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Why is anime not as successful in the US as it should be?
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38 / M / Missouri
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Posted 2/13/12
Anime seems to have a difficult time in this country, and was wondering what we or the industries like Funimation and ADV could do to make it and manga sell better in this country. I've narrowed some of the problems down to these.

1 The Price
(Until recently the price of DVD was almost twice "$30" what an American DVD costs "$15-$20" for one Volume.)

2 The Releases take too long.
Again when a volume came out it took 2-3 months to release the next volume, and if the story turned south you really didn't feel like spending more money just to finish it. Fortunately now the got smart and release anime by the season but it still takes forever to come here Even the first season can take years to release.
For example Vampire Knight took almost 5yrs even though the manga is extremely popular.

3 People don't know if they are going to like it before they buy it.
This is a problem I had in the 90's when I was a kid, You save up your allowance for months, Drive 100 miles to the nearest video store that sells VHS of anime spend $30 to $50 for each tape, with only the summary on the back as a reference, then get home play the tape, and then find out the video sucks. Worst yet, you find out the store will not give your money back due to copy right laws.

4 Its too underground! Anime companies don't advertise properly.
Anime should not be advertised only in anime and video game magazines places where anime fans would be one of the few to look for it. Before that advertisement was sole done by word of mouth.

5 Finally It isn't on TV enough.
How do you expect the shows to be watched it only gets released on DVD and never on TV stations. Sure "Nickelodeon" and "Cartoon Network" show things like "Avatar and Naruto" but other stations need to show it and station like "Scifi channel" and "Action" need to bring it back.

These are some solutions I came up with.

1 Lower the price to what the average DVD or Blu-Ray cost.

2 Only Release by series not volume, and lessen the waiting period between Japan and other countries.

3 Put more show on TV and use more Simulcast.

4 Don't rely on Fans to do the advertising.
It's not our job to buy it, its yours to sell it. don't keep using word of mouth as the only means of advertisement.
Use commercials like everyone else. "The Secret World of Arrietty" is the first ad I've seen since "Spirited Away"

5 Finally put it in theaters.
Disney seems to be the only ones who releases it to the big screen. Imagine if "Advent Children" or "Appleseed" were released onto the big screen or at "I-max" OMG!
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Posted 2/13/12 , edited 2/13/12
I agree with you ^^
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Posted 2/13/12
In my opinion the mindsets of the movie executives and adults in general have to change. As long as the mindset of "Cartoons are for kids" is still prevalent in the US, anime is not going to take off as it should. I enjoy anime because the stories I watch have adult themes and violence. I enjoy the Japanese versions of Wolverine & X-Men because in my mind when Wolverine breaks out his claws he is going to do more than cut down a light pole, car or mailbox, as shown in American versions of this series, he is going to guts someone as shown in the Japanese versions. Once the mindset has change things will take off, in my opinion
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Posted 2/13/12 , edited 2/13/12

ThirdStarr wrote:

In my opinion the mindsets of the movie executives and adults in general have to change. As long as the mindset of "Cartoons are for kids" is still prevalent in the US, anime is not going to take off as it should. I enjoy anime because the stories I watch have adult themes and violence. I enjoy the Japanese versions of Wolverine & X-Men because in my mind when Wolverine breaks out his claws he is going to do more than cut down a light pole, car or mailbox, as shown in American versions of this series, he is going to guts someone as shown in the Japanese versions. Once the mindset has change things will take off, in my opinion


This is exactly it, anime is thought to be just cartoons which is why most anime watchers in the US are teens or young adults, adults think it's kids stuff. It's a huge gap in intellectual material between Japanese Anime/Shows and the USA's Shows/Cartoons. I pretty much just mean that the US watches unintelligent shit on TV (which is true.. example: Jersey Shore)

Other reasons:

I have never seen an AD on TV for an Anime, Ever!

The only channel that Anime is on is Adult Swim and it's rare to find an anime on there to begin with.

