what killed the anime boom in the united states?

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May 2, 2011
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#1
In The 90's When Many American Kids got their first taste of Japanese Animation on channels like cartoon network and eventually Foxkids And Kids WB it was a different feeling a strange but good feeling of the years to come

getting to see just what the Japanese Minds had created while some weren't perfect others were instant classics that would live on forever such as Pokemon And Dragon Ball Z

Unfortunately somewhere down the line....Anime's Growth in the states was completely halted and before you knew it every single network stopped airing Japanese Cartoons And Animated Films

with the internet at our disposal with things such as Netflix And Hulu one could say we don't need those networks to watch anime but the way i see it....it was those networks that introduced anime to the masses and made it quite easy for good animes to get off the ground and slowly become mainstream with their own products

Now? even if your anime is really good....the best you can hope for is some over priced shirts at Hot Topic

Maybe it's just me but i feel like it's hard for anime to return to the glory days of when it was still so fresh and new to our minds without any animes on television for people to be exposed to without having to look for it(And Really if you weren't aware of anime before or never saw it....You Probably wouldn't be looking for it and even so you wouldn't know what to look for)

i only bring this up because as it stands in current times the only mainstream television exposure anime gets is on toonami which only airs saturday nights starting at 11:00 PM meaning you gotta be an insomniac or a crazy night owl to get into any of this if you tried to get into it today and there aren't many products that you can buy to support your favorite anime and show your love for it(You Gotta Pay Outrageous Prices For Some DVDS/Blu-Rays! And As For Other Merchandise it's usually fanmade shirts or plushies...nothing official most of the time)
 

jaylop97

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#2
I believe that when Toonami died in 2008 that could of been when anime just started falling in popularity as at the time streaming sites weren't around and Toonami was available in most homes so clearly Toonami is why most anime get possibilities here in America, and without it not many people become interested in seeing something hard to catch.
 

Light Lucario

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#3
I believe that when Toonami died in 2008 that could of been when anime just started falling in popularity as at the time streaming sites weren't around and Toonami was available in most homes so clearly Toonami is why most anime get possibilities here in America, and without it not many people become interested in seeing something hard to catch.
By the time the original Toonami ended, I think the only anime it had on the lineup was Naruto. There may have been a second anime title on its last lineup, but I'm pretty sure it was just Naruto. Considering that the block had been cut down to a two hour block full of mostly reruns, taking off the block was more of a mercy killing than anything else, especially when the block was pretty much on life support and was no where near the quality of its heyday for quite some time.

I think that anime started to fade from popularity well before the original Toonami block ended. I'd say it was probably somewhere in the mid 2000's at least. The bubble burst because there were so many shows being licensed and dubbed in the hopes that they'd be a hit, but few of them were and ratings started to go down. Companies wanted to get something huge like Pokemon, DBZ or Sailor Moon, so they picked up everything and anything they could get, but that backfired in terms of the financial conditions for a few companies and anime's popularity in general.

I still wouldn't say that Toonam is the only exposure anime has. As I mentioned in the Toonami news thread, shows like Pokemon and Yokai Watch are still anime. They are aimed at a younger audience and exist primarily to promote video games and other merchandise, but that doesn't make them less of an anime. They are still made in and aired for Japan. That makes them anime. Toonami is on pretty late, but you don't have to watch the block live. The premieres are usually available the next day via On Demand and you can watch the episodes on Adult Swim's website as well. I still prefer to watch the block live when I can, but it isn't the only option and there are other ways to support the block without forcing yourself up for awhile.

While a TV airing is still probably the best way for a show to get exposure, it isn't the only one in this day and age. More legal streaming has certainly helped various series gain attention and a good amount of popularity. Attack on Titan was a huge hit well before the dub came to Toonami for example. It may not be the kind of exposure you'd prefer, but in this day and age, a show can be successful if it is online only. Being on Hulu, Netflix, Crunchyroll, etc, allows for people the freedom to watch a show whenever they want and it makes it much easier for anime to get exposure since many shows wouldn't be able to get a TV deal for various reasons. It isn't what you seem to prefer, but the way anime, as well as shows in general for that matter, are handled nowadays has to be different because of how different the market is compared to when the anime boom first happened in the U.S. back in the day.
 

