09
Sep
10

A Speculation About The State of the Animation Industry in 2010: Animation Studio, Franchise, and Voice Actor/Actress Power [Orange Farm Archive]

Let’s dance.

I use this post to re-examine and re-affirm my perspective on the structure of the anime industry today.  This is quite possible the longest post I’ve ever written and is a must read for regular visitors to my blog, new and old.  Of course, this is written and presented by Komidol.

You should listen to your blogger, Komidol the wise!

Prologue

I talk about animation studio’s a lot on the blog a lot in my posts, so I thought I’d write this post explaining why I feel it’s important to examine anime-related institutions in a trend.  Desufag has brought in a lot of new readers lately and I haven’t been posting as often, so I feel this might be a good way to re-introduce myself to the new readers at The Orange Farm.  Please consider this thanks for the ever so close 200,000 views to my page and readers who took even a minute to read what I wrote and take it to heart.

I intend to make this a very long drawn out post where I can distinguish pride in my blogging style.  At some point I considered making this a series of posts, as it could easily span a week or two weeks of entries, but I want to easily reference this post in the future.  So then, let me discuss what I’ll be covering in this post.  Whether you’ve only been following along for the ride in the last year or less or a long time reader (Patches! Thank you for all your feedback!), you may take an interest in learning about just who is writing what you’re reading!

Please listen!

Skeleton/Index

-A minor history of myself as an anime writer and how I came to start blogging.  I find this is necessary because this post is largely reflective of what I write about on a regular basis and we have a lot of new readers lately.  I say brief, because detail of myself is available on the About the Orange Farm and a more outdated description of myself is present on my about-me page.

-Description of what this blog, The Orange Farm, covers.  What topics we delve into here, namely what is inside the “Otaku-Sphere” and largely the “Anime-Sphere” on the English-speaking internet.

-The real topic of this post, the trend of Animation Studio’s, source material and Otaku-related franchises.  This includes their associated staff, whether that be VA’s, directors, or writers.

-The reactions of the fanbase from my perspective, including the enjoyment of doujin works.  This includes a case study of popular reaction.

-A note about the best hentai ever.

This ladies and gentlemen, is what I blog about and have been blogging about for two years.

My ascension into blogger-dom was all too sudden….

About the Author

It all started as part of my ultimate procrastination plan, I started a blog in October 2008 with an itching need to write my thoughts about the end of Code Geass and it’s fanbases reactions.  No matter who you were in the anime community, you watched Code Geass and had an opinion about it.  When Code Geass finished I had been seriously watching anime a total of 8 years, and I have now followed the anime-sphere (I don’t include my younger days of watching dubs on Toonami or Adult Swim before I had achieved rational thought yet) for over a decade.  I have dedicated some time (though not much) to watching anime from before this time (from the 1990’s, and very few from the 1980’s), but I am un-ashamedly a member of the 2000-anime generation.  In this time I have seen over 100 series.  Realistically, I have probably seen around 200-300 anime, and I’m quite picky over anime quality; most of the people I associate with have probably watched over five hundred anime and watch 2-3 more anime a season than me as I usually drop those crappy low-production harem-high school-romance-comedy each season.  Nonetheless, I feel perfectly qualified as an expert on the subject of Japanese animation.

We all have opinions on the industry in post-2000 compared to it’s 90’s counterparts, but that’s another long discussion for another time.  I blog about what’s come out since 2008 and what continues to come out in 2010.  While 90’s anime is a very good resource for watching the trend of anime in the last decade, I try not to go too far past the Kyoto Animation era, out of respect for my readers.  That is, the industry as it is now – one that is led and was revived by Kyoto Animation and the other current top animation production studios.  When I discuss the “anime industry”, I am generally referring to the current standards established in 2000-2002 for anime, and the generation created by The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya in 2006.

Acknowledge you are part of something.

Current Generation Anime

Let’s face it, there’s a lot of shit out there today.  Among those who watched anime before the 90s, traded anime on VHS before the digital age really took off, and loved the anime of the 80’s and 90’s, most will say the generation of the aforementioned 2000-era has no idea what “good anime” really is and are spoiled by digital animation.  It’s fine to those people to skip over my blog, I’m not out to impress anybody, but keep in mind I do try to keep the opinion of those people in mind for when I write.  The opinion of people who have been following anime that long, who know of that era, and what it means to the era of anime-viewers today is important to me.  That being said, I am of the current generation and go by this generation’s standards.  The bar was set in early 2000 and was raised in 2006 for what is “watchable”.  It is the people who are of similar generation or newer that I try to write for.  The best example that comes to mind to show the difference in what is considered quality by the old and new generation off the top of my head is Angel Beats.  Angel Beats was widely regarded by the community to have poor direction, messy dialogue, good animation, and subpar content amongst the English-Speaking anime community.  In 2001 I have no doubt Angel Beats would be regarded as one of the best must-see animes available on the market.  This is not true today.

