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Toei Animation Thinks Mobiles Could Save Anime 69

andylim writes to share that according to a recent interview, Toei Animation, producers of Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball z, think that mobile phones and tablets could help save the anime industry, which is being heavily damaged by piracy. Unfortunately the difficulty is getting all of the players to move in the same direction. "We think it's an incredibly exciting opportunity. Manufacturers and networks are going to need more than touchscreens and Twitter to shift phones in the future — content such as Toei's will hopefully add that extra value. Unfortunately, Ebato and Song haven't been inundated with requests for information. 'There's no convergence... the tech people and the content people aren't talking,' adds Song. In fact Song's last statement to us is much more than an anecdotal truth, it's the heart of the matter. It's not enough that Apple and Amazon are talking to content creators, everyone should be doing it. Of course, a good start would be to not hide people like Ebato and Song in distant exhibition halls, where only we can find them."
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Toei Animation Thinks Mobiles Could Save Anime

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  • by Lord Bitman ( 95493 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @10:31AM (#31198902) Homepage

    So, first "piracy" creates the international anime market, then "piracy" continues. The Anime fad rises to a peak, then fades. "Piracy" continues throughout the whole process. Then "piracy" is blamed for the downturn. The sad truth is: it's technically true. If it weren't for "piracy", there indeed would not have been a decrease in sales at this point, there would simply be nothing to decrease.

    • That's what I wondered. I Googled around some and it seems that in America there is a lot of pirated anime and the Japanese companies are mad about it and trying to put pressure on the US to crack down. From what I read from commenters on some of the sites, it’s not that they don't want to buy the DVDs, it’s that they aren't imported or sold in the US to begin with or there is some kind of delay in releases between the US and Japan. So, in order to get their favorite series latest season, the
      • by Starayo ( 989319 )
        And even when they get here (for subtitled anime), the fansubs are generally better because they're not americanised. Sloppily. Often losing much or all of the original meaning in the process.

        And if streaming over the net is your thing, the pirated ones don't have ads. I'm watching an official stream for an anime right now - I wouldn't mind a 30 second ad at the start but they interrupt the show every 5 minutes and the quality is barely better than the pirated streams!
        • by 7Prime ( 871679 )

          And finally, DVD copies simply translate spoken text and pop them up as digital subtitles. For some text and sign heavy anime, that's not good enough. I have a fansub version of Azumanga Daiho where not only do they translate every sign, but they also pop up some footnoots explaining obscure cultural references, for those interested. Yes, that level of detail isn't for everyone, but for a lot of anime fans, it's quite nice.

          • True. The increased quality of fansubs is, in some ways, baffling. It's like Wikipedia versus a "normal" encyclopaedia - sure, there's some QA gaffes, but overall it's just better and more convenient.

            There's also the censorship angle.

            A lot of the US releases are ruined with censorship, to the extent that in some cases the story ceases to even make sense, because some vital component was cut or sloppily drawn over by some American hack.

            At any rate, wouldn't it be merchandise that'd "save" anime? I mean, have

            • I completely agree. My experience with fansubs is that the quality and attention to detail is, on average, much higher than in official releases. Not to mention the translators' notes that address cultural differences that are completely absent from the official releases

              The first step to fixing the US releases is killing 4Kids with fire.

              The prices in Australia for anime DVDs ranges from high to extreme. I mean, 129.95AUD for a 23-episode series borders on insane

        • Actually, a lot of anime fans assume that the fansub translators know what they are doing but have no way of evaluating the quality of the translations. The nonprofessional fansub translator will get the benefit of the doubt over a working professional simply because they'll leave terms untranslated or avoid using slang. Some fan translations are horribly amateurish, but the fans will assume they are better than the professional version.
  • by Triv ( 181010 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @10:49AM (#31199172) Journal

    Reasonable prices would do more to combat piracy than all the mobile platforms out there. 30 bucks list for 4 episodes of whatever anime series floats your boat at the moment on dvd is price-gouging.

    • You know they dont really release anime that way anymore. Usually, you can get a complete anime series for about $30 - $40. Anime does come in reasonable prices.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Warhawke ( 1312723 )
        Reality [fye.com] begs [amazon.com] to [animenation.com] differ [animefeeder.com]. But thanks for playing!
        • Hah - I clicked on one of those links - randomly clicked and ended up on Ah My Goddess OAV - 27$ for 4 episodes, plus shipping.

          Now I asked someone at ADV about this at Sakura con - he said its to offset the cost of what the producers in Japan wanted - so both are to blame. He said in many cases they were literally paying off someone's house in Tokyo.

          Whats worse he told me was a hit series that did well on the fan sub "market" (ie - it had a ton of downloads) usually drives higher prices.

          So yes the parent is

    • Reasonable prices, decent translations, and commitment to continue producing a series are all enormous factors. It's ridiculous to think that they can put out an inferior product, charge an arm and a leg for it, and expect to be able to compete with the often-superior fansubs.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by sarge apone ( 918461 )
      $30 for 4 episodes!? That's more like tentacle-gouging
    • Agreed. I stop into Suncoast or whatever the heck it's called now equivalent each time I make it to a bigger mall (I live in BFE and have to drive 60 mins to a decent city) because they often have half off or buy one get one sales, and that is the only time anime seems reasonably priced to me. And 2 out of 3 times I walk out empty handed because the selection is already picked over (usually it's a sale for a specific publisher). All the other publishers still have their good titles in stock.

