tard who is trying to start some dramah with retarded commenting (hey whoever you are, type "desu" a whole bunch of times, that'll show them how cool you are).

OK troll; you are part of the problem and not part of the solution but you know that. You probably love it when Daryl tears into someone on the show (I find it very entertaining as well) and are trying to instigate something. Cute, but you're doing it wrong. You see, adults communicate intelligently and with purpose. You may end up learning that later in life.

I don't know why I'm feeding this troll, but this pisses me off. I guess it's not to be unexpected on the internet. However, I hope they delete that crap over there.

It's this kind of crap that messes up the fandom in general, because it confirms an ongoing sentiment among others, that the anime fans lack social skills and act as if they're from that island in Lord of the Flies. Living up to that stereotype is not a good thing to do, but much as I wish someone could just say something that will make it stop, this stuff is just gonna keep happening.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It begins

I have been through a lot in the world of anime and otaku lifestyles in general. Working for so long in home media and licensing has left me a bit wiser, but also a bit different from others in the fan community. Click this for some minor back story.

I've done this for so long, it's changed the way I look at the world. I've been in meetings the artists, directors, the licensors, the licensees, the screamers, the scammers, the Japanese, the Americans, the Canadians and the Koreans. I've conventioned, I've bought it, I've sold it (in a store, for a living), I've licensed it in and licensed it out, I've pitched I've poked I've pilfered, I've even been involved in the making of an actual anime pilot... I've dubbed it, I've subbed it I've loved it I've snubbed it. As for Japan, I've lived there, I've worked there, I've slacked there, I've... snacked there (gotta make 'em rhyme, work with me) I've taught there, I've fought there, Graduated from college there, and I happen to be of the opinion that yes Osaka in fact is better.

So, this is where I'm coming from and now you know. I'm not doing this to try to out-otaku anyone (although after creating a college anime club and then running an actual convention in Albany NY a century ago, the first thing I learned about doing stuff like this is that out-otakuing the fan fodder out there is imperative, otherwise it just breaks down), but rather simply to set the stage for the later things I will be stating here and on the podcast.

I need to do this, since I've recently left the home media company I was had worked at, in order to go into independent license/consulting/what-was-I-thinking business. If i don't write down the ghosts of this sordid past and the conclusions and viewpoints that have formed as a result of it, then all shall be lost. Also, I need a platform from which to mess with Daryl-StringBean-Surat because he made fun of my hat.

And so, I'll leave this first post here. There's no real reason to make it any longer, as the subsequent writings you shall soon find here will amply validate this blog's existence, as well as inform and amuse the otaku public.