Tuning the guitar before performance…

Viewer Position in Anime Production

In general I like to think that viewers have become slightly more intelligent weaving through the large mass- production animes (skipping over crap such as Mayoi Neko Overrun), and become more critical of anime as a whole.  I also am aware that many believe it is the complete opposite where waves of moe-fans are brainwashed, give anime a bad name, and watch nothing but endless crap each season.  I’m sure someone reading this post is smiling, thinking this is all one epic troll – “Anime of this generation, since Haruhi?”  “Viewers of anime more intelligent than in the past?” – How could such a thing be true?  When I consider my reader base I like to give these people the credit of intelligence (They are afterall reading my blog, Gahahah!) and what fans of animation “should” be.  Not those brainwashed people just sucking onto vanitistic pretty pictures, but appreciating anime as an art form in all it’s aspects – audio, video, direction, editing, and presentation.  These are the people I refer to as “anime fans”, and who I consider my readership.  I don’t consider that guy exclusively watching bleach/one piece/naruto episode 258 (no offense to those of you who have the guilty pleasure!), nor do I consider the people exclusively watching anime in altered forms (generally, here I mean those who watch animes dubbed in other languages or censored in anyway).

Durr i liek naruto i love anime

On the other side of the scale, I also don’t often consider those who are natively Japanese and watching anime on different standards in the comfort of their homes my readership.  I will also occasionally talk about “fan-subbers” – the people bringing Japanese to English.  They play a very critical role in what the English-exclusive-speaking anime fans watch and discuss and thus are a fundamental part of what I consider my “sphere” including my co-viewers of analyzing animated material from glorious Nippon.  Within all these constraints exists a (perhaps jaded) ~25,000 viewers of animated material from Japan understanding it in English on the same standards in which I do.  Of those 25,000 viewers I’d say at least 3,000 have the experience with Japanese animation and dedication to continue viewing each season and want to further their experience within the “community” which largely exists online and wish to do so in a semi-intellectual fashion.  I consider myself one of these people and seek aforementioned for my reader base.

I would also consider a large part of the animeblogger.net writers within this sphere, and thank them for largely supplementing and building the anime-blogging community (especially those of you translating works from Japanese to English), posting on a regular basis, and their general support.

Reader Expectations

Now, having established the term “anime industry”, who I am (Komidol’s the name, by the way.  It’s up there on the URL and after each post I write), who I consider to be “anime fans”, members of the “anime-sphere”, the current “generation” of anime viewers, my readership, and my fellow members in the anime community (bloggers, subbers, or otherwise) – I can begin to talk about the industry in how it relates to the aforementioned people itself.  I would also like to note I often write about the extension of the anime-sphere and anime-style to include the “otaku-sphere”.  This would include any doujinshi (fan work, whether it be art, music, or game material) that follows an anime style and the possible general interest of the aforementioned people.  This also includes anyone who severely has an anime style influence in their works to the point where any anime fan would ideally be interested in the work.  Most notably on this blog I go to visual novels, but there are many examples of this in both fan work, merchandise, and otherwise.

Happy Cirno day, guys~ 9/9

Author Motivation

Much of what I write is a monologue to myself as if I am talking those who are producing the work and showing it to me.  And before proceeding, I must say I am largely thankful to those who produce any material inside of the “otaku-sphere” – anime, doujinshi, games, music, blogging, or otherwise.  That being said as an intellectual with good taste and experience in this generation I try to write and guide others to analysis and discussion of either overlooked, entertaining, or original work.  To a degree all works are made to produce a profit but I do not focus on those works exclusively looking for profit and try to speculate as to the intentions of the staff creating content and/or art.

This report is an ideological structure look into animation in the field, but it is what I offer to my readers.  I recognize in writing a public blog that people are reading what I am writing, and I should (like the producers of Japanese animation and it’s source material) write things that both appeal to readers and what I want to personally create.  I also like to reap the rewards of blogging on the internet in that responses are very quick and I get to first hand view the initial reactions of the community and their speculations throughout a work to it’s end.  I even get to look at what I wrote two years down the line.  Damn, the internet is great.