Lord Dalek

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#4
What killed the Anime Boom was "The Great Crash of 2007" which was officially triggered when Dentsu shuttered Geneon USA over declining sales and lack of distribution channels. The recession was just gearing up back then and smaller mall stores like Suncoast and Sam Goody which anime distributors had used as their principle brick and mortars for over a decade were either going under or being bought out left and right. As such, suddenly certain companies had their revenue halved or even fourthed from what they were four years earlier. They also blamed the rise of fansubs as a cause, but I still think that's just sour grapes as the industry, in the way it was setup, was bound to fail anyway. Geneon's implosion however had the distinction of taking not only it out but also ADV (later "bought out" by Section 23, a company formed by... wait for it... ADV), which had actually tried to save the beleaguered Geneon catalog as well as maintain a relationship with licensing firm Sojitz despite lacking the capital to do either (Funimation on the other hand...), Central Park Media, Synch-Point, AN Entertainment, Imaginasian, and finally Bandai Entertainment in a sort of domino effect brought on by bad business decisions made by executives still under the impression that they were in the laserdisc era. Surprisingly (or not), many of these guys still have jobs in the industry. Guess where! *COUGH*aniplex*COUGH* Now, Funimation and Viz survived by using untapped big boxes like Wal-Mart, Fred Meyer, and Target thus increasing their revenue. That was a lesson S23 learned the hard way and now they do a similar thing.

Ironically, within a year of dismantaling the American branch, Dentsu had liquidated most of its shares of Geneon to Vivendi Universal which dropped the name all together two years ago. The former Pioneer LDC no longer exists outside of hardware.
 
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Angilasman

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#5
^What he said: a confluence of a lot of stuff, from the economic downturn to poor business decisions. It all just sorta caused the house of cards to come tumbling down.

... that being said. It was probably good in the long run. The industry is now fairly stable and you don't have to pay $30 for three episodes on a DVD.
 

RoryWilliams

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#6
I saw someone say a major factor is that a lot the licensers were importing a truly insane amount of work, and this eventually led to them licensing a bunch of crap nobody had any interest in watching or buying.

At the start of the big anime boom, the companies essentially had their pick of the litter and got to localize a bunch of stuff with proven mainstream appeal back in Japan like Gundam or Sailor Moon or Dragon Ball Z and what not. As time went on they were running out mainstream, marketable stuff, and had to start importing a bunch of niche shows that consequently did very poorly.
http://io9.com/what-killed-the-american-anime-industry-1501880696
 

Daikun

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#7
The widespread use of the Internet was a major factor. There weren't legal streams yet in the early 2000s, and impatient anime fans could watch their favorite shows not by waiting for someone to license it, but at the click of a button. The advent of YouTube and similar video streaming sites made it even easier. As a result, TV ratings and DVD sales dropped like flies.
 

Tohya

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#8
Maybe it's just me but i feel like it's hard for anime to return to the glory days of when it was still so fresh and new to our minds without any animes on television for people to be exposed to without having to look for it(And Really if you weren't aware of anime before or never saw it....You Probably wouldn't be looking for it and even so you wouldn't know what to look for)
Sounds like you're on a nostalgic feels trip my friend because those boom years are far from what anyone would consider as glory. I can't imagine anyone wanting to return to the dark ages of hack job editing and endless reruns. Or having to fork over ass amounts of money for DVDs. When I look at how much anime has integrated into our culture I always think about how the invasion served its purpose well and chuckle whenever someone says they miss the old days.
 