It cost the same as a new DVD to buy 1/2 a season of a single show
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Posted 2/13/12
I also don't want it to be BIG IN THE USA because everyone will be watching it so it doesn't seem as special as it was before.
Posted 2/13/12
Good points and hopefully giving some feedback to it.

1) DVDs AND Blu-Rays have never been more than $25 per volume unless one was gullible enough to purchase such from places like Suncoast Video or other places like it. I have always been able to find places that sell anime volumes for anything from $20 on down. Such sites have been Rightstuf, Amazon.com, amongst the top two in my head.

2) I agree, releases suck for such. Especially in the America. When a series has been out in Japan for a long time and fansubs are out there, the longer you take to release a series, the less likely people are going to buy it because there are other less legal options of attaining the rest of it.

3) Putting shows on TV has been difficulty. We're only just now getting them on the air in the last few years, and even then it is mostly of shows that are wildly popular (Naruto, etc)

I skipped 4.

5) Anime shows have always found theatre releases in the U.S. but it has been primarily in larger cities like L.A., New York, etc. Though in some cases I've managed to find a few theatre releases in smaller cities as well (Orange County, Riverside County, etc).

The trick about #5 though is it is usually extremely limited in release unless it proves to be profitable enough to warrant release across the US as a whole.
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31 / M / Lagrange, KY
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Posted 2/13/12 , edited 2/13/12
depends on the series, number of epiosdes and marketing etc. Now I do have some shocking news for some of us older anime fans.
There are series in Japan that tanked pretty bad in term of sales/ratings, but are gems/hits here I will now list a few as some examples
1.Trigun
2.Cowboy Bebop
3. Samurai champloo
4. My Ordinary LIfe
5. Dead Man Wonder Land
6. Future Diary

It's all about the series in general but also anime is niche market you are going to have to remember that. It's never going to be wide spread in the states even if there over 1 million fans here that doesn't mean a thing unless nearly half of these fans are willing to commit to buy or purchase a product.
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38 / M / Missouri
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Posted 2/13/12

Zangai wrote:

I also don't want it to be BIG IN THE USA because everyone will be watching it so it doesn't seem as special as it was before.


It has to become bigger otherwise companies won't make a profit and they will go under. You can claim how special it is to you but the only reason companies make anything is to turn a profit, they are not philanthropists, the aren't doing this because they are fans they're a business, that has employes and need to make money to survive. If they don't start becoming more popular they will shut down just like "TOKYOPOP" did.
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Posted 2/13/12
I'd add a few more reasons :
1. Many people these days can't read that well. They don't like subtitled no matter where it's from.
2. People don't want to read while watching a movie. I've got friends who don't watch it for this reason.
3. They were exposed on an anime they didn't like and hence didn't want to try anything else. I saw La Blue Girl (tentacle rape) when I was 18 and didn't touch anime again for 5 years.
4. The people raving about how wonderful it is are geeks and the cool kids don't want to be tainted with that brush.
5. Get some good/famous voice actors. Ones who are past prime for visual might like some voicing work. While voice acting has gotten better, some is still pretty dire. Barring good voice training, how about using actual child actors to voice the children rather than a 25 yo putting on a squeaky voice?
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43 / M / Canada
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Posted 2/13/12
The Psychological barrier is probably one of the biggest problems

Cartoons and Comics are for Kids

It doesn't just affect Anime and Manga either, it's a mentality that prevents American Animation from growing and is killing the American Comic industry.

DC comics right now is putting out some amazing stories, and while they are doing pretty good compared to previous years they certainly aren't going to break into mainstream markets. Ask someone if they checked out the recent issues of Animal Man or Swamp Thing or even Aquaman or Superman and they just give you a look that says "Do I look like a 10 year old?"

In the minds of most people Anime is either kids stuff or Tentacle porn. People who like it are either childish or perverts and they won't give it the benefit of the doubt to try and watch it.