Studios

I’m glad I could establish this context before getting to the topic of this post.  If you read all of it, I’m incredibly flattered.  Now, I will begin my structural breakdown of the current actors in the anime industry.  I think the most broad and easiest way to begin this work is analyzing animation studios, source material and franchises – then working my way down to animation studio staff (directors, writers, and the voice actors and actresses who bring the media to life).

Could go anyway from here.

Kyoto Animation

Notable Animes: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Air, Kanon, Clannad, Clannad ~After Story~, Lucky Star, K-ON, K-ON!!

Like America when it invaded Iraq against the wishes of the UN in 2003, Kyoto Animation lost it’s ability as a superpower in animation in 2009 with Haruhi Season II.  With it’s original production of Air it stole the spotlight from Toei and other competitor studios and became a rookie with potential.  That potential exploded in 2006 with the original release of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya in a lacking industry, and was followed up by works like Kanon, Lucky Star, as well as Clannad and it’s sequel.  Many believe it’s power dropped in the era of Code Geass to Sunrise while fans overly-eagerly awaited the troll results of Haruhi Season II.  Since then the company has revived it’s style with the Haruhi Movie and K-ON! in Japan but in the English-speaking Otaku-sphere the company has been seen as stagnating with K-ON!! unable to get around it’s cross of “Kyon-kun, denwa.”  None the less, this company enjoys more revenue than any other animation studio currently and is responsible for revitalizing the industry in 2006.  It is still widely regarded by most (when considering sales and popularity) as the #1 animation studio.

Doin’ whatever we want.

Shaft

Notable Animes: Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Bakemonogatari, Dance in the Vampire Bund, Pani Poni Dash

The best challenger to Kyoto Animation with their release of Bakemonogatari I feel lies in the hands of Shaft.  In recent seasons they’ve managed to turn their impeccable style into something new and refreshing.  However, many believe this is Shaft’s high point as it will not be able to exceed certain boundaries with it’s niche fanbase and style.  The answer only lies in how they produce their next -gatari work, but Shaft has grown very slow and stable over time.  To continue the analogy above, Shaft is very much the China of animation today.

Don’t believe in yourself, believe in me, who believes in you!

Gainax

Notable Animes: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Furi Kuri, Tenga Toppa Gurren Lagann, Hanamaru Youchien, GunBuster

The old veteran flagship of stable animation studios has recently proven itself able to produce any kind of work with the release of Hanamaru Youchien and still able to produce it’s old flare with the movie releases of TTGL.  Being a flagship of animation since the 90s, we can honestly conclude Gainax has the best chance of surviving an industry crash.  Russia is pulling through and beginning to wake up on the international field and so is Gainax.  They’re recognizing what makes them truly great and bringing it to new fields.  Gainax also does a lot of the key animation for many animes (they even did quite a bit for Angel Beats!, little known fact), and is much of an over looker of everyone in the anime industry.

Sunrise

Notable Animes – Mobile Suit Gundam, Code Geass

Able to steal the spotlight faster and bring drama to new levels faster than the Middle East, Sunrise is another major competitor in the animation field.  The Holy Grail of Gundam, like oil, will always be a stable resource for this part of the world, and Code Geass is like one giant ICBM ready to be shot at London.  The only problem this studio faces is it’s ability to be consistent, otherwise it may of overtaken it’s rival veterans ages ago

J.C. Staff HQ

CEO> Alright, let’s hear a new, refreshing idea.  Something we haven’t heard before.

Smith> I got a great idea boss…it’s about an attractive highschool girl…

CEO> What’s the premise of the story?

Smith> Okay, well she’s a slim flatchested girl who’s tsundere..

CEO> Smith, I thought I told you I wanted something new…

Smith> No, no, ready?  She punches things…

CEO> I’m not seeing much of a difference!

Smith> She has gloves…that are cats!

Takashi> She could have a loli friend, too!

Jimmy> We could hire the cast of To Aru Kagaku no Railgun!

Reedman> We could get Rie Kugimiya to star as the main role!

CEO> Hotdamn Smith, you’ve done it again!  I’m giving you a raise!  Let’s put this plan into action!

J.C Staff

Notable Animes ToraDora, Shakugan No Shana, Zero no Tsukaima, To Aru series, Nodame.

