The Next Big Thing In Anime

I could not possibly be any less qualified in my own mind for writing this. Just so you know. Now, I’m sitting down with my second screwdriver of the evening and I’m going to write it anyway.

Yipeee

I don’t really consider myself an anime reviewer. I am a fan, but I think I came late to the party and I’m just weird. I love Isekai, slice of life, and anything with yokai or folklore and I’m a sucker for pretty art work. Given my husband’s description of me as a 12 year old boy – you’d think it would be Shonen Adventure. Well, I do like Mecha, does that count?

You know what my problem is with the anime big 3 or 4… they have like over a decade of episodes to watch just to catch up. They tend towards characters who shout a lot, which bothers me. I did love Full Metal Alchemist though. And I managed to watch over 100 episodes of Space Brothers. I loved that one. I use it as an example that I can watch over 100 episodes if the story grabs me.

Me, trying to think…

Compared to the majority of the anime bloggers whom I read I’m an ignoramous. Part of me wants to write the tight professional level article I am capable of, part of me says screw it I’ve had over 4 oz. of vodka and my teeny tiny audience LIKES my stream of consciousness posts. You want a post between now and midnight tonight (so I can stick with my daily intentions) you’re getting stream of thought.

I see two things coming in anime. Judging them as good or bad is immaterial, they will simply be different. In a way, they are one thing.

Now that big western based capitalist companies have entered the anime field, like Netflix we can expect some changes that will affect the entire industry.

There is a significant difference in the work ethic between Asia and Western countries. Workers in Asia work longer for less wages and are happy to actually get to be animating, or drawing mainly for a living. In the U.S. and Western countries, artists have higher expectations for better hours and pay. Although we’re just as desperate for work, honestly.

Because the market for anime is expanding, because players like Netflix are joining the game (I am just using them as an example, insert Amazon Prime or Hulu or whoever) these companies are extremely profit driven and like most Western companies can’t see past the next stockholders meeting.

I believe… we are going to see a lot more CGI. With CGI you pay a character creator to create lovely characters then plug them into the computer and now you don’t need an artist any more. I suspect you do need a computer nerd with specific skills but they are able to produce significantly more anime in a day than someone with a pencil and a drawing board.

I think it’s going to be break even between adaptations of popular manga/light novels, and new material. Again – you pay a writer or three to toss out a season and you’re done with them. Or like some TV series, you let writers submit stories and pick and choose.

Creatives don’t get treated well by Western companies, but no one gets treated well (IMHO) by the Asian companies. That’s not entirely true, I think in the long run the Asian treatment is better because you do expect to work for the company all your life and then retire with a decent parachute while the Western company will work you half as hard, then lay you off when you’re 40 because you make too much money, find a way to steal your insurance, 401K and retirement, and you won’t be able to get another job in your field at “your old age” and you end up at McDonalds.

That’s my impression, I could be wrong. About Asian companies, I know damn well that’s how companies treat you in the U.S.A.

I believe… we are going to see a lot more shorter series. Say one season, maaaaaaaaaaaaybe two or three and the story is finished. On to the next one. I think this because especially when it comes to Western customers, that’s what we are used to. And with so many people coming to anime as newbies, seeing something interesting, starting that series, that’s what they want. They don’t want a nibble at One Piece and then to see they’ve got over 100 episodes to get caught up. They want to hear Aggretsko is hilarious and see it has three seasons that they can binge in a week to catch up.

This doesn’t mean that some series will not grab their audience and run forever. The freaking Simpsons ran 32 seasons. As a fan of Aggretsuko I would be crazy happy if we got 32 seasons! But it will be series that are by anime standards fairly new that all these new comers will be able to get into easily, without the devotion required by over 100 episodes. The established fandoms of Gundam, Fate/Stay Night, One Piece and so on… don’t worry guys. You will probably get a few new devotees, but most of the newbies, I really think they are going to simply get into a new series they can binge in a week.

So, 1) More of the shorter series – one to three seasons, 2) More CGI, and one last one to make magic number 3…

I think we are going to start seeing urban fantasy anime. Think True Blood or something like the Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan book series or Patricia Briggs Mercedes Thompson series. I think that making adaptations of these would be cheaper in anime with CGI and they are really popular here as book series, but we haven’t seen much of them make it to TV series. I think it’s too expensive to make them. I think it might be cheaper to animate them and now that adult audiences are opening to the idea of animation for adults… also they appeal to a female audience. 60% of Internet users are women and looking at what is available on those big streamers, they are the target audience. Once western women get drawn into anime, they’ll discover all those romances, and then otome games and who knows where it will end!

Gasp! Yaoi?

*evil chuckle*

Four things. I forgot one I thought of earlier.

BECAUSE the big companies will be pouring money into CGI anime…with just a wee bit of artist and writer input (not that CGI artists are not real artists – don’t make me get too longwinded and tangenital here) you are going to see more crowdfunded independent artist drawn anime.

