Monday, July 26, 2010

You've got red on you: Zombie Apocalypse and the anime counter-argument.

In re-reading the previous post, I was all of a sudden reminded that there's a significant example of the exact type of "solution" evolving out of the current gulf between anime markets. High School of the Dead, is airing at just about at the same time in Japan and the US, (or at least as close as reasonably possible, I mean really). Now, good on them for doing that, it's really one of the only ways that anime can circumvent the erosion of sustainability in the US market which comes from fansubs devaluing licenses. However, this is an example of the embryonic stage of that, and is in no way going to be a final template for how to do this. I'm sure that American fans have become so used to consuming fansubs, that there are pirated copies on the internet still serving the exact same people that the Anime Channel is counting on watching through their own distribution channels (either cable or online). It's going to take an ongoing pattern of this type of distribution to make a real dent in this problem, and this title is not only just the beginning, but by nature of it being first on the learning curve, it's also a weak example.

I've been doing my best to catch High School of the Dead at 2am here in Tokyo, and therein lies problem#2. I don't know when the Anime Network airs this thing (I just don't feel like looking it up), but I am fairly certain that the first siring does not happen at 2am. Now for those of you thinking that the reason for a 2am time slot is because of content, it's really not. The same cable package that gets you AT-X gets you plenty of other content in the middle of the day which makes the boobie-jiggle and brain smashing factor of HSOTD look pretty tame (though that is a portion of the explanation for 2am). Sure it's not for kids and could be on late, but there is no way this property can compete with the more valuable programming that's on at 11. So it ends up at 2am because the top of the pyramid is going to be committed enough to follow it there, and everyone else is not necessarily a group that can be counted on. So, the HSFTD pull factor might be stronger in the US than Japan, and now we come back to the cultural divide, where the top anime programs in Japan only have a few which also occupy a major spot in the US market (DragonBall, One Piece, all that).

To talk about High School of the Dead itself, it's been a long time since I've gotten into an anime series enough to stay up to 2am, but this one looks worth it. Smashing zombies is fun, oppai are fun, and the mid to high level of Japanese youth angst isn't actually the driving force of the story. I am sure it's being censored to high-heaven on American TV so I would be interested to see how the DVDs end up. I don't like to buy DVDs in Japan, because they are just much more expensive, so whenever I see a Japanese movie I like, I check to see if there's a US release first. If there is, I just add it to my list of "pick it up when I go back home" and wait for my next trip over. However, if it is censored (Kill Bill anyone?) I'll go out of my way to get the original work of art to make my own decision about it, not deal with the version destroyed by the MPAA or FCC. That being said, I think the sexualized scenes in the series are a bit overboard, but at least I can make that decision for myself.

But this series is worth checking out if you like zombie flicks(there have already been references to Shaun of the Dead and Zombie Land) and some animation that is a real step above the rest in terms of quality. The only downside, is that the series uses a lot of flashbacks of the same footage to save money. But it's still totally worth it. Also, look what I found.

WTF Japan;
So sometimes Japanese TV works a bit differently in terms of commercial breaks. They run just about the whole show commercial free, and then run a 10-15 minute block of informer-style adverts. You can't really tell from the image, but this commercial is for premium WHALE BACON. Yep, get your premium whale meat delivered right to your door for a great price. Call now. So... who wants to see a review of a whale bacon omelet? OM NOM NOM

Finally, you can hear some more ranting on the Ninja Consultant Podcast.


1 comment:

Tasayu Tasnaphun said...

Yea so far the anime lives up to the manga quite nicely!