J.C. Staff is as messy as the European Union.  The only thing uniting this territory is it’s monopolization over Rie Kugimiya and flat-chested tsundere female roles.  It’s stagnant and consistent but hasn’t produced anything amazing and continues it’s lack of creativity in multiple seasons of similar works over and over again.  Sure, it’s stable, but is it really doing anything?  Will Kyoto Animation’s style stagnate in the same way J.C. Staff’s has been since the first season of Shakugan no Shana until now?

Small Studios

A-1 Pictures

Notable Animes: So-Ra-No-Wo-To, Working!, Kannagi

The uprising Brazil continues to take the best of other leaders in the animation industry and adopt it for it’s own use.  Without a doubt, it’s three aforementioned animes were contenders for the best of their season, but can A-1 ever break away from it’s close-knit source material productions and create something that defines their animes (like Kyoto Animation, Gainax, and Shaft have all done)?  A new player on the field, but nonetheless an important mention.  Their staff has done a good job in recent seasons but they’ll need something that can push them over the top.  As a side note, I try to watch what they make every season, and my primary interest in a new major player solely relies on this studio.

Property of J.C. Staff

Synergy SP

Notable Animes: Hayate the Combat Butler (Season I), Major

Synergy is a hard worker much like India but only produces good works from time to time.  It’s primary role as an animation assistant has made it a sort of assistant to other major animation studios and it’s best franchise even got stolen by J.C. Staff.  Some business work is going to need to be done here to bring them into the field as a major studio.

PA Works

Notable Animes: Canaan, Angel Beats

You can’t count out a country able to produce such high quality export as Japan, and you certainly couldn’t count out such beautiful animation designers as the ones working at P.A. Works.  They’ve landed two interesting works; now if only they could get their direction together, they might be a contender for the next best studio, failing two major opportunities thus far.  Unfortunately lack of experience faults this studio to no end.

Being modest may work for your character design, but not for your company!

Seven Arcs

Notable Animes: Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A’s, Inukami

Though often not regarded due to it’s large counterparts, my “Ukraine” – Seven Arcs has created some original material and done well with the Nanoha franchise.  What they can do from here remains to be seen.

Keep your company morale up!

Bones

Notable Animes: Ouran Highschool Host Club, Darker than Black, Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Struggling to survive but still managing to cling to life off some above-average works, Bones like Greece could restore itself if it fixes it’s economy.  Low budget’s will bring you a subpar staff, you know.

This is what you wanted right!?

AIC

Notable Animes: Amagami SS, Mayoi Neko Overrun, Strike Witches Season II, Tenchi Muyo, Blue Gender

Consisting of more animes with more problems, AFRICA INTERACTIVE CORPORATION (notrly) was in the process of creating their best work since Blue Gender, Amagami SS, when they lost all respect for their destruction of the Strike Witches franchise.  They’ve been active recently but ultimately the cross of Mayoi Neko Overrun (what I commonly refer to as the stereotypical worst anime of the era) will keep me from ever respecting them.  I can’t think of an animation studio more in it “for the money” and I hate the most.  They had a lot more respect from me 10-15 years ago and will likely never recover from the tragedies that have stricken them.

Of course there are hundreds of other studios and third world countries to talk about, but I’m assuming you’ll all grant me diplomatic immunity to discussing Production IG, Madhouse, Perriot, Studio Deen and Toei?

Source Material

One of the most controversial responses I get on the blog is “don’t blame the animation studio for bad content”.  A recent example of this might be how I talk negatively about High School of the Dead and Madhouse for the gratuitous, and in my strong opinion, unneeded amount of fan service in the show.  Most other bloggers might react to that by saying “It’s not Madhouses’s fault, they are just following the source material, like a good animation studio should.”  Others say the lead character designer is a former hentai artist and I was presented the knowledge of these things upon watching the show, so the direction of the animation and content of source material is no surprise nor should it be criticized for being what it is.

It doesn’t exist.  There was just that Spanish fandub.

I refute these arguments to the absolute highest degree.  When an animation studio creates an anime, they are creating an entirely new work with the production and addition of an entire audio cast and broadcast over an entire new media.  They are to accordingly make it as entertaining as it can be.  Whether this lives up to the source material (in the case of Highschool of the Dead) and the original content is un-entertaining in anime form or they do not live up to the source material adequately in general is not the fault of the viewer.  Some may see that as a selfish or narrow-minded view of a work.  I, Komidol, believe my time is very valuable and regardless of the source material believe if the content of a work is not entertaining it is the fault of the producers who want to market it to me.  If I find the source material more entertaining, I will go to the source material to enjoy that interpretation of the work.  If I find the content of the anime is subpar, even without having seen the original work, I will relentlessly criticize the work I saw.