      What does tha

  • If only (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I love anime! I watch them on english-subtitled fansubs.

    As much as I want to buy original anime video, either the english dubbing sucks, or they change the cool moves ("Kage Bunshin no Jutsu" vs. "Art of the Shadow Doppelganger"? come on!) that it's just not right!

    • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

      or they change the cool moves ("Kage Bunshin no Jutsu" vs. "Art of the Shadow Doppelganger"? come on!) that it's just not right!

      That's what "Kage bunshin no jutsu" means in English, though. Yeah it doesn't sound so great.

      There's three sides to dubbing. One is the raping of the original series (see: 4Kids). One is a "purist" form, where they go with literal translations. And one is appropriate translation to a different culture while maintaining the original intent or meaning.

      Why can't Naruto just say "Shadow Clone"? In Japanese, things sound nice and short, but it turns out to sound way too stretched out in English.

      • by EdZ ( 755139 )
        I think he was joking about the numerous fansubs that simply fail to translate large chunks of the dialogue and claim that it's "more authentic".
      • Why can't Naruto just say "Shadow Clone"? In Japanese, things sound nice and short, but it turns out to sound way too stretched out in English.

        The main reason is that "Shadow Clone" has fewer syllables than "Kage Bunshin no Jutsu" and that doesn't fit with the lipsync, hence the overly long translation.

        • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

          Yeah, but they can just edit the lip sync anyway (as I've found they sometimes do).

          For a huge series like Naruto it shouldn't be a problem.

  • by bob0the0mighty ( 904854 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @11:04AM (#31199348)
    I think the way to achieve this is to pay the fan-subbers to use their translations. IMO normally they're better, lack censorship, and are already out there. I bet most would be ecstatic to be paid AND do what they love. And the price should be low, say $1 or $2 since the subs are out already. Some money is better than none.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anime is stuck in a rut right now because there is so little innovation. So much anime these days is the same old ideas with different characters. It's getting as bad as prime time comedies here in the US. You know, the ones which don't last more than a few episodes because, executive assurances to the contrary, they suck and people don't watch them.

    You want a better anime market? More Miyazaki [wikipedia.org] and Ghibli [wikipedia.org], less moe [wikipedia.org] and Nabeshin [wikipedia.org]. (I have a lot of respect for Nabeshin, but his recent anime are almost com

  • Piracy brought Anime to America, and sustains other markets as well, where Japanese prices are too high (China, Taiwan: manga insanely popular, but everyone buys pirates versions or reads scanlations online). The producers of manga and anime do so primarily for the Japanese market, which remains highly profitable. Unless the Japanese start pirating, the industry will do fine, and keep producing. Manga and anime needs to be as popular overseas as it is in Japan for traditional print distribution or dubbin

    • I don't want to wait months for some company to wade through licensure and waiting for completed books

      I've paid for books and stacked up a collection, but then the publisher decided to drop half the series I'm buying and I'm hesitant to pick up new titles (ones I've read) 'cause I don't want a half complete collection. I think the unreliability of the big US publishers (tokyopop, ADV) keeps as many fans from buying legit stuff as anything else does.

    • I buy the Hellsing books. I also download the scanlations because I hate waiting months to read the manga. With some manga/anime series I've seen fewer spelling/grammar errors in the scanlations/fansubs than in the official releases. Offering a lesser product for a higher price is unacceptable in any market with competition. If more manga/anime came out at the same time (or within a few days) of the original and at good quality I'd buy more.
  • by Mishotaki ( 957104 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @03:53PM (#31202942)
    If the anime studios would make better subs, i would be inclined to replace my collection instead of buying what i keep with my backups. The english subs are from the english voice-overs that are used and are timed to the mouth of the characters, therefore they add/remove information and many things are lost in those translations... If they would give us a second track for the subs when we're watching with the original language, a "litteral translation" track, i would be more inclined to buy the legit ones instead of keeping my fansub version because it's far more superior...
  • There is currently every reason to just get the fansub instead of buying it...

    I started with fansubs because when you were in high school and early college, you don't really have the money - especially not when a box set cost $90 to $120 USD. Yeah, the prices have come down considerably now, but even at 40 to 50 USD, you've got to realize those shows are 5 to 10 years old now.

    That brings up another point - delay in releases. I'll watch the fansub, for example Burst Angel / AKA Bakuretsu Tenshi - it ca
    • True. Most anime fansub releases in the last 2 years have appeared as 720p H.264 MKV files with selectable subtitles. Sometimes, some series appear as 1080p. Nowadays US anime companies no longer dub the anime series anymore. However, many of us still buy the animes which we once watched as fansubs on DVD - eg He is My Master, Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens, Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya etc. Most of these DVDs and Blurays are still region coded and some of us aren't even in the US, which means we have to ju
  • Yes I agree, the English voiceovers always amuse me..

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