Thursday, October 28, 2010

In Brazil; The rising Yen's effect on manga and anime

How America is still killing the anime business, but this time it's not your fault.

Ok, take a good look at this:

You see that? That’s the reason that I wasn’t too sad to leave Tokyo, but more importantly, that’s also the reason that this is the wrong time for animation producers in Japan to “see the light” in terms of using other markets as a source of revenue (and thusly, as something they’d ever care about regarding feedback and other market metrics).

For anyone who doesn’t know what that is (as if anyone at all is reading this), that is the long sad decline of the exchange rate of JPY to USD (if you don’t know what JPY and USD are, then just get off the internet... no seriously get off and go eat paste or something).

Now it has been established that domestic Japanese market conditions will (eventually) have studios and publishers poised to see the light in terms of exploiting other markets outside Japan for their IP. The various other aspects outside of the Japanese population curve however, have conspired to make this prospect for North America not only unattractive but a downright Uber Greek Tragedy. See, just in time for Japanese companies to realize that to keep revenues at current levels, they need to tap the U.S. market, U.S. money becomes essentially worthless in Japan (and the rest of the world for that matter).

So what can we do? Well what can you do...?

Coming back to America I had to just have a seizure walking around looking at how cheap all the crap in our stores is. A folding chair, which cost me $40 in Tokyo, was $7.98 at an office supply store in upstate New York; 1 table fan was $14.95 at Walmart rather than the same thing at Tokyo’s Bic Camera which sold for $70... and so on. So the only thing you can really do, is as a country, stop buying cheap Chinese crap. ...yeah, I didn’t think so. So as long as China won’t raise it’s currency, as long as the U.S. has to follow China in order to keep Wal-Mart and the other 90% of retail consumer goods in business, and as long as Japan remains insulated and protects their economy (which will keep the Yen exactly where it is)... then you, the American anime fan, have just been demoted to the same level of contribution as Brazil. Although last time I checked the USD was still about 10 JPY ahead of the Brazilian Real when you adjust for the factor of 100 (dollars vs cents). And while both are losing out to the serious currency issues which seem to never want to stop for the yen, it's not really a lot of difference when you look at it in terms of being able to contribute in the market for IP.

Personally, I think it's going to get much worse, and my own pick based on nothing other than me pulling numbers out of thin air is that it's going to go down to 72 JPY per USD before it gets better on any significant level.