Author: Gabriel Persechino-Forest Published: April 19th, 2018
We’re Not Coming for your Anime… Well, we Sorta are!
There’s this giant myth that Japan is impervious to foreign influence and just doesn’t care about what the West thinks of it. This has led many to make the false assumption that an animegate could never happen. But, as interviews with recent members of the Japanese industry have revealed, not only do they care about the foreign market, they are intentionally aiming for it at this point. More recently, an interview with Polygon Pictures president, Shuzo John Shiota, revealed just how untrue the “Japan couldn’t care less” belief is.
When asked the question:
As you mentioned, Knights of Sidonia was Netflix’s first original anime. What do you think about their recent growth into the anime market?
Shuzo had an interesting response:
They’re very serious about it. And they’re spending a lot of money on original properties as well so you can tell they’re very serious about it.
As I explained before. American companies want to infiltrate the market and they are not halfhearted about it like they used to. Anyone thinking this will just “Blow over” is lying to himself and anyone thinking they’ll “Just share the market with the rest of the industry” clearly doesn’t understand how American companies work.
We’ve been lucky to be at the forefront of it. Initially when they first came, there was an initial pushback from the Japanese producers because, as I mentioned, the industry revolved around television, Blu-rays and the regular publishers. And Netflix was a huge agitator to the ways in which things were happening. So there was a huge pushback but because we were the black sheep, we were not a part of the industry. We had nothing to lose, so it was easy for us to partner up with them.
As many suspected, the Japanese did act to protect their market (And I’m guessing, still are) and resisted American influence but as I suspected, Netflix isn’t there to play nice. They want to change the way things work and it seems Polygon is the “Point of infiltration” for the Japanese industry. No one should fool themselves and think Netflix is doing it to improve working conditions, that is clearly not the case. Any changes they will bring will benefit them and other multinational corporations.
And then the power of television, the advertising revenue, the Blu-rays, all of these things started to crumble. And all of a sudden, the Netflix option seemed much more attractive, especially because of their pricing. So it’s been a huge influence, and I think it’s been a good influence in that now we’re able to deliver our properties to 190 different countries and millions of people all of a sudden with subtitles.
This here is the key. With sales revenue shifting more and more to streaming revenue and with the international market being this big compared to the home market, people have no idea just how much leverage Western corporations and, by extension, the Western political and social pressure groups, are about to gain. If you thought your hobby couldn’t be infiltrated and changed based on a socio-political, global agenda, brace yourself, you’re in for a rough ride.
So I think in this case, we’re combating what was previously a big issue of piracy because people can see it legitimately and they don’t have to wait like they used to.
They’re pushing piracy in a major way in Japan right now and the Western mainstream media are giving their full support. I think everyone should play close attention to this in the near future.
Because of that, it’s brought up the budgets for the production considerably. And it’s not just Netflix’s influence, but it’s also the other streaming partners as well as the money coming in from China. But Netflix was one of the big instigators for this, along with Amazon.
I said that American companies sought to compromise the medium by attacking how its made didn’t I. They are pretty much admitting it here and are even telling you who is responsible. These will not be the last players of this drama though, this is just beginning.
It’s been a wake-up call to anime producers to be aware of the foreign market from the onset, since it used to be an afterthought. Now, the streaming rights and foreign exposure is regarded as a big deal. That’s a big change too.
Here it is in black and white, the foreign market does matter. And in time, you can bet that foreign “sensibilities” to things such as “Proper presentation of women”, “Gender and ethnic representation”, “Microaggressions”, “Objectification of women”… and all these other wonderful politically correct fabrications will matter as well.
Plus there’s this movement for the Castlevania kind of thing where anime tastes are opening fans up to American-ised or European-ised international storytelling. And Netflix is all over that now, it’ll open up some doors.
This is essential too. They are trying to change the aesthetic of anime. They want anime to become edgy American cartoons for western hipsters because that’s how Netflix thinks most Americans see anime and that’s how they want to market it. They intend to essentially rob anime of its unique Japanese cultural heritage and replace it with Western cartoons that happen to be made by a Japanese staff. To them, anime is a product aimed at Westerners that sells itself as “Exotic animation from Japan” but make no mistake, the audience they care about is the Western one. They don’t want anime to be what it currently is, they want it to be what Westerners think it is (Or should be). If they have their way, Japan will just become one of those countries Western states outsource animation to for what is still essentially a Western production aimed at a Western audience.
It might have the hardcore anime fans dissing it, but I think it’ll open up a door for other variations of so-called anime.
And there you have it, the “hardcore fans” (People who watch Japanese animation and actually expect Japanese cultural elements in it) are being highlighted as the upcoming bad guys here. Not to mention, calling Japanese-made animation for a Japanese audience “So-called anime”.
When they said they weren’t coming for your video games, they lied. And guess what, when they said they weren’t coming for your anime, they also lied.
Sexual Repression in Japan Continues
Japan’s government is labelling books that talk about sexuality, its expression and its history in the country as “Harmful”. Several books already have been designated as publications that “are in danger of obstructing the healthy raising of youths”. Yes, its Bill 156 (Tokyo Metropolitan Ordinance Regarding the Healthy Development of Youths) at work. Westerners should remember, its the bill that was largely shrugged off as being inconsequential and just a “Good way to protect kids from reading porn”. Turns out censorship is censorship no matter what excuse is initially used to establish it and turns out “Think of the children” still works great as a knee-jerk slogan to push such laws that will later be used for proper censorship. As for the targeted books, even though they are largely research books, and not erotic manga, they are now no longer allowed to be sold outside of “adult” sections and have therefore been severely restricted. Censorship is always hailed as good by those who refuse to think and believe a social ill is being “Attended to” but perhaps its time we started to learn an important lesson: Censorship serves only to restrict and that, regardless of reason, is always the mark of an authoritarian government.
Source: Asahi Shimbun
Piracy, the Big Boogieman is Back
The mainstream media, in Japan and the West, are continuing to push what many believe is a fabricated “Piracy crisis” as they cheer the government of Japan for taking measures to restrict people’s internet access (With hopes to potentially change the constitution and make it into law in 2019). Comicverse and Geek.com are doing their part to continue to push this scenario by claiming that Japan is in “A crisis” all of a sudden and that “Drastic” measures must be taken to “Protect” manga before its too late; lots of fearmongering.
Now it seems the pirate website Mangamura has become inaccessible and that the server where the images were hosted is also inaccessible. We are being assured that there is no way the government or anyone else could be involved and that the ones responsible for the closure are likely to be the administrators of these sites themselves.
Source: Asahi Shimbun
Source: Article Image: Anime News Network