It..tt..doesn’t…exist…

This is not to say source material is unimportant in the structure of the otaku-sphere.  I have posted about Type-Moon many times but rarely mention anime adaptations of their visual novels and normally simply post on their visual novels.  It is an animation studio’s fault for not living up to the original work.  If I didn’t view the original work or would not like it, such in the case of Highschool of The Dead, the animation studio still did not produce an enjoyable work (thought not necessarily artistically valuable, we are still in the realm of opinion, which constitutes half my opinion), thus it is still un-entertaining.

More importantly, a trend forms with most animation studios.  Regardless of the source material an animation studio usually gives it’s own touch to an anime which is why I start by examining them.  However, in some cases the source material (usually manga) outweighs that of the animation (which is why I say I operate within the Otaku-sphere, and not simply an anime-sphere).  Two strong cases of sources that I frequently review on the blog are Key and Type-Moon.  Both produce visual novels of a much higher complexity than their animes could ever hope to be.  I consider franchises on the same level as studios as they often have the same effect on the fanbase.

Like Studios, these institutions have a lot of power in the Otaku-sphere.  I will be primarily be focusing on visual novel developers.

Developers

うさぎーちゃん。。。

Key

Franchises/Visual Novels: Air, Kanon, One, Planetarian, Clannad(Including Tomoyo After), Little Busters! (Including Exstasy, & Kudo Wafter!), Angel Beats
English Localization: Multiple
Primary Staff
: Jun Maeda, Na-Ga
Associated Animes
: Air, Kanon, Clannad, Clannad ~After Story~ [Kyoto Animation], Angel Beats (PA. Works)
Associated Movies:
Air, Kanon (Toei)
Associated Doujinshi Games: Eternal Fighter Zero, Tomoyo Fighter Perfect

Key is a major player in the Otaku-sphere.  Upon the release of Kudo Wafter just last month Akihabara was completely full of pictures of just Kudrayvka, the main character, and Clannad frequently places in the “top 10” best games ever lists in Japan quite often since it’s release.  While Angel Beats could largely be considered a sub-par project, Maeda’s ability to build up a story is unrivaled.  My only regret is we rarely are rewarded without a happy ending but Key’s style has yet to stagnate.  It’s power in the Otaku-sphere rivals that of every animation studio and it’s partnership with KyoAni brought more success and sales to both companies than any single entertainment company in recent years.  Clannad, in both game and anime is widely respected as one of the most involving and necessary visual novels to play in Japan.

That’s like your opinion, and this…is my opinion…

Type Moon

Franchises/Visual Novels: Fate/Stay Night (Including Fate/Hollow Atraxia, & Fate/Zero), Kara no Kyoukai, Tsukihime (Including Kaghetsu Tohya, Witch on the Holy Night and Melty Blood)
English Localization: Mirror Moon
Primary Staff:
Kinoko Nasu, Takashi Takeuchi
Associated Animes: Fate/Stay Night, (non-existant) Tsukihime, Canaan

Associated Movies
: Fate/Stay Night, Kara no Kyoukai (ufotable)
Associated Games
:
Melty Blood, Fate/Unlimited Codes, Fate/Tiger Colloseum
Associate Doujinshi Games: Battle Moon Wars, Crucis Fatal/Fake.

The creator of Nasuverse and entry-level visual novels for many in the English-speaking Otakusphere continues to hold a special place for all members of the visual novel community.  On top of that, Melty Blood enjoys a healthy sale in Japanese arcades.  One way or another, Type-Moon has a way of pulling an otaku into the entire world that is Nasuverse.  Through fighting games, sound amounts of doujinshi, visual novels, anime, or otherwise – Type Moon will find it’s way to you.  Covering more aspects of Otakudom than I ever thought possible, I have a high respect for TypeMoon’s character design and limitless potential.  I myself enjoy an MBA in Nasuology.

20+ Years in eroge and going strong!

Alicesoft

Franchises/Visual Novels: Rance Series, Big Bang Age
English Localization: Yandere Translations, Aroduc-Seiha
Associate Doujinshi Games: Big Bang Beat

A perfect example of power in the Otakusphere without the use of an anime, Alicesoft recently enjoyed it’s 20th year anniversary.  Being masters of eroge and setting up for their release of Daiteikoku, Alicesoft is another company that could withstand the crash of the Anime Industry and has a tremendous effect on the Otakusphere.