Lord Dalek

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#9
The widespread use of the Internet was a major factor. There weren't legal streams yet in the early 2000s, and impatient anime fans could watch their favorite shows not by waiting for someone to license it, but at the click of a button. The advent of YouTube and similar video streaming sites made it even easier. As a result, TV ratings and DVD sales dropped like flies.
Except that's still true. Hence why I think it was just an excuse by Dentsu to gloss over how they ran Geneon into the ground.

Also Toonami had been reduced to running recycled 4kids TV rejects and Naruto (which it was about to lose anyway) at this point. It was so irrelevant that it's first demise was a drop in the bucket more or less.

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Jul 25, 2006
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#10
The widespread use of the Internet was a major factor. There weren't legal streams yet in the early 2000s, and impatient anime fans could watch their favorite shows not by waiting for someone to license it, but at the click of a button. The advent of YouTube and similar video streaming sites made it even easier. As a result, TV ratings and DVD sales dropped like flies.
That's what I was thinking. It drew the kind of fan subculture who were pretty young and Internet-savvy, and as a result, they were probably not as into buy physical copies when the DVD market was still viable, and when it moved on, I think the industry may have struggled.
 

Dudley

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#11
I think it was because the DVDs are ridiculously expensive. The prices may work in Japan, but not in the States. As a result, fans resorted to piracy.
Americanized dubs, and dealing with networks BS&P is also a factor to resorting to piracy.
Basically, piracy is to blame. If they had set up set things like streaming shows soon after after they air in Japan early on, things would be different.


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Lord Dalek

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#12
^See again... that's now like the default industry answer for everything they screw up. People aren't seeing movies anymore, PIRACY! People aren't buying records anymore, PIRACY!!!! Tv show ratings are down. PI-RAAAA-SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!! Clearly its not the fact that it costs 50 smackers to see a movie now, modern music is borderline white noise, and nobody's willing to spend an extra 20 bucks on top of their overpriced cable bill for Game of Thrones. No its those eeeeeevil pirates that are to blame for every single dollar Hollywood has lost.

Likewise we gotta prevent the Japanese from reverse importing their crappy shows we don't like by jacking the prices up to $25 PER EPISODE (seriously... that's how much a forgettable turd like Denki-gai or Etotama costs these days) because.... uhhhh.... PIRAAAAAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCYYYYYYYYY!

Damn Aniplex and Ponyca. They can't go out of business fast enough.
 
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#13
I personally think that they declined because of the format. The USA tries to pump in 11 minute episodes so they can pair them however they want and air them as much as they can without following much continuality. Most of the Animes actually follow a continuity, and the stations can't allow themselves to air episodes in order. . . And any anime fan i know wants to watch them in order. Not scrambled. So they end up watching them on streams.

But in reallity.. who knows. It is always about money money and more money. If it is not profitable, then throw it out the window.

I kinda understand why people pirate those stuff. True Anime fans watch the shows in Japanese, subbed. Usually few hours after it was aired, so you can discuss the episode wth your japanese buddies over online sites.
 

Golden Geek

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#14
I think it was because the DVDs are ridiculously expensive. The prices may work in Japan, but not in the States. As a result, fans resorted to piracy.
Americanized dubs, and dealing with networks BS&P is also a factor to resorting to piracy.
Basically, piracy is to blame. If they had set up set things like streaming shows soon after after they air in Japan early on, things would be different.
I don't think disc price really had much to do with it.

We got (and get now for the most part) DVDs much, much cheaper than in Japan. FUNimation's had their S.A.V.E. line around for years, where you can get a whole series for under $25. There were also fads like those ADV mini-discs and Anime Test Drive where you could start a show for crazy cheap and decide whether you like it or not.

However, I do think the Internet really led to the death of anime on TV. If you look at Toonami's lineup over the years, Toonami stopped having really cool shows around the time YouTube came around, because people wouldn't watch them. They'd already seen them uncut at their own pace online, why would they wait once a week to watch an edited version?

It's taken years but there's finally a bit of a market for anime on TV again, especially with broadcast premieres of stuff like Space Dandy and the dubs for Parasyte and Akame ga Kill!.
 

