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Why is anime not as successful in the US as it should be?
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28 / F / pLaNeT eArTh???
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Posted 2/13/12
Its because for big anime fans we relied so much on fansubs and translators, and at the time it wasn't frowned upon or a big deal because the US didn't really see it as a market they could profit from.

Its the reluctance of many fans to actually buy the series once it comes out. I think anime has a huge fanbase in America but it doesn't have the sales to prove it.

That and I agree with ShiroTakamura about most of US consumers seeing all anime as "cartoons" or bad like Family Guy.
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38 / M / Missouri
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Posted 2/13/12
Commercially cartoons themselves never made much profit alone in the US, however the real market is always in merchandising. Transformers, GI Joe, He-man She-Ra Jem, and all the classics made their money more off the Toys, Clothes, Cereals, and posters. Until Hasbro ended up being sued over it. If ADV and Funimation would bring more merchandise and made them more readily available in the US it might help the industry. I know Yugi-Oh and Pokemon cards were a big hit when the series first came out.
Posted 2/13/12
It seems like about every 10 years or so there is a bit of an Anime 'spike' in American pop culture, with the ~2004-2005 Adult Swim anime era pinnacle being the most recent. But it's still pretty much an occasional minor fad. As it stands, the hard-core fans don't need that much convincing to buy anime, so studios don't try THAT hard to keep them interested...and no production company is willing to shell out the money to really attract new fans.

Regarding Adult Swim, they never really properly capitalized on their brief expansion of the Anime viewership market, and I don't know all the reasons why...but the fact that they pretty much have the same lineup right now that they did a couple of years ago (other than a 3 year old 'new' episode of Bleach every week) says a lot about their lack of overall dedication to the idea of promoting Anime. Heck, I think most of Adult Swim's revenue comes from playing Family Guy at the hours when most college students are drunk or stoned.

Most of the kids anime in the USA is so thoroughly rewritten (or butchered) as to not really have any impact upon the young viewer as really being something foreign, so many of those people who watched Naruto in their pre-teen years don't think that much about the Japanese factor unless the show really grabbed them.

Also, real theatrical releases are still somewhat rare. For example, when I lived in Southern California, there was one big, high-quality theater that would show new Anime movie releases on a regular basis...however, there would be no promotion to speak of, and the Anime would often only play for one night. People who were members of anime fan clubs would know about it, but it was easy to have something slip past you. So again...it was an offering for the dedicated fan who would go out of his or her way to track down anime -- nobody would try to draw in new potential Anime viewers. And again, with some of the more popular features like Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, or Princess Mononoke, all of which had well-known big budget Anglophone voice actors, even when well-received there was never that much attempt to tie it in with other anime features.

But who knows, ComiCon gets bigger every year, there's more exposure going on in those events (in America at least), and maybe someone will make a decent shot at promoting Anime to Americans.

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Posted 2/14/12

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


except that it will never change until we kick those people out of their positions.
and the people above them who are enforcing the opinions that those people hole.
"kids are too delicate. if you show them anything bad at all they will grow up to be serial rapists and murderers!!"


LynnTerra wrote:
2) I agree, releases suck for such. Especially in the America. When a series has been out in Japan [skip] the longer you take to release a series, the less likely people are going to buy it [end]


it's just that simple. once a series has been out for a long time, those of us who really want to watch it will already have seen it. we aren't going to wait the typical several-year-cycle in the HOPE that some company will put it out promptly. so by the time they do get around to it, they've already lost so many of their sales just due to people not caring anymore. they were getting smart for a while.. and some series get licensed before they even finish airing. except then they just sit on it, and it gets old, and again, we stop caring.

this is the digital information age. they can't keep pretending that they can just wait till they feel ready to get around to it anymore. news from japan gets to north america almost as fast as it gets out in japan for those of us who are interested. so it's not new here when the american companies feel like telling us about it -- it's new here at the same time it's new there. just watch the CR news feeds if you have any questions about that.


RandeKnight wrote:
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?