Edit: Turns out they actually made quite a few animes, but I believe my point still stands.  They are known more for their visual novels and do not rely on anime for their main revenue.

Individuals

Last off we need to examine major players as individuals.  Of course we consider CEOs and writers like Jun Maeda and Kinoko Nasu, but there lies a true power in voice acting as well.  Two exemplary actors that fits this description are listed as:

Best DFC Tsundere?

Rie Kugimiya

Main Affiliation: J.C. Staff

Probably the best example I can bring to mind.  Quite frankly, every loli tsundere role by J.C. Staff has been done by Rie Kugimiya.  Taiga, Shana, Louise are all one in the same when you consider Rie Kugimiya as their voice actress.  The biggest example of how an individual can move the field is how J.C. Staff acquired Synergy’s Hayate the Combat Butler after she acted as a main tsundere loli heroine role.  However, in this case, the individual is still controlled by the company.

Jun Fukuyama

Main Affiliation: Dear God this man has done everything.

A more perfect example of an individual moving a field.  People could not help but draw similarities when he played the role of Kraft Lawrence in Spice and Wolf and Lelouch in Code Geass at the same time.  Having Jun Fukuyama as a lead helped guarantee Spice & Wolf’s success while Code Geass was between seasons.

Case Study

And thus we have all the major actors in the Otaku-sphere as we know it with relevant examples as to each’s success.  As I peered at our links to the right, some of you might wonder why I still have International Saimoe still there even though I acknowledged it to be the stereotype of popularity-decides the vote bullshit competition.  Well, in truth I like it there for that very reason.  The top 16 characters is a great way to examine the flow of popularity and trend in the anime industry today.  International Saimoe Top 16 can really prove the dominance and popularity of studios in what viewers desire.

After mustering up some 5,000 words I didn’t have the heart in me to go make a real pie chart of the subject.

I want to take this time now to examine International Saimoe as a good way for measuring power among the masses to examine studio, franchise, and individual potential.  My proof comes the fact that we can simply reorganize the Top 16 contestants list from the above structure…

Kagami, Azusa, Mio, Yuki, Yui, Haruhi- KyoAni

Tomoyo, Kyou – KyoAni and Key

Taiga, Nagi, Shana – Rie Kugimiya / J.C. Staff

Hitagi, Nadeko – Shaft

Hinagiku, Mikoto – J.C. Staff

Saber – TypeMoon

Even if it is unlikely that characters like Saber or Hitagi could come to the top 16 of this competition, the sway and power of the animation studio’s, individuals, and franchise make it so.

The structure of the actors in the primary anime field today lies within the above powers because we can see their presence, as a group, in popular entertainment (even in this one mere example).  It is the job and affirmation of myself (and I would hope, most bloggers), to guide the viewing community with an experienced hand and follow the trend of those shaping the animation media field today intellectually, with appropriate coverage of those in and around it.

I also feel it is the responsibility of the actors to not crash the anime-media industry given they currently have the power to stabilize and revitalize it with original ideas and concepts along with the intelligent selection, appreciation, and feedback of the viewers and customers.

“feedback of the viewers and customers” IE: Bloggers and their readers.

よかい!

There is a power in facilitating a blog and structuring towards a specific readership and I hope I fulfill those duties to all of you accordingly.  The power lies not only within the aforementioned actors but ourselves to create a field of animation we want to shape into the new decade.  To conclude this statement and study, I must certainly mention (as I briefly touched on in the visual novel development section) doujinshi.  I consider the community and our discussion important, but doujinshi brings that appreciation to a new level.  It is the epitome of speaking through action, so I will commit myself to informing people of more fan-material and immerse myself within it in order to get closer to what I want out of our little sub-section of art in humanity to be.  This of course includes my coverage (when possible, it’s been difficult lately) of Comiket and doujin works on the blog by myself and my co-authors alongside mainstream content.  But the most important thing is always the feedback we get from you and those who play/read/listen to mainstream content and doujinshi.  This is my way of paying back my community – please do your best to find yours.

:3, done talking yet?

And as promised by my skeleton, before concluding these thoughts – I thought I’d kill my integrity a little bit and bring up chuchu’s adaptation of Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke.  I never heard of the studio before, and their content is extensively and singularly the aforementioned work (an adaptation from a series of three visual novels) but I think this studio has some serious potential.  I’ve never seen eroge of any form animated so well and I’m looking forward to their sequels.