Lord Dalek

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#15
Well again... in the early 2000's you were more likely to pay MSRP on anything outside of the internet. These were primarily being sold in stores like Borders and Suncoast that demanded MSRP on everything. So you were going to pay 30 bucks for 5-6 episodes of a show, maybe even more if it was a single cour (Pioneer/Geneon stuff often averaged TEN DOLLARS an episode). That's ALMOST the price of a full American series even now.

And S.A.V.E WAS NOT A THING IN THOSE DAYS. That is a post crash invention.
 

Scrappy-Fan92

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#16
The reasons for anime's decline on U.S. television have been listed by the posters here, but I'll add one more theory: the shrinking audience focus in Japan over the last few years. While "otaku-centric" shows have been made for a long time, it seems like the amount of new anime made is getting more insular, to the point of occasionally marginalizing children/family audiences (the lifeblood of any fandom that wants to survive past its original adopters). And such "otaku-centric" shows seem to primarily draw the ire of fans outside Japan (which may explain the usual dislike of imouto-shows, the moe aesthetic, and other things).
 

Grenzer

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#17
Lots of bad decisions were made on both sides of the Pacific. As Miyazaki said recently the lack of imagination among creative teams and pandering to the otaku is slowly killing anime as a unique and creative force in the global animation market. This was already starting to take hold around 2005, and the quality of the average's anime plotting and aesthetics declined greatly at a time when American cartoons started a rebirth in storytelling and animation techniques that has continued to the present day. On the American side, as about half a dozen other posters already stated the excessive overpricing of DVDs, poor marketing techniques, and licensing of dozens of mediocre shows that most fans were not going to buy at any price bankrupted pillars of the industry like Geneon and ADV.

But even if that had never happened, the Great Recession would have taken its toll on the industry regardless. It was in full effect by 2007 and it would have caused a massive decrease in revenue in the industry for both the production and acquisition of new shows even in the best of circumstances. The loss of Suncoast, Sam Goody, Tower Records, and other critical stores like them would have severely effected the ability of the anime distributors to market shows, the rise of internet streaming being only a parallel trend in this case. Companies were going to die, but we had a worse case scenario unfold because of the poor management decisions made and unrealistic expectations of how profitable anime could be in the American market.

In some ways the situation in 2015 is far better for American anime fans than in any previous era. Anime is still plentiful, but affordable and available in a wide variety of formats. Would I like it to have the high profile it did circa 1998-2005 again? Sure, but fads are unpredictable and I would not trade what we have now for another few years of Naruto toys being hocked in prime-time TV spots. For those of us who appreciate this media regardless of popular opinion, let us be glad for what we have and not let nostalgia blind us to the less positive aspects of the previous era..
 
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Weatherman

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#18
I saw someone say a major factor is that a lot the licensers were importing a truly insane amount of work, and this eventually led to them licensing a bunch of crap nobody had any interest in watching or buying.

At the start of the big anime boom, the companies essentially had their pick of the litter and got to localize a bunch of stuff with proven mainstream appeal back in Japan like Gundam or Sailor Moon or Dragon Ball Z and what not. As time went on they were running out mainstream, marketable stuff, and had to start importing a bunch of niche shows that consequently did very poorly.
http://io9.com/what-killed-the-american-anime-industry-1501880696

Surprisingly Japan is to blame for a lot of the shovelware that drowned the distribution channels. A lot of big show required the US licensor to take a bunch of smaller garbage shows as well and try to distribute them. That's not the only cause of the bust, some of it was inevitable once physical media started to hit the skids, but it's a factor.
 

Classic Speedy

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#19
I don't have much more to add, most of the points have been covered already. But I will add (though this was sort of alluded to with the "otaku-centric" comments) that there don't seem to be as many "gateway" anime as there were in the early '00s.

xxerox said:
True Anime fans watch the shows in Japanese, subbed.
No, true anime fans watch the shows raw. After all, if you need subtitles to understand a work, you're a poser. :p