1 and 2 are really the fault of our schools these days. they force reading down kids' throats in such a way that it just make kids hate reading. and then they get bumped up to the next grade whether they can meet the required skills or not.
3 fortunately seems to be less and less prevalent, especially as series like La Blue Girl and Urotsukidoji are getting older and less common.
4 geeks rule, to hell with the cool kids anyways. lol.
5 they do like to use big names in any moderately large anime dub, just to hope for some name recognition, and to hell with the voices matching the character. my opinion would be that it's much more important for them to select -appropriate- VA's rather than "big name" VA's. now mind you, if you find a "big name" who -also- matches the character, then that's just great.



BlaculaKuchuki wrote:
Most of the kids anime in the USA is so thoroughly rewritten (or butchered) as to not really have any impact upon the young viewer as really being something foreign, so many of those people who watched Naruto in their pre-teen years don't think that much about the Japanese factor unless the show really grabbed them.


the whole post is full of extremely good points, but this one especially.
like Robotech. it was made of 3 completely unrelated series mashed together and rewritten to make them into one.
like Card Captor Sakura. in order to bring it over for a young american audience "who wouldn't be able to understand a strong female lead" they literally dumped the first 7 eps in the garbage, and rewrote the rest of the scripts so that Sakura and her main rival Li Syaoran instead become allies.
like omg just too many examples that i don't even want to know about, just because american producers want to foster the idea that "our american children are not able to understand this or that concept, so we won't ever give them a chance to try." way to make a self-fulfilling policy there guys.


all in all, the whole thing really boils down to stagnant attitudes at the top levels.
"cartoons are just cartoons and only kids will take them seriously, so we won't give anyone else the chance to even try it."
just look at the anime movies that we say have gotten "major" american releases. Akira, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and very soon, The Secret World of Arietty. (I'm sure i've probably missed a couple since Akira, but anyways...)
Combined showings in all theaters for all of these movies probably only breaks even with any single typical modern trash rom-com.
... if anyone has real numbers so i can see how accurate (or absurd) my claims are, let me know.

ok. [RANT OFF] *click*
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Posted 2/14/12

Cecilthedarkknight234 wrote:

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.


Last I checked, Cowboy Bebop wasn't obscure in Japan, it did fairly well although not nearly as well as it did here.... in America.
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Posted 2/14/12

DBZAOTA482 wrote:


Cecilthedarkknight234 wrote:

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.


Last I checked, Cowboy Bebop wasn't obscure in Japan, it did fairly well although not nearly as well as it did here.... in America.


wrong it didn't even come close to breaking even in japan in terms of laser disc, vhs or dvd sales. It just wasn't that popular however it did do well enough for movie but it still wasn't as popular as other series that broke 10,000k barrier with each single. The show had a better audience here in the states, and was one of the first to break that near 1 mil record of sales in term of popularity.
Posted 2/14/12
Mr. Youwannaroll -- I love your rants Even if I might disagree with you, I like the way you convey your thoughts.

To add a bit to your comment on the lackluster overall performance of anime film 'major releases,' another bit of an object lesson would be the live-action version of Dragonball Evolution.

Now...I thought the film lacked quality. In fact, I'd say it bordered on atrocious. Plenty of other people would be even less generous.

However, it still brought in more money in the American box office than Spirited Away or Howl's Moving Castle combined.

Oh, sure, those two anime films were vastly more successful worldwide than the live-action Dragonball in terms of world box office sales, but in America...Spirited Away only swung something like $10 million for the entire course of its release, despite the fact that Spirited Away was the most financially successful anime film to date.

And it's not like cartoon movies have no chance of being successful in the USA -- it seems that an animated feature has hit the top 10 grossing films of the year for just about any year of the past decade or so -- Toy Story and Shrek went well past the standard Disney formula and opened the way for many other American animated features.

Some people might at this point be tempted to say that Americans (or Canadians, Australians, or British) just aren't sophisticated enough to adapt to the idea of storytelling in the Anime fashion, but I have to disagree. Americans (and other English-speaking nationalities) are incredibly adaptable and capable of being receptive to new form of entertainment -- I'd even say they are downright hungry for new entertainment.