You can’t say that j-just all of a sudden…

I’m really looking forward to them.

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12 Responses to “A Speculation About The State of the Animation Industry in 2010: Animation Studio, Franchise, and Voice Actor/Actress Power [Orange Farm Archive]”


  1. 1 komidol
    September 9, 2010 at 2:06 AM

    Man that blip about Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke really should of been another post, but I simply couldn’t resist.

    Anyway, I’m really looking forward to the feedback about this post. I spent 10 hours over the course of 2 days researching and constructing it, so I’m really looking forward to starting a massive general discussion about the anime industry today.

    Please bring any thoughts to the table and review the entire work before replying!

  2. 3 komidol
    September 9, 2010 at 2:26 AM

    Happy Cirno day by the way, guys. 9/9

  3. September 9, 2010 at 3:32 AM

    Overall good read, was interesting to see your thoughts on ANIMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

    some things i’d like to point out

    There’s actually like 8 visual novels (iirc) in the sono hanabira series, some featuring the same characters from previous VNs or featuring completely new couples.

    Also alicesoft needs a huge ETC, for mentionable novels, they made so many notable VNs its hard to really keep track.

  4. 5 komidol
    September 9, 2010 at 4:17 AM

    Like I stated much earlier there is a big focus on this article to the (semi-exclusive) English-speaking Otaku-sphere. Meaning, those fans are severely limited in the works of Alice Soft to their English translation base (all of two to my knowledge). I did however note they’re not just popular for the widely known Sengoku Rance, but the entire Rance series, which started not too much later than my very birth.

    For those it’s important to, they’ve been around a while and have an effect here. I advise anyone who hasn’t played Sengoku Rance to read my review in the eroge category of the drop down bar and take a look at it. It’s a very fun adult-oriented eroge. Warning though: you definitely won’t talk to anyone for two weeks if you play it.

  5. September 9, 2010 at 4:40 AM

    I have some things to point out…

    1. JC Staff has another, less high-profile stream of income in the form of series like Aoi Hana, Nodame Cantabile, and Hatsukoi Limited (not to mention, the unkillable Slayers franchise). True, they’re raking in buckets of cash from the series you mentioned, but it’s gonna be what they spend it on that determines where they go from here.

    2. …which leads me to Bones. You forgot to mention Fullmetal Alchemist (also starring Rie Kugimiya). Soul Eater, Xam’d, and Eureka Seven (as well as Sword of the Stranger), indicate that they have money to burn, but seem to refuse to make things with mainstream appeal (in this case, Heroman was a particularly bad move for them, since it looks like it cost a fortune, but is complete and utter crap).

    3. I find it interesting that you single out only two actors, but leave walking phenom Hirano Aya and accomplished singer Yui Horie out of the equation. Maybe because Fukuyama and Kugimiya carve out a space for themselves that seems to define the roles they get, but to ignore Haruhi/Konata/MISA AMANE any agency within the industry is silly. SHE HAS HER OWN REALITY TV SHOW.

    4. You COMPLETELY ignored Studio Pierrot, worth mentioning because they PRINT money and then have done VERY LITTLE with it. All those Naruto and Bleach episodes need to pay off at some point…

    5. Lastly, while they kind of blew it with the Eden of the East movies, Production IG has been around forever and fairly consistent (Kimi ni Todoke seemed well recieved). I’m not sure they’re not worthy of mention (but they’d need something higher profile to really be a “force”).

    As I look back on what I’ve written, your logic seems to come out of the woodwork a touch, but I wonder if “fan pandering” as a focus is like the tail wagging the dog. It makes sense to argue that otaku drive industry sales, but I wonder if Haruhi S2 has fooled you (and everyone else) into thinking that we get to choose the direction of the industry. I personally wonder whether part of the trolling and the strange abstraction of Angel Beats! point to a shifting of the ground at some level. Notice that a good number of the “high school” shows aren’t really about high school (HSoTD, Kaichou-wa Maid-sama [surprisingly little school life when it comes down to it], Saki, The World God Only Knows)? I realize some of this is a little thin, but I felt it worth mentioning that it’s possible that change might come from a different direction.

  6. 7 komidol
    September 9, 2010 at 9:07 AM

    Come on Patches, the work was long enough. I’m not going to name every single major voice actor, and I was making a point with how individuals like Rie Kugimiya actually effected their animation studio. Of course, Aya Hirano leads in Lucky Star and Haruhi but she didn’t do anything that wound up effecting how the studio went about business (like Rie Kugimiya’s effect on starring as Nagi, and Hayate winding up in J.C. staffs hands.) And Yui Horie…she’s done a lot of questionable things, I didn’t find her a fitting example (especially when you consider the rumours about what she did to get the main starring role in Kanon).