If I could get a room full of people who have never watched anime in their life and show them Grave of the Fireflies I would gladly do it but it would be all but impossible to convince them to sit down and watch it because they would dismiss the film the moment they saw it was a Japanese Cartoon.
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Posted 2/13/12 , edited 2/13/12

LynnTerra wrote:

I think one of the major reasons still involves price issues for anime in the United States. They're simply a bit too expensive.

For example, I went to Best Buy awhile ago and I saw some anime series such as Casshern Sins, Naruto Shippuden, and others that are way too overpriced. I believe the Casshern Sins DVD had a price tag of $59.99 (plus tax).

Agreed with what you said on two, the longer a series is out, the less likely fans will purchase the series.

Not sure about what you said on #5 thou. I guess big anime movies like Spirited Away may be released in larger U.S. cities. I have not seen an anime movie (not to be confused with computer generated graphics) in a U.S. theater in a very long time.

But like you said before. The anime movies that make their debut into the United States tend to be those who have achieved international praise or generated enough revenue to showcase it here.
YoYuri 
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32 / M / Buffalo, NY
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Posted 2/13/12
We have a much different culture than Japan, and a lot of people hit it on the head. Anime is only viewed as cartoons and cartoons are for kids over here. With the amount of censorship in this country I can't imagine it changing anytime soon. We come from a country that can't even put certain labels on beer bottles because it may seem cute to kids and obviously make them want to become alcoholics, and walk into stores at the age of 12 to buy beer...clearly...

Also ADV films didn't close down due to lack of interest, they were in a horrible contract with the Japanese company that licensed to them and they didn't get much of the profit, then they went to court back in 2008 I believe right before they closed. I don't remember the specifics.

Then companies like Geneon released every series under the son regardless of how good it was, and a lot of it had tremendously bad voice acting.

Posted 2/13/12
~In england, anime is pretty much nonexistant
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38 / M / Missouri
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Posted 2/13/12
True the concept of anime being only cartoons is an issue, however if these people watch" Simpson, Family Guy", or anything on MTV like Aeon Flux. you can use those as references or similarities. Most people have seen "The Simpson" and not even realized their watching a cartoon. As for ADV Crunchyroll just had a news forum about them last month. They aren't closed down and plan to continue releasing anime in the USA once the law suits and Negotiations have settled down. They only lost rights to some of the anime they already released like Pretear.
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Posted 2/13/12 , edited 2/13/12
There's a difference between commercial success and fan success.

Commercially? No, you won't see much on TV, but that's due to a lot of factors

1. Economy is pretty bad, so networks have to tighten their belts. The way American networks work, they get very little profit from airing anime. If they air their own American stuff, they get 100% of the profit. Makes more sense for them to air US stuff. It's also why manga/DVD sales have declined.. economy sucks, so less money people have to spend.
2. Censorship. Look at Naruto on Disney XD.. was pretty butchered. Heck, even look at Bakugan, Beyblade, and Pocket Monsters on CN, even those anime are butchered. American censorship just doesn't allow for anime to air uncut, unless it's on Adult Swim like Bleach is. And Adult Swim isn't very big

However, in terms of fans, it's growing each year. Anime conventions and stuff grow tremendously each year. Also look at all the anime-wannabe shows that keep popping up. Ben 10, Avatar, Three Delivery, Thundercats, Kappa Mikey, Monsuno, Totally Spies, all those imitators are drawing huge influences from anime. So many shows rip anime off. It's big, but there's more profit in trying to make your own shallow imitation, since they own that in it's entirety. Anime is huge all over the world, but the US just isn't really accepting of animation as a whole, which is why it's either kids shows or 'Family Guy' crude stuff. Look at France, it's manga industry is like 20x bigger than the US one. America just isn't into comics/cartoons.

So basically.. censorship, cheaper to make/air your own stuff.. and animation discrimination.. commercially it's not viable, but culturally, it's hard to deny.
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