I mean, at any time before 2006, would you have believed that a film about pre-Columbian central America, filmed with no famous actors, with subtitles, and with Mayan as the only spoken language, would have been a critically acclaimed and extremely financially successful movie?

Clearly there is a potential audience for something beyond what most of us would consider Anglo-American formulaic entertainment. The problem is that nobody has really taken a chance on anime...yet. Maybe the breakthrough moment will be an American producer making something with a Japanese studio specifically for an American audience -- the Afro Samurai anime adaptation made a decent preliminary stab at that, and Kill Bill had a brief interlude of that nature. We'll see (I hope)!
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Posted 2/14/12
Maybe another way to get anime to become popular is to make live action movies. I know they did " Speed Racer" and "Dragon ball", but It was like watching "Super Mario Bros" and "Double Dragon". If they made something like Macross with the same care and Special Effects as Transformers. or Ghost in the Shell like the Matrix. Then sell the Anime versions at the Home Video release than that might start getting people to open there minds to anime. You know the way Mortal Kombat and Resident Evil became popular, make the movie so awesome it creates new fans.
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Posted 2/14/12

Spiderssoul wrote:


I kinda agree and disagree here.

For live action movies, it would most likely have to be based off a very popular anime that hits international fame such as Death Note and DBZ. Mortal Combat and Resident Evil were based off of video games so that's kind of a different story. There are of course live action movies based off video games. Ex. Doom

As for Macross Frontier, I'd love to see that as a live action tbh as I'm a fan of the series.

But again for live action movies based off of an anime, the only way I see for them to reach a large demographic audience in the West would be those that are already reached an international fame.
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Posted 2/14/12 , edited 2/14/12
Actually Funimation has had films in theaters too (Trigun Badlands and Sacred Star of Milos)
I think another issue would be the mindset most Americans have.
There's a misconception that animation=for children.

As for anime on tv it seems like networks don't care unless it's toy based or Dragon Ball.
Just last year SYFY got rid of their Ani-Monday block and Disney XD stopped airing Shippuden.
Adult Swim doesn't seem to really care overall.

The main reason fans don't buy the releases is because it's so easy to find illegal streaming sites.
Retail availability and prices don't seem to help either.
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Posted 2/15/12
the key in america for anime is streaming. as a poor american i am not going to want to go to the store to buy a 25 dollar disk where im going to watch it then have it sit on the shelf for 5 months to a year when i MIGHT want to watch it again. i think that is a bit of the problem as well. and the reason why dvd sales work in japan is because the economy is better off.
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Posted 2/15/12
Too complex for them?

Cartoons are shallow kiddy stuff here.. even the ones that try always fail to come anywhere close to real anime (Teen Titans, Avatar, etc)

You're not going to see something like Monster, Death Note, or heck, even Digimon out of here.

It's not taken seriously, and it's not really an artform here.
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Posted 2/16/12
I believe that Most American People want to watch Adult Swim than Anime!! Anime has way better story line and it reveals real life experience!!
Posted 2/16/12
This was mentioned in the OP, but this upcoming release of "The Secret World of Arrietty" is going to be a BIG test of anime's draw in the United States.

While yes, there have been a few other relatively wide-release Studio Ghibli projects in the past, this is being distributed by Disney which is going to help it get a bit more attention than some cartoon from a studio unknown to most Americans. That combined with commercials appearing on prime time network television will be a good shot at getting people's attention.

It will be very informative to see what happens tomorrow (the day of the release).
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Posted 2/17/12
Personally I think the best thing that could be done is for a Japanese television company to grow roots in America and establish a nation wide channel that strives to put current Anime in the current prime time spot.

Second, would be commercials, commercials, commercials. Not just for Advertising but also for teaching aids. My mom suffers from the "Cartoon" syndrome. Yet Anime offers equal footing against other prime time shows.

It would be an uphill battle but in the beginning it takes a seed for things to grow. Once planted it can become something much greater. But only if you really give it a shot.


As for Disney, myself and many of my friends do not take their shows seriously. We watch Anime and most of us don't want to watch a musical.
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