    I know you’re an avid J.C staff fan, but that studio is fucking huge. I’ve had about a dozen people come up to me in the last few hours and say along the lines of “you didn’t mention series xxx for studio yyy”. The point of those animes there was just to give you an idea of what the studio did, and what they’re famous for. When I think J.C. Staff I don’t think Nodame, I think Shakugan no Shana. The point of the animes mentioned were so someone could think “Oh that studio.”. Given I left out Production IG and Madhouse, who are fairly stable notable studios, but I have my gripes with each studio and for the most part I didn’t feel comfortable writing a brief summary for them. I also don’t believe either studio has a large presence or capability to change anytime soon.

    As for Bones, I might edit in Full Metal Alchemist brotherhood, but honestly I wanted to leave out a franchise such as FMA from the report to avoid drawing negative weaboo attention. Yes, I recognize brotherhood is of course not the FMA that was dubbed and ever so popular in America, but I was considering audience in leaving it out. The same reasoning also led to my choice to leave out Studio Pierrot.

    Frankly, before continuing with the feedback I want everyone to know (this is in response to everyone, not just you Patches, about my initial feedback lash back, not necessarily part of comments to date) you don’t need to hawk me about every little anime/studio/va tidbit that’s not in here. That’s not the overall point of the work.

    Too many people freaking out going “YOU LEFT OUT XXXXXX ABOUT YYYYYYYYYY, THAT WAS A HUGE PART OF RAWRRRR”. Well yeah, maybe ~ef~ isn’t next to shaft when that was easily the biggest thing that season, but what do you really think of when you think “Shaft”. Please guys, that’s not the point of the write up, please don’t get worked up over mediocre-studio x or y or show abc not being in here. If I left out a company like Gainax or Kyoto Animations I I would) or a fact (such as my edit about Alicesoft) is completely wrong, than that’s when I would like to hear someone speak up, please.

    That isn’t to say it isn’t worth up to bring up other examples in your feedback, but please don’t tell me “I forgot.” about studio “x” or anime “a”. I needed to choose representative examples that contribute to the work as a whole.

  7. 8 Eggplant
    September 9, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    I must say, that was quite a lengthy read. One thing I question however (after reading comment above by Patches), disregarding the lack of Production IG, Gonzo, Toei, DEEN, so on and so forth, I’m somewhat surprised at the lack of ufotable and the absolutely stunning Kara no Kyoukai movies in this post considering your Type-Moon faggotry.

    On another note, you fail to mention how the industry is declining, especially considering their annual wage is roughly 1,100,000 yen, which converts to a measly $11,000 (though I do suppose this is more in regards to the animation that they produce than as a company as a whole.

  8. September 9, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    Ufotable as an animation studio is no giant. They’ve not produced many works, and having mentioned Type-Moon and KnK I didn’t feel it was necessary to extend the length even more.

    11,000$ is extremely cheap but the cost of living in Japan is also slightly lower than America’s, and their currency is worth more (hence actually making 11,000 barely livable, where as it may not be in America). I’m not saying it shouldn’t be drastically higher, but this is more of an analysis of content, not financial analysis. The industry is doing much better now than it did in 2005, regardless of what may be reported from unreliable sources(I am no fan of Sankaku complex). This is why I explain that we are considering the post-2006 era because the industry was revived then – especially financially. It’s true they’ve met a stagnant recently but that only makes this analysis more important because we are at a stage where any animation studio could produce a franchise that brings new life to the industry.

  9. September 9, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    I would also like to note I’ve changed “Key Animes” to “Notable Animes” for each animation studio due to negative feedback.

  10. 11 desufag
    September 10, 2010 at 12:36 AM

    >There is no Tsukihime anime.

    …that’s not funny. I’d have never known about Type Moon VNs without it and the FSN anime. But, that’s just me.

    Also, my gods, two jobs and university is cutting into my time ;_;

  11. October 9, 2010 at 8:01 AM

    It would be an alternate version of Special kiddy to some degree. Personally I would enjoy this more to do ash generation after generation after generation to strip me of the hair on my head in frustration.

    In addition we would get to see new combinations of equipment, development of new characters, new personalities, and perhaps the most relatable to the audience of our current hero. It would be all for anime again with each generation.


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