Something I’ve noticed because my husband watchs TONS of movies and TV series streaming – is that more and more and more fun, irreverent, unfinanciable quirky independent made movies (of wildly varying quality) are coming up available to stream on oddball places he frequents like Tubi.tv. As the big companies swallow up anime, they’ll be spitting out those indigestible kooky artists who go find their audience on crowdsource websites and put out their own damn hand drawn anime fuck you very much. Like the Indie movies my hubby loves, they’ll be of varying quality…but have their own special appeal and their own audience and thanks to the miracle of modern electonics and Internet and all that, they can be directly funded by their fans. Fuck you big corp.

Thanks for putting up with me. Blessedbe.

11 comments

  1. You make some interesting predictions here. I can’t say I’m looking forward to all the likely changes we’ll see in the anime industry as a result of this sort of merging between West and East. Like you, I’m concerned about the western corporate culture and the effect it might have on creativity. Some of my favorite anime series are ones that take massive risks on strange characters and stories and unusual settings, the sort that big western publishers don’t seem to like very much. Then again, I expect we’ll still be getting at least a few of those series every season.

    More independent work is always welcome too. I feel the same way about the game industry — AAA games can still be really impressive, but those developers and publishers tend towards safe material and don’t like to take risks from what I can tell, whereas the real creativity comes out of the indie devs. They don’t always produce hits, but even the misses are sometimes at least interesting.

    And don’t worry about your skills regarding writing about anime. I don’t have the benefit of that 4 oz of liquor to help my writing along anymore but I just do my best. It’s all about getting your style down, though admittedly I don’t know the first thing about “professional” blogging (SEO and all that.) Apparently I ramble way too much and go off on too many stupid tangents and silly parentheticals. Oh well!

    1. I’ve made my personal decision that I’m not a pro, I have no desire to be a pro, so I can ramble and babble and do whatever I want on this blog. You’re welcome to hop on the bandwagon 😉

      Yes, one thing that the Internet has given us is far more opportunity for indie developers of everything creative and that is, to me, one of the fantastic wonders of this age. I love it. I really do. No more gatekeepers. No more publishers or anyone else can say, well this won’t be profitable or might be a little controversial, so we aren’t going to fund you and that’s the end of that. NO Mister, I’m just going to go publish it on my blog then, or as a Kindle self published book, or on an Indie gaming platform, or I’ll get it crowd funded and put it out on the Internet… I really love that more than I think I can express in words. And it gives me hope. Because those big profit mongers – when they see this or that has a following and it’s making money – then they’ll want to either buy it or put out an imitation and it’s just more for us consumers and for the creatives. Yay!

  2. One cost-cutting measure that’s fairly common now in the industry is to contract out the animation of background / minor in-between scenes. If you pay attention to the quick cuts inbetween action or important scenes, you may notice a distinct difference in quality, which is often a sign of work that was contracted out. Or so I’ve read anyways, there was an article on Sora News that talked about it.

    And it seems that anime is becoming more popular across all forms of media. From games to shows to other art forms, like posters or what have you. There’s an almost contagious appeal to the anime art style. So I feel like its not just big players getting into it. Many indie games, artists, and so on are doing the same, which makes me think it’s more that everyone is slowly jumping on board.

    It was strange at first for me to see anime stylized girls plastered on trains, or regular posters (ex. “Wash your hands!” poster in the washroom). It’s fairly normalized beyond just the actual anime. I don’t know if it’ll go that far in the West, but at the very least it’s headed that way on the Internet as a whole.

    When I started watching anime in ~2013, I don’t remember seeing much of it on the Internet. Closest was probably just pictures of anime girls on certain YouTube songs. But now, I feel like it’s impossible to go without seeing a picture or gif somewhere.

    1. I remember back around 2000 when I started surfing around for anime, curious because of exposure through some friends, and ended up subscribing to Crunchyroll (which started in 2006) so I could have a nice, legal, safe place to watch anime. Up until then, you are so right, you never saw it here in the States. Now, well, I’ll say that just out and about yes, here in Las Vegas which has a very diverse population and a lot of ties to Asia, you do see anime stuff here and there. In other places I’ved lived, there wasn’t a trace of it anywhere, but it could have changed. But for people who don’t go looking for the unusual, that trailer on Netflix may be their first exposure ever and so that’s where they’ll start. Maybe they’ll go past that and end up with subscriptions to CR, Funi, and everything else like I suspect most of us do, and others will just plod along and take what Netflix gives them. It’s going to be interesting to watch 😀

      Thanks for commenting!

  3. Well, I guess you proved you’re entirely qualified to write this post. Those are some great observations. My personal experience is not the same as other readers. I have yet to see anime influence leak out of the screen like Yomu but I look forward to it!

    1. *blush blush blush* I bow my humble novice head to thee great anime blogger person! For you are one of the first anime bloggers I ever read and were kind of my gateway drug to this whole community. I can never thank you enough. And for you to say I’m qualified. Well, picture tears of gratitude running down my face. Let’s pretend I can pretty cry. *chuckle*

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